A series of LEN water polo weekends continues.
Two weeks ago, the LEN Champions League qualifications started. The LEN Euro Cup began last week.
In the next three days, 36 games in two LEN competitions for clubs will be played. A total of 24 clubs will enter the international stage this weekend.
From Friday to Sunday, the 2nd qualification round for the LEN Champions League will be held in Szolnok, Zagreb, Paris and Split, while the games of the 2nd round of the LEN Euro Cup will be played in Budapest and Palermo.
Champions League, Qualification Round 2
Sixteen teams, split into four groups, play in the second round. The top two teams will qualify for Round 3.
Hungarian champion and the 2021 LEN Euro Cup winner Szolnok will host Vouliagmeni (Greece), Savona (Italy), and Jadran Herceg Novi (Montenegro). Several outstanding players left Szolnok last summer (Serbian trio Filipovic-Pijetlovic-Drasovic and goalkeeper Nagy), but the Hungarian club composed a very good team which is a favorite for 1st place in Group C. Voulagmeni, Savona and Jadran Herceg Novi are eyeing 2nd place. Vouliagmeni, with several Olympic silver medalists, has high ambitions. Savona had ups and downs in the first qualification round, but it is a good team. Jadran entered the season with a rejuvenated team, which played very well in Round 1.
Mladost will be the host of Group D. Besides he Croatian champion, Crvena Zvezda (Serbia), Apollon Smyrnis (Greece) and Montpellier (France). This is a pretty balanced group. The teams are of similar quality, and it is hard to predict the outcome.
Two excellent teams will play in the group in Paris. Italian champion Brescia, the bronze medalists in the 2021 Champions League, and OSC Budapest (Hungary), the finalist of the LEN Euro Cup,are contenders for 1st place, but host Noisy-le-Sec (France) and Terrassa (Spain), which played in the Champions League a few seasons ago, can cause surprises. The tournament will take place in the outdoor pool in Nogent-sur-Marne, the commune in the eastern suburbs of the French capital.
The games of Group F will be played in Split. The organizer is Jadran Split, (Croatia) the team that has been reinforced significantly before the new season, stands out as a favorite. Barcelona (Spain) will be the toughest opponent for Jadran, but Primorac (Montenegro) and Oradea (Romania) aren’t underdogs.
Group C (Szolnok)
October 8: Vouliagmeni–Savona (16:00), Szolnok–Jadran Herceg Novi (18:00)
October 9: Jadran Herceg Novi – Vouliagmeni (16:00), Szolnok – Savona (18:00)
October 10: Savona – Jadran Herceg Novi (9:00), Szolnok – Vouliagmeni (11:00)
Group D (Zagreb)
October 8: Mladost–Apollon Smyrnis (19:30), Crvena Zvezda–Montpellier (20:45)
October 9: Crvena Zvezda – Apollon Smyrnis (18:00), Mladost – Montpellier (19:45)
October 10: Montpellier – Apollon Smyrnis (11:00), Mladost – Crvena Zvezda (12:45)
Group E (Paris)
October 8: Brescia–OSC Budapest (15:15), Noisy-le-Sec – Terrassa (16:45)
October 9: OSC Budapest – Terrassa (15:15), Noisy-le-Sec – Brescia (16:45)
October 10: Terrassa – Brescia (10:30), Noisy-le-Sec – OSC Budapest (12:00)
Group F (Split)
October 8: Jadran Split – Primorac (19:00), Barcelona – Oradea (20:30)
October 9: Jadran Split – Barcelona (18:30), Primorac – Oradea (20:00)
October 10: Barcelona – Primorac (10:30), Oradea – Jadran Split (12:00)
LEN Euro Cup, Qualification Round 2
The clubs which play in the LEN Euro Cup second round didn’t have much time to rest. The first round was held last week, while some of the participating clubs played their league matches this week.
Sabadell, which played in Novi Sad (Serbia) last week, returned to Spain and faced Barceloneta in the postponed derby of 1st round of the national championship yesterday. After a narrow loss to Barceloneta (7:8), Sabadell traveled to Budapest. Italian clubs Telimar and Ortigia, also, played league matches this week, but both clubs had easy tasks (Telimar – Metanopoli 12:7, Ortigia – Anzio 17:9)
The competition formula is the same as in the first round. The 1st-placed and the 2nd-placed team from both groups advance to the next round (quarterfinals).
Italian and Hungarian clubs – Telimar, Ortigia, Vasas and BVSC finished atop their respective groups last week. Each of the four teams had a perfect record in the first round. Therefore, the Hungarians and the Italians are considered favorites for the second round. Telimar and Vasas will be the hosts this weekend.
But, the other teams aren’t out of the race for the quarterfinal berths.
Sabac *Serbia played with only 11 players in the 1st round. Meanwhile, three players have recovered from coronavirus, and the club went to Palermo with 14 players. However, one of the best players Stojanovic is still out of the team. Head coach Vasovic won’t guide the team because he has tested positive for coronavirus at the last test before the trip.
Strasbourg (France), Solaris (Croatia) and Sabadell (Spain) are also among the teams that are seeking the quarterfinals.
Group E (Palermo)
October 8: Sabac – BVSC Zuglo (10:30), Telimar – Strasbourg (12:15)
October 9: Strasbourg – BVSC (10:30), Sabac – Telimar (12:15).
October 10: Sabac – Strasbourg (10:15), Telimar – BVSC (12:00)
Group F (Budapest)
October 8: Vasas – Solaris (19:15), Ortigia – Sabadell (20:45).
October 9: Vasas – Sabadell (18:00), Solaris – Ortigia (20:00).
October 10: Sabadell – Solaris (9:30), Vasas – Ortigia (11:00).