Another week packed with great Champions League duels started. In the next two days, the games of Day 9 of the Preliminary Stage are on the program.
Day 9 will offer a lot of excitement because big derbies and crucial games will be played in Belgrade, Milan, Kragujevac, Athens, Marseille…
But, like in the 6th round, held a month ago, the highlights are an encounter between Ferencvaros and Novi Beograd and the match Pro Recco – Barceloneta. Novi Beograd and Pro Recco will be the hosts this week. All four teams target top spots in their groups.
The runner-up and the bronze medalist in the previous season, Novi Beograd and Ferencvaros will play in Belgrade. Both teams are eyeing 1st place in the group, but they are still behind Brescia. Ferencvaros defeated Novi Beograd 14:12 in Budapest, but the Serbian champion had only 11 healthy players for that game.
Today, the situation is different. Novi Beograd head coach Zivko Gocic can count on all key players. According to the latest information, Ferencvaros has no troubles with injuries. Both teams are in good shape. Since their previous encounter, they have played very well. Novi Beograd lost to Crvena Zvezda in the Serbian Cup final, but after that, when the injured and ill players started recovering, the Serbian champion has been in a good rhythm.
So, a great clash between two excellent teams is in sight.
Novi Beograd and Ferencvaros have met three times in the Champions League. Last year, Ferencvaros won both games in Group A (14:11 in Belgrade and 11:10 in Budapest) and continued the successful row this season. Novi Beograd has been seeking revenge for a long.Ferencvaros defeated Novi Beograd in all three Champions League duels so far.
Before the start of the season, Novi Beograd was better than “Fradi” in the final of a friendly tournament in Belgrade, but it wasn’t real revenge.
The group leader Brescia will play at home against Spandau. The Berlin-based club surprised several favorites this season and proved it could reach the F8. Brescia didn’t have a successful weekend, it lost to Ortigia in the Italian Cup semifinals, so the next match will be an opportunity for healing wounds. Brescia beat Spandau relatively easily in Berlin (16:10). But if the Italians don’t show their best tomorrow, Spandau might cause a new surprise.
Jug and OSC Budapest, the teams that will face off in Dubrovnik, are, along with Spandau, the serious contenders for 4th place. Jug is currently 4th, but after a home loss to Spandau, that position is in danger. Jug and OSC have met many times in the last few years. The Croats were more successful in these matches. OSC won only one game, and it happened last year in Dubrovnik (12:11).OSC Budapest beat Jug only once in the 21st century.
A month ago, they shared the points in Budapest (9:9), and that was the first draw in the battles between these two teams in the 21st century. That game mirrors what both teams have achieved in the season. The encounter in Budapest was a rollercoaster. Both teams had ups and downs. Jug and OSC have had a lot of bad and good moments this season. Still, it seems that OSC has reached good shape.
Conversely, the latest results in the Regional League, especially a convincing defeat to Mladost (18:12) show that Jug didn’t overcome the crises. The stake in this game is big. But, regardless of the outcome, both teams will still be among the contenders for spots in the Final Eight.
Marseille and Sabadell will face off in France. Both teams seek their practically last chance to enter the battle for the F8 berths. It’s almost sure that the team that loses tomorrow won’t participate in the F8. Each team has won four points so far, although they haven’t played too badly. Sabadell earned its only victory by beating Marseille, which defeated only Spandau.
Jug – OSC Budapest (19:00)
Novi Beograd – Ferencvaros (19:45)
Marseille – Sabadell (20:00)
Brescia – Spandau 04 (20:30)
1.Brescia 8 – 21
2. Novi Beograd 8 – 19
3. Ferencvaros 8 – 18
4. Jug AO 8 – 11
5. Spandau 8 – 8
6. OSC Budapest 8 – 6
7. Sabadell 8 – 4
8. Marseille 8 – 4
Follow the live scores on Total Waterpolo Arena
European champion Pro Recco will play a home match outside of Liguria for the first time this season. The derby of the round in Group A, Pro Recco – Barceloneta, will be staged in Milan. In the past few years, Recco has played many home CHL games in different cities intending to promote high-class water polo. Now, it returns to the second-largest Italian town.
The duel between Barceloneta and Pro Recco in Catalonia disappointed water polo lovers who aren’t Recco’s fans. There were no big thrills. After a 7:3 first half, Recco cruised to an 11:5 win.
The tradition and the fact that Recco is the host don’t give big chances to Barceloneta. Since the current format of the Champions League was introduced (the season 2013/14), Recco and Barceloneta have played each other 13 times. The first game, played in 2013, ended in a 10:10 draw. After that, Recco recorded 12 consecutive wins.Barceloneta has never defeated Pro Recco since the new Champions League format was introduced
However, Barceloneta is a team that can beat everyone, so few expect Recco’s new easy victory.
Brazilian-born Barceloneta’s captain Felipe Perrone played for Pro Recco between 2010 and 2012, and won the Champions League in 2012.
Recco’s leftie Gonzalo Echenique spent one season at Barceloneta before coming to Pro Recco. Perrone and Echenique were teammates in Barceloneta when the Spanish club won the 2014 Champions League.
Echenique has played for three national teams – Argentina (juniors), Spain and Italy.
Perrone has played for Spain and Brazil.
They haven’t been teammates in the national teams, but they were rivals many times. One of these duels was at the 2016 Olympic Games. Echenique played for Spain, while Perrone was Brazil’s captain then. Spain beat Brazil 9:8 in the 7th-place match in Rio.
Water polo fans in Kragujevac will watch another duel between Radnicki and Jadran Split. Both teams need points to remain in the battle for 4th place and a spot in the Final Eight. This is a do-or-die duel.
Jadran and Radnicki have faced many times in the Regional and the Champions League in the last few seasons. The previous encounter was on Friday. Jadran stunned Radnicki with a 15:3 win in the Regional League game in Split. They shared the points on the Champions League Day 6 in the same pool. Radnicki led 10:8 a minute before the end of the match, but the final score was 10:10. Radnicki similarly dropped two points in the game against Olympiacos on Day 8.
It’s more likely that the upcoming match will be similar to the January duel than to the Regional League encounter – open until the end.
One of the derbies is an all-Greek battle. Vouliagmeni hosts Olympiacos. It will be the fourth encounter between the best Greek clubs this season. The series was opened by Olympiacos’ convincing 14:6 victory in the Champions League. The “Red-Whites” downed Vouliagmeni in the semifinals of the Greek Cup (12:7). Twelve days ago, Olympiacos and Vouliagmeni shared the points in the national league match (10:10). Vouliagmeni was the home team of the third duel. That game was played in the club’s outdoor pool, while the Champions League match will be held indoors.
Vouliagmeni has exceeded expectations by winning 13 points, but the Final Eight is still far from them. Olympiacos will try to bounce back after a surprising 10:10 draw with Radnicki in Kragujevac and to save chances to finish 1st in the group.
Waspo98 Hannover and Dinamo Tbilisi don’t have realistic chances of reaching the F8, so their duel in Germany will be just for pride.
Vouliagmeni- Olympiacos (19:00 – 18:00 CET)
Waspo98 Hannover – Dinamo Tbilisi (19:00)
Radnicki – Jadran Split (20:30)
Pro Recco – Barceloneta (21:00)
1.Pro Recco 8 games – 21 points (+52)
2. Barceloneta 8 – 21 (+36)
3. Olympiacos 8 – 19
4. Vouliagmeni 8 – 13
5. Radnicki 8 – 9
6. Jadran S 8 – 7
7. Hannover 8 – 3
8. Dinamo 8 – 0
Follow the live scores on Total Waterpolo Arena