After beating title-holder Olympiacos (GRE) on an opening day, newcomer BPM Busto (ITA) downed 2017 winner Szolnok (HUN) as well in Group B. Olympiacos is still winless as they could claim only one point in Hannover (GER). Brescia almost upset Recco in the Italian derby but missed the last man-up to force a tie after being four goals down.
The favorites all won in Group A, though the tests they passed were different. Brescia almost upset Recco once again: in the Italian in-house clash Recco led 3-7 early in the third and was three goals up before the last period but Brescia pushed hard and with 3:14 to go they came back to 8-9. Recco missed two man-ups to finish off the game and that almost cost them some precious points as Brescia had a 6 on 5 in the last 22 seconds but couldn’t force a tie (what they had managed to do in the quarter-finals in the Final Eight back in May).
Ferencvaros (HUN) was struggling at the start in Bucharest where Steaua took a 3-1 lead in the first quarter. But the Euro Cup winner Hungarians tightened up in the back, shut out the hosts in the middle two periods and with some brilliant plays from Denes Varga, who scored four, they prevailed at the end.
Barceloneta enjoyed an easy ride in Belgrade, beating Crvena Zvezda (SRB) soundly – the young Serbs ran out from gas in the second half again, losing that part 1-9. Eger (HUN) played a thrilling match with Dynamo (RUS), the lead was changing from time to time but the Magyars were more precise in the finish and earned their first victory, while the Russians lost their second away match in Hungar (Ferencvaros thrashed them on Day 1).
Title-holder Olympiacos was in trouble again in Group B, they were three goals down in the third period in Hannover. The Greeks fought they way back, despite a missed penalty, and with 3:48min from the time they seemed to have it at 8-9 but Alex Giorgetti equalized 37 seconds before the end. Olympiacos had one more man-up but missed it so they Greeks could collect only one point in their first two away matches. Interestingly, that was the second draw for F8 host Hannover as they also tied their opener in Zagreb.
BPM Busto is on the rise: the newcomer beat the 2018 winner Olympiacos on the opening day and now hunted down the 2017 champions Szolnok in a tremendous battle. The Italians netted three in a row after 0-2 but the Hungarians caught a better spell once more, took the lead at 4-5 deep into the third and earned a penalty to break two goals clear.
However, Dejan Lazovic denied Andrija Prlainovic and that cost Szolnok dearly: instead of 4-6, soon it was 6-5 for Busto and the hosts defended magnificently before Jacopo Alesiani lobbed the decisive goal 81 seconds from time. In fact, BPM shut out Szolnok for the last 14:07 minutes, quite a feat itself but to beat the last two years’ champions back-to-back matches is an even bigger achievement.
Among the former winners, 2016 victor Jug saved some pride by winning the Adriatic derby against fellow Croatian side Jadran without any headaches. Mladost (CRO) also did a clean job against Spandau, they led 9-4 in the fourth before the Germans netted three goals as a late consolation.
Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v FTC Telekom Budapest (HUN) 6-9
ZF Eger (HUN) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS) 12-10
VK Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) 3-14
AN Brescia (ITA) v Pro Recco (ITA) 8-9
Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 9-9
HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Spandau 04 (GER) 9-7
BPM Sport Management Busto (ITA) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) 7-5
Jadran Split (CRO) v Jug Dubrovnik (CRO) 6-13