With five rounds left in the Champions League Main Round, only two spots remain available for the F8 tournament.
In fact, only two teams are mathematically qualified – Novi Beograd as the host and Brescia, which is guaranteed to finish at least in 4th place in Group B.
But, it’s almost certain that Pro Recco, Olympiacos, Barceloneta, and Ferencvaros will also play at the Final Eight. However, the battle for fourth places in both groups is still wide open.
This week’s 10th round of the Preliminary Stage, which will resume after a three-week break, features some important matches that can decide the outcome of the group stage. Barceloneta and Olympiacos will face off in the derby in Barcelona on Wednesday. The game might decide 1st place in Group A. Almost all matches of this week are of great importance.
2022/23 Champions League Day 10, Preview
Group B (Tuesday, March 21)
The favorites in tomorrow’s Group B matches are evident. The top four teams will be facing those ranked fifth to eighth.
Two games will be played in the capital of Hungary. Brescia, the group leader, will travel to Budapest to take on OSC. In the Hungarian capital, Ferencvaros will host Spandau. Novi Beograd will play against Marseille in Belgrade and Jug will visit Sabadell in Spain. The outcome of these matches may indicate which teams are likely to progress to the Final Eight, or precisely – which can finish 1st and which are close to 4th place.
Spandau has already shown their quality, having beaten Ferencvaros in Berlin (11:10) and Jug in Dubrovnik. In their first visit to Budapest this season, the Berliners secured a point with a 9:9 draw against OSC. Unlike in the match in Berlin, Ferencvaros’ coach Zsolt Varga will have all his players available this time. Most of the members of the national teams had several days rest following the World Cup (they didn’t play in the league match last weekend). Spandau must do its best to stay in contention for the Final Eight and surprise Ferencvaros again.
Brescia should have the advantage when they face OSC Budapest, having defeated them by eight goals in their previous match in Italy (14:6). Nevertheless, OSC hopes to turn the tables and keep their slim hopes of reaching the Final Eight alive.
Jug has started to get back on track and will look to prove it in the match against Sabadell. Although the Spaniards are at the bottom of the table, none of the favorites have taken easy points from them in Sabadell. If Jug manages to secure a victory, it will be a step closer to the Final Eight, but everything will still be open. The Croats will have a challenging schedule in the last four rounds.
After the visit to Sabadel and until the end of the group stage, Jug will welcome Novi Beograd and Ferencvaros and will play away matches against Brescia and Marseille.
Marseille has a very good team that hasn’t shown all it could in the 2022/23 Champions League. Novi Beograd is a heavy favorite in the home field. But Marseille started improving its shape. It played very well against Brescia and Sabadell in the previous two rounds. Novi Beograd doesn’t underestimate the French.
OSC Budapest – Brescia (19:30)
Sabadell – Jug (19:30)
Novi Beograd – Marseille (19:45)
Ferencvaros – Spandau 04 (20:45)
1.Brescia 9 games – 24 points
2. Novi Beograd 9 – 22
3. Ferencvaros 9 – 18
4. Jug 9 – 14
5. Spandau 9 – 8
6. Marseille 9 – 7
7. OSC Budapest 9 – 6
8. Sabadell 9 – 4
Follow the live scores on Total Waterpolo Arena
Group A (Wednesday, March 22)
Olympiacos arrives in Barcelona to avenge a 7:9 loss to the Barceloneta in Piraeus. Barceloneta has a great chance to get very close to securing 1st place in the group at the end of the group stage.
The Spaniards beat Pro Recco in Italy in the previous round (9:8). If they upgrade that success with a victory over Olympiacos, they will be very close to finishing in 1st place. Currently, the Spanish champion has 24 points, Olympiacos 22, and Pro Recco 21. After the 10th round, Barceloneta will have the less demanding matches that Recco and Olympiacos, which will face off in the last, 14th matchday.
After the derby with Olympiacos, Barceloneta will play against Vouliagmeni and Dinamo Tbilisi at home, while it will meet Waspo 98 and Radnicki in away games in the remaining four rounds.
A win in Catalonia would return Olympiacos to 1st place. Tradition and the current situation with the roster don’t give reasons for optimism at Olympiacos, which will probably play without injured Filip Filipovic. As for the tradition, Olympiacos hasn’t beaten Barceloneta in Spain since 2014. But no series lasts forever. Barceloneta broke one tradition and losing streak recently by beating Pro Recco. The Spanish champion recorded its first win over the Italian giant in the Champions League and it achieved that feat in the away match. Olympiacos hopes it can do something similar. It isn’t easy to predict the outcome ot the encounter between two excellent teams.
The biggest margin in the games Olympiacos – Barceloneta was 13. Barceloneta demolished Olympiacos 22:9 in the quarterfinals of the 2021 Champions League. Most of the other encounters between these two teams were very close.
Last season, Olympiacos beat Barceloneta in Piraeus by four goals (8:4), but the Spaniards took revenge at home with a 9:5 victory
One of the crucial matches of the season will be played in Split. Jadran will welcome Vouliagmeni. After nine matchdays, Jadran and Vouliagmeni are, practically, the only two contenders for 4th position. Vouliagmeni has three points more than Jadran. The Greeks beat Jadran 13:12 on Day 5 in Greece. That result shows that everything is possible in the encounters between these two teams and that neither side enters the match as a favorite
Radnicki, which will play against Dinamo in Tbilisi, is just a point behind Jadran and four behind Vouliagmeni. But, considering the future schedule, it will be very difficult to Radnicki to qualify for the Final Eight. The Serbian club had some great moments. But, after Radnicki’s three draws this season and a home loss to Jadran on Day 9, Radnicki isn’t in a close race with Vouliagmeni and Jadran as the standings show. However, the Kragujevac-based side still has chances. The visit to Georgia won’t be only a touristic trip for Radnicki, as long as hopes are alive.
After playing Champions League home matches in Imperia (against Dinamo), and Milan (against Barceloneta), Pro Recco continues its promotional tour of Champions League home matches in northern Italy. The European champion will host Waspo 98 Hannover in Lavagna, the commune in the Metropolitan City of Genoa. Everybody expects a water polo festival in Lavagna, and, of course, Recco’s win.
Dinamo Tbilisi – Radnicki (19:00 – 16:00 CET)
Pro Recco – Waspo 98 Hannover (18:30)
Barceloneta – Olympiacos (19:00)
Jadran Split – Vouliagmeni (19:00)
1.Barceloneta 9 games – 24 points
2. Olympiacos 9 – 22
3. Pro Recco 9 – 21
4. Vouliagmeni 9 – 13
5. Jadran S 9 – 10
6. Radnicki 9 – 9
7. Hannover 9 – 3
8. Dinamo 9 – 3
Follow the live scores on Total Waterpolo Arena