Jug Dubrovnik, which will celebrate its 100th birthday this season, has been a regular participant in the Champions League final tournaments for years.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, Jug has failed to make the final tournament (F4 or F6) just four times (2003, 2004,2011, 2014). Jug didn’t play in the Champions League (Euro League) only in the season 2003/04. It appeared in the former Cup Winners’ Cup and reached the quarterfinals.
This season, the goals remain the same as in the previous years. Jug’s first objective is to secure a place among the best eight teams in Europe, and, after that, to go a few steps further, if possible.
Roster – Goalkeepers: Toni Popadic, Ivan Jurisic. Field players: Ivusa Burdjelez, Marko Zuvela, Matijas Biljaka, Goran Grgurevic (MNE), Konstantikos Kakaris (GRE), Filip Krzic, Franko Lazic, Hrvoje Zvono, Ivan Vukojevic, Loren Fatovic, Maro Jokovic, Patrik Kolak, Toni Mozara, Mauro Prkoca.
Head coach: Vjekoslav Kobescak
Arrivals: Franko Lazic (Mladost), Matias Biljaka (Mladost), Goran Grgurevic (Pays d’Aix), assistant coach Hrvoje Koljanin (Vouliagmeni).
Departures: Hrvoje Benic (Waspo 98 Hannover), Stylianos Argyropoulos (Ferencvaros), Alexandros Papanastasiou (Olympiacos), Marin Tomasovic (Jadran S), Luka Stahor.
Key players: Maro Jokovic, Loren Fatovic, Konstantinos Kakaris, Marko Zuvela, Toni Popadic, Franko Lazic, Goran Grgurevic, Filip Krzic…
Last five Champions League seasons – 2022: 8th place, 2021: 5th place; 2020 (after 10 rounds): 2nd in Group A; 2019: 5th place; 2018: 4th place.
2022 – 3rd place in Group B, 31 pts (174:143). Final Eight – quarterfinals: Jug – Ferencvaros 13:14, semifinals 5th-8th place: Barceloneta – Jug 12:9, 7th-place match: Marseille – Jug 15:13
Best CHL results: 4x winner (1981, 2001, 2006, 2016), 4x runner-up (2007, 2008, 2013, 2017),
Other trophies in the European competitions: LEN Super Cup (2006 and 2016), LEN Trophy/Euro Cup (2000)
Results in other competitions in the season 2021/22: Croatian champion, finalist of the Croatian Cup, 3rd place in the Regional League.
Jug was the most successful club in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia before the WW2 winning 14 titles between 1925 and 1940. It was the champion of SFR Yugoslavia eight times and has won 17 titles of the Croatian champion. The Dubrovnik-based team has dominated Croatian competitions in the last two decades.
The season 2015/16 has been the most successful in the club’s history. Jug won all competitions it could, but the Champions League trophy in that season has a special significance. For the first time, Jug climbed the European top outside Dubrovnik. The previous three titles the Croatian giant won on the home field.
That’s about the past, and what can we say about the present and future? Nothing changed. Jug is, as usual, a favorite for medals in all competitions.
A few key players left Jug during the summer, but the backbone of the team is almost the same as last season. After all, Jug is used to make a few changes during one transfer window. So, continuity is one of the team’s advantages. Since 2015, the club has been coached by Vjekoslav Kobecsak, who led Jug to the European crown six years ago. Three players who won the 2016 Champions League are on this season’s roster – Loren Fatovic (who is captain now), goalkeeper Toni Popadic, and a 35-year Maro Jokovic, who was one of the key players in winning the European title in 2016 and is still one of the best left-handed players in the world.
Six Jug’s players entered the season encouraged by the European gold won with Croatia in Split recently – Fatovic, Zuvela, Popadic, two newcomers Lazic and Biljaka, and Krzic. MVP of the 2022 Croatian League, Konstantinos Kakaris, had a very good summer with the Greek national team.
Jug’s rivals in the group stage will be Novi Beograd, Ferencvaros, Marseille, Sabadell, Spandau 04 and two strong qualifiers (winners of the duels OSC-Panionios and Brescia-Vasas). Since Novi Beograd is directly qualified for the Final Eight, only three berths for the final tournament are available from this group. Even the favorites, including Jug, can’t be sure that they will play at the F8 in Belgrade in June
But, regardless of the group’s composition, Jug’s dream of reaching the F8 seems realistic.
The Dubrovnik-based side will open the season with a derby at home. Brescia or Vasas will arrive at the Gruz pool on Day 1 (November 16).
More articles about the Champions League