February signals the end of winter time in Europe, and all indicators suggest that things are going to heat up in the pool ahead of a sizzling month of competition in the women’s game.
Passing the halfway mark of the season, February provides an action-packed schedule of exciting games in the continent’s national leagues, national cup competitions, and LEN club competitions.
In particular, whatever you’re doing on the eleventh, you need to make sure your plans include feasting on a glut of exciting European duels on the 11th February (see below).
So ahead of a mouth-watering twenty-eight days of competition, be sure to pencil in some crucial dates in your diary.
What’s on in February?
The month’s action kicks off in just under 48 hours, with the Greek Cup final four. Alimos will take on reigning champions Olympiacos, while the second semi-final pits 2nd against 3rd, as 2019 winners Vouliagmeni take on Ethnikos.
On February 4th, all eyes will be on Catalonia for the El Classico of women’s water polo, as Sabadell takes on fierce rivals Mataro. The two sides have met four times in all competitions so far this season, with each side recording two wins.
A week later sees the busiest day of the month, and arguably the season, with a Super Saturday, which includes the second legs of the Euro Cup taking place on the same day as the first legs of the Champions League.
There is still much to be settled in the second half of the Euro Cup ties. UVSE and Ethnikos are on equal footing for their second leg in Piraeus, having tied 10-10 in Budapest. Eger has a lot of work to do at home to overturn a three goal deficit against Vouliagmeni (15-12), while Ferencvaros and Lille both need to find at least two more scores than their opponents when they return home against Terrassa and Plebiscito.
The quarter final clashes in the Champions League are equally breathtaking, with four pretty evenly matched sides squaring off in Greece and Spain.
Two-time winners Glyfada host the record-holding eight-time European champions Ekipe Orizzonte, while 17 km North, two star-studded sides – the reigning Champions Olympiacos and CN Mataro – will clash in what could be a match-up for the ages.
Meanwhile, at the same time in Spain, the league leaders of the Liga Espanol, Sabadell, host the leaders of the Italian A1, SIS Roma. In Barcelona, Mediterrani hosts Dunaujvaros, in the meeting of the two dark horses.
Once you have recovered from a Saturday like no other this year, the week after includes some potentially very entertaining matches.
On the weekend of February 17th, there is the Copa de la Reina in Terrassa, Spain, which is one of the most competitive cup competitions in Europe. A day later on the 18th, Vouliagmeni takes on Ethnikos (yes again) in the Greek A; FTC meets Eger in the Hungarian OB I; and the big clash in Italy sees Ekipe Orizzonte face off with Plebiscito Padova.
And finally, to end the month, the return legs of the Champions League take place a week later, on the 25th of February. At this point, we will know who has qualified for the final four and can begin predicting who will be crowned European Champions in April.
Total Waterpolo’s February top-picks
February 3rd-4th – Greek Cup Final Four
February 4th – ‘El Clasico’ – Sabadell vs Mataro
February 11th – Euro Cup QF’s second leg, Champions League QF’s first leg
February 17th-19th – Copa de la Reina Final 8, Terrassa
February 18th – Greek A1 – Vouliagmeni vs Ethnikos; OB I – FTC vs Eger; Italian A1 – Ekipe Orizzonte vs Plebiscito
February 25th – Champions League QF’s second leg