The draw for the preliminary round of the Women’s Euro Cup has been made.
Several teams, especially those eliminated from the most recent round of the Champions League, will feel they are too good for the Euro Cup. However, this competition is still a European Cup, and it will be among the club’s highest priorities.
There are sixteen clubs in Europe’s second-tier club competition that did not advance past the Champions League qualification rounds.
Plebiscito will be extremely disappointed not to return to the Champions League podium they achieved last season, but they could now be considered the favourites for this competition.
Three Hungarian teams were relegated from the Champions League to the Euro Cup, and both Ferencvaros and Eger will enter the tournament with high expectations of becoming the first Hungarian team to win the trophy since UVSE in 2016.
Three Spanish teams advanced to the Champions League’s round of eight; Terrassa, the only one left out, will look to redeem itself in the European Cup.
The two Dutch teams did as well as can be expected in the Champions League, but they believe they have much more to offer in the Euro Cup. With Europe’s very elite in the Champions League, they will be confident in their ability to compete for this trophy.
Like they were in the Champions League, the sixteen teams have been divided into four groups of four, of which two will be held in France (Group B in Mulhouse and Group C in Lille); European competition will also return to Pacos de Ferreira, Portugal, which previously hosted Group A in the first round of the Champions League; Piraeus will host Group A.
Group A includes Ethnikos, the champion of the previous season’s equivalent competition (the LEN Trophy). They and Eger will be the most likely competitors for the top two spots. Both Nice and Sirens will be on the outside looking in.
Two Hungarians and two French competitors make for a very intriguing Group B. Conflict between UVSE and Fradi is inevitable. Having already beaten Nancy 13-8 in the French League this season, Mulhouse has a slight advantage over their in-state rival.
Both Vouliagmeni, champions of this tournament in 2003, and ZVL 1886 of the Netherlands are formidable opponents, but we haven’t seen them play to their full potential yet. That duo will take on two defending national champions; the home team, Lille, and Spandau, who recently lifted the German SuperCup.
Plebiscito, who won the bronze medal in the Euro League last year, is in Group D alongside De Zaan and Terrassa, who both met in Group B of the Champions League. The Dutch claimed the third qualifying spot at the expense of Terrassa, so the Spaniards will be eager to exact revenge in Portugal.
The games will be played out in early January. The top two teams from each group will progress to the quarter-finals.
Group A – ZF Eger, Ethnikos (H), Olympic Nice, Sirens ASC Malta
Group B – UVSE, FTC Telekom, Mulhouse WP (H), Grand Nancy
Group C – NC Vouliagmeni, ZVL 1886, LUC Metropole (H), Spandau 04 Berlin
Group D – Plebiscito Padova, ZV De Zaan, CN Terrassa, CA Pacense (H)
Quarter-Finals: 28 January 2023 / 11 February 2023
Semi-Finals: 25 February 2023 / 11 March 2023
Finals: 25 March 2023 / 29 March 2023
Read more about Women’s water polo