The third day of the Champions League Group Phase, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, is expected to be the most thrilling since the start of the season, as teams from the first two pots of the draw face off against each other in all four groups.
Most of these duels may be decisive for the topspots in the groups and the four winners will make a big step towards the quarterfinal stage.
The highlight is the encounter between the current champion Pro Recco and Olympiacos, set to take place tomorrow in Chiavari near Genoa. This is the first in a three-game series of Recco’s home matches in Chiavari.
Following two days of Champions League games, the second round of the LEN Euro Cup Group Phase will take place on Thursday, featuring a rematch of last season’s final between Vasas and Savona.
2024 Champions League, Day 3, Preview
Olympiacos was the only team with a positive score in the matches against Pro Recco last season. The Greeks opened the season with a 9:7 win over Recco in Piraeus. In the 14th round of the group stage, Recco earned a 1-goal home victory (10:9). However, it wasn’t a consolation for the Greeks. Recco won 2nd place in Group A, ahead of Olympiacos, which later finished 5th in the F8.In the past ten years, Pro Recco and Olympiacos met eight times, with Recco winning five times. Olympiacos recorded three wins, but two were in very significant matches – in the final of the 2018 Champions League in Genoa and the semifinals in Hannover the following year.
Both teams have super aces on their rosters, but Recco will enter the match without its captain, Aleksandar Ivovic. He missed the previous match against Jug in Dubrovnik. Ivovic will be out of the pool for a while due to disc herniation problems. The final doctors’ assessment should come soon, but Ivovic probably won’t be able to help his teammates soon.
However, Recco managed to compensate for Ivovic’s absence in Dubrovnik. The defense worked well, which opened the Italians’ road to a convincing win over Jug.
It’s questionable if the Greek champion will be complete tomorrow. Leftie Marton Vamos hasn’t played a match since the duel against Jug, where he got injured.
Jug Dubrovnik goes to Tbilisi. The Croats are expected to take the points, but after a very good start to the season, they have suffered four losses in the last three weeks.
Group C is the only one where two teams have six points after two rounds. They will meet on Wednesday. Ferencvaros welcomes Jadran Split. A winner of this match will practically qualify for the quarterfinal stage.
Ferencvaros rarely loses home games. The Hungarian champion didn’t have a great start in the Champions League, but it beat Jadran Herceg Novi (9:7). Ten days ago, it demolished Crvena Zvezda in Belgrade (16:6). In the Hungarian League, “Fradi” cruised to six wins against the rivals in the domestic championship, and previously won the Hungarian Cup.
Jadran Split struggled to beat Crvena Zvezda and Jadran Herceg Novi in the first two rounds. However, the Croatian champion hasn’t suffered a loss since the start of the season in all competitions, like Ferencvaros. Before the trip to Budapest, Jadran had two demanding matches in the Regional League (against Jadran HN and Jug). If the Croats recover from an exhausting weekend, they can dream of a surprise. In the past ten years, Jadran beat Ferencvaos only once – it happened in Split in 2022 (9:7).
Jadran Herceg Novi and Crvena Zvezda will play in Trebinje. It’s expected that both teams will have support from the stands there. From season to season, the encounters between these two teams in the Regional League have been more and more interesting.
The previous round showed that nothing was impossible in this group. Barceloneta, the favorite for the top spot, playing without Munarriz but with excellent Sanahuja, earned a hard-fought win over a young team of Vouliagmeni (12:11). At the same time, Spandau shocked Marseille – 13:10 (it stood 7:2 at halftime), with two goals from veteran Marko Stamm, who didn’t play in the 2023 CHL.
On Wednesday, Barceloneta will host Marseille, and Spandau plays against Vouliagmeni in Berlin. The Spaniards are the favorites again. But, if Marseille does its best, it can cause Barceloneta trouble. As for the match Spandau-Vouliagmeni, it is difficult to predict anything. Despite being at the bottom of the table, Vouliagmeni proved it could play well.
Once more – nothing is impossible.
Group A (October 17)
Novi Beograd – Sabadell (19:45), Steaua Bucharest – Brescia (18:30 – 17:30 CET).
Standings: 1. Novi Beograd 6, 2. Sabadell 4, 3. Brescia 2, 4. Steaua 0.
Group B (October 17)
Pro Recco – Olympiacos (19:00), Dinamo Tbilisi – Jug (19:00 – 17:00 CET)
Standings: 1. Pro Recco 6, 2. Olympiacos 5, 3. Jug 1, 4. Dinamo 0.
Group C (October 18)
Ferencvaros – Jadran Split (20:45), Jadran Herceg Novi – Crvena Zvezda (19:00).
Standings: 1. Ferencvaros 6, 2. Jadran S 6, 3. Jadran HN 0, 4.Crvena Zvezda 0.
Group D (October 18)
Barceloneta – Marseille (20:00), Spandau 04 – Vouliagmeni (19:30).
Standings: 1. Barceloneta 6, 2. Marseille 3, 3. Spandau 04 3, 4. Vouliagmeni 0.
Euro Cup Group Phase, Day 2, Preview
The first round of the first-ever Euro Cup Group Phase was very exciting. One or two goals made the difference in almost all games. The only exception was a Hungarian derby – Vasas sank Honved 11:3.
Vasas will feature the big match of Day 2. It will welcome Savona. Last season, after an 8:8 draw in Savona, Vasas beat Savona 15:7 in the return leg of the Euro Cup final, primarily because of an excellent conversion of power-play shots . Both teams are in good shape.
Another big match of the week is an Italian derby, Trieste – Ortigia. Considering that the first round offered a lot of excitement, both teams have realistic chances of winning the points in almost every game.
Day 2 will be opened tomorrow, with the clash between Barcelona and Tourcoing. The remaining seven games are scheduled for Thursday.
SCHEDULE (October 19)
Group A: Barcelona – Tourcoing (Wednesday, October 18, 21:30), Telimar – Solaris (19:00)
Standings: 1. Telimar 3, 2. Tourcoing 3, 3. Barcelona 0, 4. Solaris 0.
Group B: Honved – Apollon Smyrnis (19:30), Vasas – Savona (20:00).
Standings: 1. Vasas 3, 2. Savona 3, 3. Apollon 0, 4. Honved 0.
Group C: Sabac – BVSC (19:00), Primorje – Waspo 98 Hannover (20:00)
Standings: 1.Sabac 3, 2. BVSC 3, 3. 3. Waspo 98 0, 4. Primorje 0..
Group D: Trieste – Ortigia (20:00), Primorac – Panionos
Standings: 1.Ortigia 3, 2. Primorac 3, 3. Panionios 0, 4. Trieste 0.
The full schedule of the LEN Euro Cup – HERE