Champions League Water Polo, Main Round, Day 8 – Preview


Champions from 2018 and 2017 are to avoid danger

The second ‘half’ of the prelims starts with a kind of return legs of the matches played two weeks ago which means that a couple of crucial fixtures is in sight. The most highlighted ones are the clashes featuring Brescia (ITA) and Ferencvaros (HUN), Olympiacos (GRE) and Jug (CRO) and Mladost (CRO) and Szolnok (HUN). Winners of the last two titles, Szolnok (2017) and Olympiacos (2018) might get into danger in case of losing.

In Group A Recco (ITA) and Barceloneta (ESP) are set to further strengthen their leading positions, though the Spaniards have to be cautious as they had some headaches two weeks ago even at home while playing with Steaua BA (ROU).

The most heated clash is expected in Brescia where Super Cup winner Ferencvaros would love to go on collecting points – or at least one which they earned through a miraculous comeback two weeks ago when they netted two goals in the last 45 seconds to save the game to a tie. Fellow Hungarian team Eger had some unexpected hardship in Belgrade a fortnight ago, this time a win is a must for them against Zvezda (SRB) in order to reserve some chance to make the cut again.

In Group B another crucial clash of Mladost and Szolnok already takes place on Tuesday. On Day 7 the 2017 champions came up with a great performance to leave their five-game winless series behind, however, that win bears some value only if they can gain another positive result which won’t be easy as till date no team was able to win a game in Zagreb.

Olympiacos should also trust in its unbeaten run at home and they definitely need to take revenge over Jug since another loss would put the title-holder’s chances to reach the Final 8 into danger in a group where only the top three will go through.

Hannover, holding an automatic berth as the host of the F8, goes for its first win after an embarrassingly big defeat in Berlin. BPM (ITA), the surprise side of the season will have a rocky trip to Split where Jadran seeks is last chance to have some slim hope for the finals and the Croats also wish to hit back after losing narrowly in Busto two weeks ago.

Champions League, Day 8

Group A

18.30 ZF-Eger (HUN) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB)

20.30 Steaua Buchuresti BA (ROU) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)


1. Recco 21, 2. Barceloneta 16, 3. Brescia 14, 4. Ferencvaros 13, 5. Eger 9, 6. Dynamo 3, 7. Steaua 3, 8. Zvezda 0

Group B


20.30 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)


19.00 Waspo Hannover 98 (GER) v Spandau 04 (GER)

20.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Jug Dubrovnik (CRO)

20.30 Jadran Split (CRO) v BPM Sport Management (ITA)


1. Jug 21, 2. Busto BPM 16, 3. Olympiacos 11, 4. Szolnok 9, 4. Mladost 8, 6. Spandau 7, 7. Jadran 3, 8. Hannover 3

Please also see the other file attached featuring quotes from the coaches and players of the respective teams.


Group A

18.30 ZF-Eger (HUN) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB)

Recent form:


Zvezda: LLLLL

Last match:

Zvezda v Eger 12-13

Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, Eger:

“It will be really hard against Zvezda. The Serbian team is stronger from match to match. We’ve seen what they can do but the goal is to win.”

Dorian Lukacs, player, Eger:

“We trained a lot. I think our fitness is on a high level. I expect a difficult game, like the one we had in Belgrade.”

Barnabas Biros, player, Eger:

“I expect a hard match as in the previous round. It’s tiring to play against them, but the goal is to have all three points.”

Aleksandar Filipovic, head coach, Zvezda:

“We are looking forward to playing with Eger again. We showed how much we have grown as a team. The match was tough here in Belgrade, so we hope that we will have more luck in Eger.”

Aleksandro Kralj, player, Zvezda:

“Eger has a lot of great players so it will be a challenge for us playing against them in their own city and in front of their fans, but we know that we can be up to the task and have a good performance against them.”

20.30 Steaua Buchuresti BA (ROU) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

Recent form:

Steaua: LLWLL

Barceloneta: WWLDW

Last match:

Barceloneta v Steaua 11-8

Andrei Iosep, coach, Steaua:

“Every game in this competition is a challenge for us. Barceloneta, a former winner of the trophy and one of the favourites to win the title this year as well, will put us to the test. A very good game in all the aspects is needed to compete with them.”

Dimitri Goanta, player, Steaua:

“We are expecting a very difficult game against Barceloneta again. This time we play at home and we will try to impose our game and obtain a better result, but we

have to be very careful with all the expectations of the game because we will meet one of the strongest teams in the Champions League.”

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“There’s a tough match ahead of us in Bucharest. When Steaua played here at CNAB they showed that they are a serious, well-organised team. We know that they play even better at home, so that makes things harder for us. We’ll have to deliver our best game and not make as many mistakes as in Barcelona. Our aim is to secure the three points and maintain the second position in the group.”

Alberto Munarriz, player, Barceloneta:

“It’ll be a tough game, like all Champions League contests. In the last match Steaua came out on top form while we didn’t play our best. This time they’ll be playing at home and that makes things more complicated for us. They’re going to come out fired up and ready to make it a good match. Before playing us last time Steaua had come from a disappointing result against Dynamo and still they played better against us. So, let’s see how we do this time. What’s clear is that we’ll be going all out to win this match. The pace is heating up now and we’re getting to the moment of really important matches. The second round is just starting. Let’s hope it starts well for us and that we play a game that’s intense enough to win us the three points.”

