The draw for the LEN Euro Cup eighth finals was made today.
Three of the eight duels in this stage will be national derbies. Two Hungarian teams will face each other, while the other two duels between the teams from the same countries will be all-Italian and all-Romanian battles.
Four teams that lost in the playoffs of the Champions League qualifications (Noisy-le-Sec, Vasas, Oradea, Panionios) joined 12 teams that advanced to the eighth finals from the LEN Euro Cup Round 2.
Italy, Hungary and Serbia have three clubs each in this competition stage. Therefore, it was very possible that there would be some encounters between the teams from the same country. The first leg of the eight-finals is on November 30. The return matches are scheduled for December 14.
The Italian derby will be the clash of Ortigia and Savona. Ortigia has achieved eight wins in as many matches in the 2023 LEN Euro Cup. Savona, which won the LEN Euro Cup three times (2005, 2011, 2012), started the season in the LEN Champions League qualifications, but it failed to reach the playoffs and continued the season in the LEN Euro Cup.
The Hungarian derby will feature two former European champions – Honved and Szolnok. Honved has never won the LEN Euro Cup, while Szolnok clinched the trophy in 2021.
Last but not least national derby is an encounter between the best Romanian clubs, Steaua and Oradea.
The third Hungarian club Vasas, which was one of the favorites for the spot in the Champions League preliminary Stage, Vasas will meet Crvena Zvezda. This is a duel between the former European champions, as well as the Hungarian derby. Vasas won the title in 1980 and 1985, and Crvena Zvezda in 2013. One of the players of Crvena Zvezda’s winning team from 2013 was Serbia’s defender Sava Randjelovic, who plays for Vasas now, along with his countryman goalkeeper Branislav Mitrovic. The club is coached by one of the legends of Serbian water polo Slobodan Nikic. Crvena Zvezda’s coach is Dejan Savic, a long-time successful Serbia coach.
The most-decorated club in the eighth-finals Partizan (seven-time European champion, the winner of the 1998 LEN Euro Cup, etc) will play against Panionios
Besides Honved, Vasas, Szolnok, Partizan and Crvena Zvezda, two more Champions League winners are in the Round of 16 – Primorac Kotor and Barcelona.
Primorac’s rival will be Tourcoing (France). These two teams met in the Champions League Qualifications in the tournament in Kotor a few weeks ago. Primorac, the only Montenegrin club that is still on the European stage, surprised Tourcoing – the match ended in a 10:10 draw. We’ll see if the Kotor-based team can be an equal opponent again.
Barcelona will face a very good team of Sabac.
Noisy-le-Sec, the runner-up in the previous two French Leagues, will play against Trieste, one of the best Italian teams at the moment.
Vasas (Hungary) – Crvena Zvezda (Serbia)
Noisy-le-Sec (France) – Trieste (Italy)
Steaua Bucharest (Romania) – Oradea (Romania)
Partizan (Serbia) – Panionios (Greece)
Savona (Italy)- Ortigia (Italy)
Honved (Hungary) – Szolnok (Hungary)
Primorac (Montenegro) – Tourcoing (France)
Sabac (Serbia) – Barcelona (Spain)