Showdowns in bothChampions League Water Polo groups
The top four ranked sides play each other both in Group A and Group B of the Champions League Water Polo so the sixth round seems to be of paramount importance. Two big days are ahead.
Four former champions of recent years face off in Group A: 2016 winner Jug clashes with 2017 winner Szolnok (they played the 2017 final), while 2014 champion Barceloneta meets 2018 gold medallist Olympiacos.
In Dubrovnik, Jug tries to maintain its unbeaten run at home but they had some shakier days in November, losing surprisingly to Jadran Split in the Champions League and to Mladost in the Croatian Cup final. Szolnok’s new team looks dangerous but so far had to bow to Barceloneta and Olympiacos and it needed a bit of luck to keep all three points at home against Split two weeks ago.
Olympiacos is 5/5 so far in this season including a couple of single-goal wins while Barceloneta lost a single game, against Jug, and has also been enjoying a good run with some spectacular wins – it’s no way to predict the outcome of this match.
The top four teams’ encounters also give some chance for the others to come closer to the ‘big boys’. The highlighted battle of the lower house is the meeting of the Jadrans in Split. Both Split and Herceg Novi had tremendous matches in the previous rounds and might have deserved more against the top sides, still, the Croats seem to be the favourites at home. The game of Sintez and Spandau look like anybody’s match, can go either way.
Budapest is set to witness two more extraordinary matches in Group B on Wednesday. Ferencvaros, halting Recco’s home winning streak after 33 matches two weeks ago, meets Mladost, which also played a draw with the Italian giant earlier. Though the title-holders are the favourites, Mladost is on the rise, beat Jug in the Croatian Cup final so this game promises no less than sheer excitements.
Just as the other one between OSC and Recco. Recco now faces back-to-back tests against the Hungarians: they managed to save a point at home against Ferencvaros, now they play against the No 2. Magyar side. OSC can be a threat on any given day, though their loss to Marseille at home on Day 4 also shows that sometimes they can crash under pressure.
Here the 5th placed side Marseille has a good chance to get to the top four after this round. The French are in a three-game winning streak and this coming game against Terrassa will show if they could be really considered a favourite to grab a place in the Final Eight. In Tbilisi, the only two pointless clubs of the prelims, Dinamo and Waspo are eying the first win in the competition.
Champions League, Prelims, Day 6
(all times are local)
Group A (Tuesday)
19.00 Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)
19.15 Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
20.00 Sintez Kazan (RUS) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)
20.30 Jadran Split (CRO) v Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE)
Standings: 1. Olympiacos 15, 2. Jug 12, 3. Barceloneta 12, 4. Szolnok 9, 5. Jadran Split 4, 6. Sintez 3, 7. Spandau 2, 8. Jadran Carine 1
Group B (Wednesday)
18.30 Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)
18.30 A Híd-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Pro Recco (ITA)
19.00 FTC-Telekom Budapest (ITA) v Mladost Zagreb (CRO)
20.30 CN Marseille (FRA) v CN Terrassa (ESP)
Standings: 1. FTC 13, 2. OSC 12, 3. Recco 11, 4. Mladost 10, 5. Marseille 9, 6. Terrassa 3, 7. Hannover 0, 8. Tbilisi 0
Please also see the other file attached featuring quotes from the coaches and players of the respective teams.
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2 December 2019