This week marks the penultimate rounds of the group phase for both the Champions League and Euro Cup.
Over the next three days, we can expect to see several clubs secure a spot in the quarterfinal groups of the LEN Champions League and those that will advance to the Euro Cup eight-finals.
So far, three teams, Barceloneta, Ferencvaros, and Pro Recco, have qualified for the Champions League quarterfinal groups. Vouliagmeni, Steaua, and Dinamo Tbilisi have no chance of making it to the top 8 in the Champions League and will continue their season in the LEN Euro Cup.
While none of the participants in the LEN Euro Cup Group Phase have advanced to the eight-finals yet, some of them are likely to do so on Thursday.
As for the Champions League, the most crucial matches will be played in Split, Marseille and Belgrade.
2024 Champions League, Day 5, Preview
Group C (November 21)
The first match in the 5th round of the Champions League will see Ferencvaros and Crvena Zvezda face off. In their previous encounter in Belgrade, Ferencvaros recorded a dominant win over Crvena Zvezda with a score of 16:6. Despite the scoreline, the difference in quality between the two teams may not have been fully reflected. However, a win for Crvena Zvezda in the upcoming match would come as a big surprise.
In another match in this group, two Jadrans will meet in Split. In their previous encounters in October, the Croatian champion narrowly beat the Montenegrins in Split in the Regional League (15:14), and also emerged victorious in their Champions League match in Trebinje with a narrow difference of one goal (11:10). Although Jadran Herceg Novi has a slim chance of qualifying for the next stage, the team will still strive to beat their namesake for the first time this season.
Schedule: Ferencvaros – Crvena Zvezda (18:30), Jadran S – Jadran HN (19:00)
Standings: 1. Ferencvaros 12, 2. Jadran S 6, 3. Crvena Zvezda 4, 4. Jadran HN 2.
Group D (November 21)
Barceloneta will cement the top spot if it secures at least a point against Vouliagmeni. A win over the bottom-placed team seems like an easy task at first glance. However, Vouliagmeni, despite having no points and being out of the race for the quarterfinal stage, has put up a good fight in their previous matches. Their rivals did not beat them easily despite suffering four losses in the first four rounds.
Marseille and Spandau, the contenders for the second spot, will play against each other in France. The race for the second place is expected to remain open until the end. Spandau, which defeated Marseille by three goals in Berlin (13:10), will now be under a new head coach, Vladimir Markovic. It remains to be seen if this “shock therapy” will help Spandau defeat Marseille again.
Schedule: Barceloneta – Vouliagmeni (18:45), Marseille – Spandau 04 (20:00)
Standings: 1. Barceloneta 12, 2. Spandau 04 6, 3. Marseille 6, 4.Vouliagmeni 0.
Group A (November 22)
With two rounds remaining, three teams are in contention for the top spot in Group A.
Sabadell is expected to have an easy game against Steaua, who are yet to earn a point this season.
Meanwhile, Novi Beograd and Brescia are set to clash in a highly anticipated match in Belgrade. Novi Beograd have dominated this fixture in recent years, winning four out of six games (the Italians won one match), but Brescia has shown improvement since their last defeat to Novi Beograd (8:13) and will not go down without a big fight. While Novi Beograd remains the favorite for the top spot in the group and tomorrow’s match, Brescia’s improved form makes the outcome unpredictable. Brescia beat Posillipo 13:5, while Novi Beograd demolished Sabac 23:9 last weekend in rehearsals for the clash on Wednesday.
Schedule: Novi Beograd – Brescia (19:45), Sabadell – Steaua (19:30)
Standings: 1. Novi Beograd 9, 2. Brescia 8, 3. Sabadell 7, 4. Steaua 0.
Group B (November 22)
Everything is more or less clear in Group B. Olympiacos will play against Dinamo Tbilisi on Wednesday. The Greeks need three points against the underdog to join Pro Recco in the next phase.
If the reigning champion beats Jug in the 5th round, it will mathematically secure the top spot and the sixth round will be a formality. Jug is a giant of European water polo, like Pro Recco and Olympiacos are, but the Croats’ latest performances and convincing losses in the Champions League don’t promise before the duel against the title-holder. Recco demonstrated its power in the Super Cup recently, beating Vasas convincingly, despite playing without two aces, Aleksandar Ivovic and Francesco Di Fulvio, who missed the match due to injuries.
Schedule: Pro Recco – Jug AO (20:30), Olympiacos – Dinamo Tbilisi (19:00 – 18:00 CET).
Standings: 1. Pro Recco 12, 2. Olympiacos 8, 3. Jug 4, 4. Dinamo Tbilisi 0.
2024 Euro Cup Group Phase, Day 5, Preview (November 23)
With many thrilling matches having taken place since the start of the LEN Euro Cup Group Phase, and only two teams now out of the running to advance to the eight-finals (Trieste and Apollon), nearly every game in the 5th round promises to be a derby.
However, the attention is focused on Savona, where the runner-up team is set to welcome Vasas in a new replay of the 2023 final. The Hungarians had previously beaten the Italians (18:17) in Budapest, so a new and exciting game is on the horizon.
Group A: Tourcoing – Barcelona (November 22– 21:15), Solaris – Telimar (20:00)
Standings: 1. Barcelona 9, 2. Tourcoing 7, 3. Telimar 6, 4. Solaris 2.
Group B: Apollon Smyrnis – Honved (21:00 – 20:00 CET), Savona – Vasas (19:00)
Standings: 1.Vasas 10, 2. Savona 9, 3.Honved 5, 4.Apollon 0.
Group C: BVSC – Sabac , Waspo 98 Hannover – Primorje (19:00)
Standings: 1.BVSC 9, 2. Primorje 6, 3. Sabac 6, 4. Hannover 3.
Group D: Ortigia – Trieste (15:00), Panionios – Primorac (20:30).
Standings: 1. Primorac 9, 2. Panionios 8, 3. Ortigia 6, 4. Trieste 1.
The full schedule of the LEN Euro Cup – HERE