Olympiacos have their sights set on a first piece of silverware this season over the coming weekend, as they look to defend their Super Cup title against postcode rivals, Ethnikos.
Aleksandar Ciric’s Red-Whites will face Ethnikos as strong favourites to become only the third team in Super Cup history to defend their title this Saturday at 19:00 CET at the Papastratio Swimming Hall.
Last season, Greek water polo clubs ruled supreme in European competition, setting the stage for this match. Olympiacos deservedly lifted their third Euro League title with a 11-7 victory over Sabadell. However, the Blue side of Piraeus was equally impressive in their European endeavours, ultimately defeating Dunaujvaros over two legs (12-8, 14-9) to secure a second LEN Trophy in the club’s history.
This meeting is the first all-Greek LEN Super Cup Final since Vouliagmeni thrashed Ethnikos 13-5 back in 2010. Ethnikos will be hoping for a better outcome this time around, but they might have had a better chance against that Vouliagmeni side than they do against this menacing Olympiacos outfit.
And that is because there is absolutely no doubt that Olympiacos are strong favourites for this clash. You could make a case that both sides were on something of an equilibrium last campaign, but both clubs have since gone in completely opposite trajectories.
Since the beginning of the season, Olympiacos have been ruthlessly clinical and are currently unbeaten in 12 consecutive games across all competitions (W11, D1). Over the summer, they reinforced well in the transfer market, acquiring two excellent young talents, Ioanna Chydirioti and Stefania Santa; whilst the only significant player to leave the squad was Brigitte Sleeking (GZC Donk).
As a contrast, Ethnikos have regressed. Six of their top players departed, including the likes of Ashleigh Johnson, Stefania Haralabidis, Rebecca Parkes, and Eleni Elliniadi. Their head coach, Antigioni Roumpesi, also left the club, adding to an air of uncertainty. The form this season under their new coach, Stefanos Leandros, has been turbulent, including a damaging defeat to Alimos in the league, and a winless run of games in the latest round of Champions League.
However, as the saying goes, form goes out the window for a derby, and Ethnikos will be hoping this holds true as they prepare to face their biggest rivals. Ethnikos certainly have a team capable of causing Olympiacos trouble, but they will need to play a perfect game, particularly in defence, to stand a chance in the contest.
If Olympiacos do indeed lift the Super Cup, they will become the third team to ever retain the title, but they would not be the first Greeks to do so. Having won Euro League titles in 2009 and 2010, Vouliagmeni also went on to lift the LEN Trophy in both years.
Aside from the noticeable gulf in quality between the two line-up’s, the statistics suggest an Olympiacos win is likely. In the sixteen previous editions of the LEN Super Cup, only on five occasions has the LEN Trophy winner triumphed over the corresponding Euro League winner.
2021 – Olympiacos
2020 – Cancelled
2019 – Ekipe Orizzonte
2018 – Dunaujvaros
2017 – KINEF Kirishi
2016 – Astralpool Sabadell
2015 – Olympiacos
2014 – Astralpool Sabadell
2013 – Astralpool Sabadell
2012 – Imperia
2011 – Pro Recco
2010 – NC Vouliagmeni
2009 – NC Vouliagmeni
2008 – Ekipe Orizzonte
2007 – RN Florentia
2006 – Honved