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Champions League, Main Round, Day 2 – Preview & Commentaries

Len Champions League 2017/2018 Day 02 Preview

2017 Final 6 bronze medal match replayed

The rematch of the bronze medal game between and Eger (HUN) and Recco (ITA) from last May’s Final Six is the highlight of the second round in the Champions League. The other Italian team, Brescia meets 2014 winner Barceloneta (ESP) in the other big clash of the day while the traditionally exposed Croatian-Serbian battle, Jug v Partizan promises something special too.

Jump right to the comments from players and coaches for the upcoming games!

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Group A

The game of the day in this group is due in Brescia where the Italians face off Barceloneta (ESP). The host side began its campaign with a somewhat surprising loss in Hannover. Considering the number of potential F8 candidates, these points might be painfully missed in the end thus achieving a positive result at home against Barceloneta is a kind of a must for Brescia. In the meantime, the Spanish champion played a brilliant match with Olympiacos (GRE) on Day 1, earned a valuable point and any result excluding a loss in Italy would further boost their chances to book a spot in the Final Eight after missing the cut last time.

An encounter between a Croatian and a Serbian side always considered a special feature, however, the young team of Partizan (SRB) might not cause too much trouble to Jug. Though the Croats, runners-up last season, suffered a shocking defeat in Moscow a fortnight ago, this game offers a fine chance to put aside their disappointments.

Two opening-day winners clash in Budapest where OSC (HUN) meets Hannover (GER). The Hungarians have the better chances but the German side already caused an upset by beating Brescia. Another win would upgrade their position from underdogs to favorites in the group.

Olympiacos (GRE) should mind losing points in Barceloneta – they gave away a two-goal lead in the last minutes – but the Greeks can quickly earn their first win this season. They are traditionally strong at home and Dynamo (RUS) might find it hard to cope with the pressure coming from the hosts.

Group B

No doubt, the battle of Eger (HUN) and Recco (ITA) is the highlight of Day 2. It’s the rematch of the bronze medal game played in the Final Six at Budapest. Though Recco demolished the Hungarians last May (15-6) there were much tougher contests between these two sides in the previous years when they met in the prelims.

The other Hungarian team, Szolnok makes its home debut: the title-holder team doesn’t look forward to a tough challenge while playing with Steaua. The Romanians might have had an easier opening than clashing with the two Hungarian clubs in the group in the first two rounds. After losing to Eger at home now they travel to Szolnok where the home players are in an upbeat mood, being fresh from winning the European Super Cup on Saturday.

Jadran (MNE) can further strengthen its position in the hunt for the F8 berths as they visit Alphen (NED). The Montenegrins had a big win on Day 1 over Spandau and now they can add three more points as the Dutch would struggle to recover from the sound beating they had suffered in Recco.

Recovering and earning the first points are the main targets both for Spandau (GER) and Sabadell (ESP) – this should result in a thrilling game in Berlin.


Champions League, Day 2

Group A

18.15 Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Partizan Belgrade (SRB)

19.30 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

20.30 A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

Group B

18.30 ZF Eger (HUN) v Pro Recco (ITA)

18.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)

18.30 Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)

20.30 AZC Alphen (NED) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE)


Insights and Commentaries for the 2nd leg of the 2017/2018 Champions league

Group A

18.15 Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Partizan Belgrade (SRB)


Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Partizan Belgrade (SRB)

Previous season

Jug: 2nd in Final Six. Prelims: 3rd in Group B – 5W, 2D, 3L (115-92)

Partizan: Prelims: 5th in Group B – 1W, 1D, 8L (76-124)

Day 1:

Jug: Dynamo 11-12 (away)

Partizan: OSC 7-11 (home)


Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“We are not running away from the fact that we are the absolute favourites, but we respect Partizan. Anything besides win and 3 points would be a total surprise. These 3 points are very important after our defeat in Moscow on Day 1.”

Maro Jokovic, player, Jug:

“Partizan is a well-built system which produces quality players from generation to generation. We recognised through watching their games this season that they are not the team which will lose points easily. Quality is on our side but we must be focused throughout the whole game because these 3 points are very important after our defeat in Moscow.”

Stefan Ciric, head coach, Partizan:

“Jug is the favourite so we have nothing to lose, but we can get a lot. The match against the Champion League vice-champion will be another one in which our young team will be able to earn a lot of experience, but we’ll fight for a good result too. The encounter in Dubrovnik is important for us, despite it isn’t a “must-win“ match. It will be a good preparation and a test before next challenges in the Regional League. We are going to play in Budva just two days after the game in Dubrovnik.”

