The first quarterfinal match features mighty Olympiacos, who finished on top of their respective group and underdog Spandau, who surprised throughout the season with some big wins.
Olympiacos won the first place in the group with only one loss, in Dubrovnik, and that was a tight one (10-8 for Jug). This is the 3 rd trophy they want to win this season as they won the Greek cup and championship easily (3-0 v Vouliagmeni). Half the Greek national team, along with 3 Croatians, makes Oly one of the top contenders for this year’s silverware.
Pavic (GK) and Buslje (guard) brought a lot of calmness to the team, as those are two positions the national team misses the most, along with a left-hander, but Olympiacos is ‘weak’ there as well. We say ‘weak’ as they have probably the best right-handers playing on the right side (Mylionakis and Genidounias) if we exclude their former player Vlacholopulos who is playing in Eger now. Also, versatile Obradovic is a big help as he plays on both sides, but mainly on the right where he plays as a 2nd center every now and then.
Left side is really strong with Fountulis (arguably the best shooter in the world at the moment) and Gounas who came back after one season in Italy (Savona). Gounas play on man-up is really crucial, even though he scores whenever he is left with minimum space outside. Mourikis is a great player as a center, and it’s not a coincidence he signed for Recco. All in all, they are a really strong team with a good coach, but they have been missing left-handed players for quite some time now, as Mallarach left a couple of seasons ago.
Spandau had a great season so far, winning some really big matches (Szolnok) and the team’s playing is high above all expectations. By the time we’re writing this, we had the opportunity to witness a crucial game in the national championship vs. Hannover. See more about the match here!
More or less, they are the same team for the last couple of seasons with an addition of some fine internationals. Negrean (Oradea) came to replace Marzouki and that was a great call from their management team. Same goes for Pjesivac who came from Jadran HN. The team is a combination of national team players (Cuk, Restovic, Strelezkij, Stamm) along with guys who got their knowledge in Serbia and Croatia (Dedovic, Gielen). Former Hungarian NT goalkeeper Baksa can have either a great or really bad day – he never had the consistency to be on the very top but can do a lot.
If Oly had a decent left hander we’d say they have enough power to fight even with Recco, which means that Spandau shouldn’t be a problem for them. Much more experience, better players, and a thing that Spandau ‘hates’ the most: a team that is in control of both of their weak and strong sides and plays hard defense. We’re pretty sure that Baksa won’t be up to Oly shooting standards, and that Olympiacos is a big favorite to win this one and advance to the semi-final.
Olympiacos - 75%
Spandau - 25%