The draw for the 2022/23 Men’s Champions League was made today at the Spaladium Arena in Split, on the eighth day of the European Championships.
Twelve ‘Wildcard’ teams (those that are invited to play) have already qualified for the tournament proper, with four additional berths reserved available through the qualification rounds. The qualification rounds take place over the 29th September-2nd October in the Netherlands, Romania, Montenegro and France.
Wildcard teams were drawn based on last year’s performance in the competition, with the stipulation that no two teams that have already qualified for the tournament from the same country can be in the same group. Despite LEN’s best efforts to prevent the two Spanish and German teams from being in the same group, it is instead possible that two qualifying teams from the same country can be in the same group.
Pro Recco. the reigning European champion will play in Group A, and its main rivals will be Spanish champion Barceloneta and Olympiacos.
The runner-up in the 2021/22 season Novi Beograd is in Group B, which seems much stronger at first glance because Novi Beograd’s opponents will be Ferencvaros, Marseille, Jug… Besides, there will be only three available tickets for the Final Eight in this group because Novi Beograd is already qualified as a host.
Compared to the previous season, the list of the wild-card holders is slightly different. Spanish Sabadell replaced Steaua Bucharest. which returned its wild card. Sabadell is in Group B.
Pro Recco (Italy)
Waspo Hannover (Germany)
Radnicki Kragujevac (Serba)
Dinamo Tbilisi (Georgia)
Novi Beograd (Serbia)
CN Marseille (France)
Jug Adriatic (Croatia)
Spandau 04 (Germany)
It was also drawn that Group A would play on the Tuesday/ Friday schedule, while Group B will be on the Wednesday / Saturday rotation in the first half of the season. After the 7th round, the matches in Group B will be played a day earlier, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
The first round will be played on November 15/16. The derby will be an encounter between Pro Recco and Olympiacos, which had a very unsuccessful European campaign last season since failed to reach the Final Eight..
The real quality of the groups will be known after the third qualification round when the four qualifiers will join the wild-card holders.
A total of 26 teams will play in the qualifications. Eighteen teams will start in the first phase (September 29 – October 2). The draw for this stage was made a few weeks ago
Champions League, Qualification Round 1
Group A (Het Ravinj, Netherlands): Vasas-Plaket (Hungary), Steaua Bucharest (Romania), Primorac Kotor (Montenegro), Het Ravinj (Netherlands), Invictum Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
Group B (Oradea, Romania): Savona (Italy), Galatasary Istanbul (Turkey), CSM Oradea (Romania), ASA Tel-Aviv (Israel),
Group C (Herceg Novi, Montenegro): HAVK Mladost Zagreb (Croatia), Jadran Herceg Novi (Montenegro), EVK Zaibas (Lithuania),, Enka Istanbul (Turkey)
Group D (Tourcoing, France): EN Tourcoing (France), Panionios GSS (Greece), Vitoria Guimaraes (Portugal), Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina), KVIK Kastrup (Denmark).
The top two teams from each group will advance to the second round.
Champions League, Qualification Round 2
Besides the eight teams which will advance from Round 1, the best-ranked teams of the federations having wild card holders will play in Round 2.
The teams that are directly qualified for the second round: Jadran Split (Croatia), Barceloneta (Spain), Noisy-le-Sec (France), Vouliagmeni (Greece), ASC Duisburg (Germany), OSC Budapest (Hungary), Brescia (Italy), Sabac (Serbia).
The 16 teams will be split into four groups of four clubs. The 1st-placed and 2nd-placed will qualify for Round 3.
In the third round, the clubs will face in four duels on a home-away basis. The four winners will qualify for the Preliminary Stage.