19.30 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)


Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

Previous season

Olympiacos: 6th in Final Six. Prelims: 2nd in Group A – 7W, 1D, 2L (90-63)

Dynamo: newcomer

Day 1

Olympiacos: Barceloneta 7-7 (away)

Dynamo: Jug 12-11 (home)


Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“Our opponent has a full roster as Dynamo fields almost the half of the Russian national team, as we have seen in the last big national teams event. They also have three very good foreigners, who give an extra dynamic to the team. We look forward to playing another game in front of a capacity crowd in our pool. This is what every athlete wants, even the coaches. We want our fans to stand by our side. With our fans we want to have a dynamic start of the season in our home, in order to give our mark, and show who is Olympiacos and how our players are taught while playing in Piraeus. All our opponents know that whenever they come here they will face a hot atmosphere, which, combined with our good performance, will not give any room for them to achieve a positive result.”

Vangelis Delakas, player, Olympiacos:

“First of all, I want to mention that the point we earned in Barceloneta was certainly very important! Tomorrow’s game against Dynamo is crucial. The Russians have a very strong team with an excellent couple of centres and also good defenders. In our home, we have to win all the games and gain all the points. We have to look stronger from the beginning of the game in order to have more possibilities to win it. We expect our fans to be our extra player and help us, as they do always!”

Maxim Ivanov, head coach, Dynamo:

“We are expecting a worthy result from the coming game. The match will be very hard, but we have a good mood inside our team.”

Dmitrii Kholod, player, Dynamo:

“We know that nobody expected our victory against Jug. Now every team will be 100% prepared and motivated against us. Our team is ready physically and mentally. It’s going to be very difficult and also interesting match against one of the strongest teams in Europe. And of course we want to bring points home from Greece.”

20.30 A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)


A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

Previous season

OSC: Prelims: 4th in Group A – 3W, 3D, 4L (79-74)

Hannover: Prelims: 6th in Group B – 0W, 3D, 7L (98-128)

Day 1

OSC: Partizan 11-7 (away)

Hannover: Brescia 8-6 (home)


Attila Petik, head coach, OSC:

“Waspo Hannover is a very good team with good players. Their strength is that they have been playing together for years. The result of the first round proves that we can except a very difficult match because they beat Brescia, but we would like to collect the three points with the support of our home fans.”

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“We had close matches against OSC Budapest for the past two years and they know it will be tough to win. It has never been easy to play away. Given our last matches we have a good starting point in Budapest.”

Jerome Moritz Schenkel, goalkeeper, Hannover:

“In Budapest, we will show the same performance like in the match against Brescia. We want to collect the next three points. I always want to win.”

Predrag Jokic, player, Hannover:

“OSC is a good team, covered in all positions. It’s a country of attacking water polo with a lot of control and shooting. With a good game in both directions we can achieve a good result.”

Darko Brguljan, player, Hannover:

“For us it was important that we started with a win in this group. For a lot of people it was a surprise but we showed that we could play on this level and that it wouldn’t be easy to win against our team. We respect OSC, a team with very good players who are under pressure because they need to win this game at home.”

20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)


AN Brescia (ITA) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

Previous season

Brescia: 5th in Final Six. Prelims: 3rd in Group A – 5W, 2D, 3L (91-78)

Barceloneta: Prelims: 4th in Group A – 4W, 2D, 4L (89-81)

Day 1

Brescia: Hannover 6-8 (away)

Barceloneta: Olympiacos 7-7 (home)

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:

“It will be an exciting match: for long years Barceloneta has been a very good team, with Perrone and Vrlic the Catalans are in pole position for the Final Eight. About us: we play in home waters and we have only one goal: the win. We know very well that it will be a very tough challenge but we’ll do our best to play as we can do and gain three points.”

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“This is the first away match of Champions League for is and it’s against a very good team whom will be very difficult to beat. They lost their last match against Hannover so they will want add the first points in group A, in front of their supporters. But we want to get 3 points as well.”

Felipe Perrone, player, Barceloneta:

“After the first match that the team could get only one point against Olympiacos. We will go to Brescia with only one purpose: to capture 3 points. The team is prepared to win this game.”



Group B

18.30 ZF-Eger (HUN) v Pro Recco (ITA)


ZF-Eger (HUN) v Pro Recco (ITA)

Previous season:

Eger: 4th in Final Six. Prelims: 2nd in Group B – 6W, 0D, 4L (78-84)

Recco: 3rd in Final Six. Prelims: 1st in Group B – 10W, 0D, 0L (116-63)

Day 1

Eger: Steaua 8-3 (away)

Recco: Alphen 19-1 (home)


Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, Eger:

“Playing against Pro Recco is a prestige game all the time. They are the same as Real Madrid in football. Everybody could see last week the Tottenham v Real Madrid match in London in the Champions League. Our plan is similar.”


