For the second year in a row, Brescia won 1st place in its group of the Champions League Main Phase.
Both times, Brescia was the contender for an F8 ticket but was not the favorite for the top spot.
This year, Brescia was ahead of Novi Beograd, Ferencvaros, Jug, Sabadell, Marseille, Spandau and OSC Budapest and secured the “pole position” before the Champions League Final Eight in Belgrade (May 31 – June 3)
Brescia was the first team that mathematically qualified for the Final Eight. It booked the ticket for Belgrade already on Day 9 of the group stage.
“By winning 1st place, we achieved success, but we don’t want to stop here. We will not be satisfied with that result. The top spot in the group maybe wasn’t expected, but it didn’t come as a coincidence. We finished 1st, just as in the last season, left some of the favorites behind us and proved our quality.”, Brescia’s centre-forward Djordje Lazic, the Olympic champion, says in the interview with Total Waterpolo.
The team kept a high level of shape throughout the season. Practically, Brescia’s only bad performance was against Ferencvaros in Budapest. Still, that loss wasn’t very painful because Brescia had a chance for a makeup exam in the 14th round against Jug. The Italians didn’t let Jug surprise in Brescia and cemented 1st place.
What is Brescia’s strongest quality this season?
“In the first place, it’s defense. Brescia and Pro Recco are the teams that probably have the best defense in Europe at the moment. The other reason is continuity. The team has been together for a long time. There were no big changes on the roster in the past few years. We know each other very well and have great energy. Our team spirit is excellent.”, Lazic, who arrived at Brescia in 2020, emphasizes.
Brescia’s semi-finals rival is the only debutant at the Final Eight, the Greek Vouliagmeni.
“Vouliagemni is, on paper, the easiest opponent in the tournament. However, there are no easy rivals in the Final Eight. All clubs passed a long way to come to the Final Eight. Vouliagmeni is a team that we have to respect. They can play against everyone. We expect a challenging match. It won’t be easy to reach the semifinals.”
I Brescia has been a regular participant of the F6/F8 tournaments since 2017
The question of who are the favorites is inevitable in an interview on the eve of the tournament. This is Lazic’s opinion:
“Pro Recco stands out as the favorite considering their performances in the past few months, but Novi Beograd, Barceloneta, Olympiacos are contenders for the trophy. Still, the tournament is very balanced, there are a lot of good teams. I believe that Brescia can be, at least, an equal opponent to each rival in the Final Eight.”
Brescia’s main overture for the Final Eight was the final of the Italian championships. Pro Recco retained the title, beating Brescia twice (7:3 and 6:4).
“The results of the final, especially the one in the first match, didn’t display a real difference in quality between Pro Recco and Brescia. In the first game, we were in a neck-and-neck race until 3:3. After that, Recco scored four straight goals for a 7:3 win. We didn’t take advantage of the man-ups we earned. We had a poor percentage of extra-player attacks in both games – 3/14 and 3/15. We have worked a lot to improve this segment before the Final Eight. Besides, Recco’s advantage was a longer bench. But, we don’t ask for excuses.
We didn’t play at our level in the final of the domestic championships. It’s sure that Brescia can display better performances at the Final Eight than in the Italian final.”, Lazic concludes
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