Novi Beograd, which has become a powerful club in a short time, debuted in the Champions League last season. It was very close to clinching the title in its first appearance. Still, the new water polo powerhouse lost to Pro Recco after a penalty shootout in a great final match.
As the last year, Novi Beograd is directly qualified for the F8 as a host. However, it doesn’t mean that the Main Round will be just preparation for the final tournament. The Serbian champion will target first place in a very challenging Group B.
Roster – goalkeepers: Radoslav Filipovic, Joao Pedro Fernandez, Matija Vlahovic. Field players: Strahinja Rasovic, Dusan Mandic, Alvaro Granados (ESP), Djordje Vucinic, Nikola Jaksic, Dusko Pijetlovic, Radomir Drasovic, Savo Cetkovic (MNE), Vasilije Martinovic, Miroslav Perkovic (MNE), Dimitrios Skoumpakis (GRE), Viktor Rasovic, Angelos Vlachopoulos (GRE), Nika Shushiashvili (GEO), Viktor Urosevic.
Head coach: Zivko Gocic.
Transfers summer 2022
Arrivals: head coach Zivko Gocic (Szolnok), Alvaro Granados (Barceloneta), Dimitrios Skoumpakis (Vouliagmeni), Radoslav Filipovic (Sabac), Savo Cetkovic (Sabac)
Departures: head coach Igor Milanovic (Olympiacos), Drasko Gogov (Noisy-le-Sec), Gojko Pijetlovic (retired), Petar Tomic (Sete)
Key players: Dusan Mandic, Dusko Pijetlovic , Nikola Jaksic, Alvaro Granados, Strahinja Rasovic, Angelos Vlachopoulos, Radomir Drasovic, Viktor Rasovic, Dimitrios Skoumpakis…
Last five Champions League seasons – 2022: 2nd place, 2018 – 2021: didn’t play (eighth-finalists of 2021 LEN Euro Cup).
Best result: runner-up (2022)
2022 – Group A: 3rd place, 27 pts (188:149). Final Eight – Quarterfinals: Novi Beograd – Marseille 16:10, Semifinals: Novi Beograd – Brescia 14:13. Final: Pro Recco – Novi Beograd 17:16 (PSO).
Results in other competitions in the season 2021/22 – Serbian League: 1st place, Serbian Cup: 2nd place, Regional League: 1st place
Novi Beograd was founded in 2015. Five years later, it qualified for the Serbian Super League. In the summer of 2021, after it was awarded the Champions League wild card as the host of the F8 tournaments in 2022 and 2023, Novi Beograd reshaped the team completely. Many stars arrived at the pool “11 April”.
But, the new team needed time to reach the desired shape. There were a lot of ups and downs. The club changed coaches twice. In the second half of the season, Novi Beograd, coached by Igor Milanovic, won the Regional and the Serbian League and was just 12 seconds away from the title of the European champion. At the finish of an exciting final against Pro Recco, Novi Beograd had a 13:12 lead. The Italians leveled with 12 seconds to go and were successful in a penalty shootout.
Novi Beograd entered the new season with a new head coach. Serbia’s former captain Zivko Gocic, who proved himself as Szolnok’s coach, winning the Hungarian Championship and the LEN Euro Cup, accepted the big challenge.
The Belgrade-based team was less active in the transfer market than it was last year. But, the mighty team was reinforced by new aces, including world champion Alvaro Granados and Olympic silver medalist Dimitrios Skoumpakis. Novi Beograd’s roster doesn’t have an Achilles heel. It’s composed of high-class players. There are no soft spots
But, nobody is invincible. Radnicki Kragujevac proved that, defeating Novi Beograd in the Serbian League derby in Belgrade a few weeks ago.
Last year, Novi Beograd finished 3rd n Group A, behind Brescia and Ferencvaros. Barceloneta, Olympiacos, Radnicki, Jadran S and Dinamo remained behind Novi Beograd.
The host of the F8 was drawn in a strong group this year, too. There are many favorites in Group B. The wild-hard holders in this group are Novi Beograd, Ferencvaros, Jug, Marseille, Sabadell, and Spandau 04. Two excellent teams – Brescia and OSC arrived from the qualifications. There will be no easy points.
It was planned that Novi Beograd would kick off the Champions League campaign against Spandau 04 in Berlin. But, the Germans canceled the game due to seven coronavirus cases at the team. Therefore, Novi Beograd will probably win the points with a technical score (10:0), but LEN will say the last word regarding this game. In the second round (November 30), Novi Beograd will host OSC Budapest.