Norbert Hosnyánszky, player, Eger:

“We are not the probable winner of the match, but we will not present the points to Recco. If everything comes together, I think our victory would not be a sensation!”


Uros Cuckovic, player, Eger:

“The season will start now! Recco is the favourite, anywhere they play. But at home we want to surprise our fans!”


Dusan Mandic, player, Pro Recco:

“The first great Champions League challenge, it will not be easy because Eger, especially at home, is a fearsome team. We are ready and willing to return in Italy with three points.”

18.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)

18.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)


Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)

Previous season

Spandau: Prelims: 5th in Group A – 2W, 1D, 7L (75-95)

Sabadell: newcomer

Day 1

Spandau: Jadran 5-11 (away)

Sabadell: Szolnok 5-16 (home)


Petar Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“We are still not playing on the level we are supposed to. Therefore, we have to be very careful. Sabadell went through the Champions League qualifications. There is no need to believe that it will be an ‘easy game’. I hope the team will show up with a strong and good performance. Then we will have a chance to win.”

Stefan Pjesivac, player, Spandau:

“Losing the first game in Herceg Novi was very hard for me. We haven’t played well and therefore we have to improve. We do have the ability to play much better and this is what we want to show in Berlin against Sabadell.”

Chava Gomez, head coach, Sabadell:

“We are going to Germany with the intention of continuing to learn. We will play against a good team, which has very experienced players. We play against a water polo team with rich history.”

Pepe Motos, goalkeeper, Sabadell:

“It is going to be a very tough match agains Spandau, we will meet a rival who plays a physical and disciplined game. This has to serve for us to get experience in the Champions League and learn to park the nerves in this competition.”

18.30 Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)


Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)

Previous season

Szolnok: Winner in Final Six. Prelims: 1st in Group A: 9W, 1D, 0L (101-62)

Steaua: newcomer

Day 1

Szolnok: Sabadell 16-5 (away)

Steaua: Eger 3-8 (home)


Sándor Cseh, head coach, Szolnok:

“Following our Super Cup victory, from Monday we are training for the game with Steaua. They are the Romanian champions, the team consists of national team players and a South Slavish legion. They have physically strong players, therefore we are preparing for a very hard contest. We will have to deliver an intense game for the victory.”

Zivko Gocic, captain, Szolnok:

“We are well acquainted with Romanian water polo. It tells everything about the Steaua team that they were the winners of the Romanian championship, beating last year’s silver medallists of the Euro Cup, the team of Oradea. Their players are very experienced, Dorde Filipovic for example, who was one of my team mates in Belgrade. We cannot underrate them for a single minute, we will have to play our very best.”

Andrei Iosep, head coach, Steaua:

“Playing against the best team of Europe is very challenging. Definitely we have a very difficult task, facing the best players in the world, but I hope my players overcome themselves.”

Adrian Delgado, player, Steaua:

“It will be a very motivating game for us. We are playing in the home of a team that won absolutely everything last season: Hungarian League and Cup, Champions League and last Saturday they added the European Super Cup. This will serve us for getting used to the rhythm of this kind of games to arrive in the best shape to December when the important matches for the final eight qualification will be played.”

20.30 AZC Alphen (NED) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE)


AZC Alphen (NED) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE)

Previous season

Alphen: newcomer

Jadran: did not qualify

Day 1

Alphen: Recco 1-19 (away)

Jadran: Spandau 11-5 (home)


Ron van der Wild, head coach, AZC Alphen:

“We are obviously looking forward to the first home game in the Champions League for many years. Jadran Herceg Novi has shown how strong team is. The big 11-5 victory against Spandau Berlin confirmed that. Of course, we will do everything we can to make this match as difficult as possible for them. The public will help us to achieve that.”

Tim van Gulik, captain, AZC Alphen:

“Of course, we look with respect at Jadran, especially considering what they have shown in the first round. We suffer a hard defeat from Pro Recco. We missed two key players there, but they are back now. It will be a nice match and a measure of our ability to see what we can do at home.”

Vladimir Gojkovic, head coach, Jadran:

“After first game and excellent result against Spandau at home, the team is full of energy for second game in Netherlands. We did not have a lot of time to prepare for this match because we had two games in the Adriatic League last week, but we are ready. We do not know too much about Alphen, they are new in Champion League as well as field a completely new team for this season. For sure, our young team will give its best to achieve a second victory in Alphen.”

Marko Petkovic, captain, Jadran:

“Each game in the Champions League is a new experience for us. The game against Spandau was fantastic and we hope we can do something similar in next game. We are a bit tired because we have already played so many European and Adriatic League games. The team really enjoys the Champions League and we hope we will be lucky playing for the first time in the Netherlands.”

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