20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

Recent form:


Brescia: WWWDD

Last match

FTC v Brescia 8-8

Alessandro Bovo, head coach:

“The game is very important and I expect a pool full of people and fans. Ferencvaros is an extraordinary team, beautiful to look at, and we need an exploit to overcome the Hungarians. We have to forget the last part of Day 7 when we thought it could be possible to manage a win: we have to play aggressive and concentrated until the end of the challenge, we have to fight until the last second.”

Zsolt Varga, head coach, FTC-Telekom:

“Brescia is a good, experienced team, we could see how they play when they were two goals down in our last game against them. We have learnt from the first game and looking forward to the second one. We have some injured players, but our goal is to collect the three points in Italy.”

Mark Kallay, player, FTC-Telekom:

“Just a few weeks after our last Champions League game against Brescia, I have the same feeling as in the last moments of the game: no one plays for draw. Although we had to be happy for the result, we are aware of our mistakes made in that game. Brescia is a perfectly collected team with great and clever players and

an experienced coach therefore I expect extra motivation and focus from them in Italy. We have trained a lot in the past few weeks, so everyone of us is in good shape. Ferencvaros goes for the win on Wednesday.”

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

Recent form:

Recco: WWWWW

Dynamo: LWLWL

Last match:

Dynamo v Recco 5-14

Ratko Rudic, coach, Pro Recco:

“In Moscow, two weeks ago, we played a great game with a great result, so the danger could be to think that everything is easy and start this game relaxed. We will have to face Dynamo with attention, seriousness and concentration: they are a strong team and will want to take a sports revenge”.

Vincenzo Renzuto Iodice, player, Pro Recco:

“It will be a difficult match, for Dynamo Moscow it is the last chance to get into the Final 8 in Hannover. They are a good team, very physical and I’m sure they will try to create problems for us, but we are preparing in the best way to win.”

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“We will play against very strong team abroad. We’ll try to rehabilitate for our last game against Pro Recco at home. We prepare hard to show our best face and to do our best in this match.”

Dusko Pijetlovic, player, Dynamo:

“It’s always difficult to play games of the Champions League away from home, especially if it’s a game against the most expensive team in the world, and a team made of the leaders of various national teams. I can promise that we will give 100% of ourselves. The previous game showed that we could compete with them, but also showed that we had problems with concentration during a game. I hope that we will resolve that problem before the game and that we’ll be at our best against Pro Recco.”

Group B


20.30 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)

Recent form:

Mladost: WLDLL

Szolnok: LDDDW

Last match:

Szolnok v Mladost 11-8

Zoran Bajic, head coach, Mladost:

“After just two weeks we are playing again against Szolnok. We are aware of their strengths and weaknesses, so we will use all our benefits to win this game and go to the Final 8 in Hannover. I am sure it will be a great game with a lot of people in our home pool.”

Lovre Milos, player, Mladost:

“We are waiting for an interesting and extremely tough match against a very good opponent, whom we had lost to two weeks ago. Unfortunately, then we did not play the way we can and I hope we will concentrate and aggressively enter this game in the first minute to show that we are a better team.”

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:

“My opinion still stands, Mladost is a strong team, consisting of qualified players. They are in a good shape, have not yet been beaten in their home pool, not even Jug Dubrovnik could defeat them recently. All of us are ready to fight, we are eager to start the game. If we can repeat what we have played in Szolnok, then we could win in Zagreb.”

Gabor Kis, player, Szolnok:

“We are prepared to see another side of Mladost, compared to the one seen two weeks ago, when we beat them 11-8 in our home pool. The Croatian team is extremely strong on home premises, so far they have not been beaten in the Champions League and they have played a tie with Jug Dubrovnik in the Adriatic League. We are facing a very important match where we could come out with good results in the home of Mladost if we can force our will on them.”


19.00 Waspo Hannover 98 (GER) v Spandau 04 (GER)

Recent form:

Hannover: LLLDL

Spandau: LLDWLW

Last match:

Spandau v Hannover 15-9

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“We have to be more successful in the second leg than in the first one. We have so many opportunities, so let’s begin with the game against Spandau. Of all the teams we know Spandau at best, the chance for a good start is given.”

Aleksandar Radovic, player, Hannover:

“We know Spandau very well and we played so many games against them. After the last game the only one thing I can say is that we will win. That won’t be easy but that is my promise to you. We are highly motivated and we are the better team. Now we have to demonstrate this in our pool!”

Moritz Schenkel, goalie, Hannover:

“During the last eight months we have shown our strength and dominance in German water polo. A game like we had in January against Spandau in Berlin should be a one-time wonder. Both teams are burning to play against each other, the better defence will probably win this game. We are ready and excited to show that our time is not over yet and we can develop our gameplay. Viva WASPO!”

Peter Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau 04:

“After the clear victory in the first leg I’m sure Hannover will play more concentrated and will do their very best to win. We must keep our concentration even higher in order to be successful and to save our little chance for the Final Eight tournament.”

20.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Jug Dubrovnik (CRO)

Recent form:

Olympiacos: WWDWL


Last match:

Jug v Olympiacos 10-6

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“The game against Jug in Piraeus is very important for my team. We need the victory in principle because of the three points which kept in a race for the qualification, because of our prestige and because of our wounded selfishness. We want a passionate game with no gaps in our performance. Our team finds out the way and is ready to react to such a hub.”

Kostas Mourikis, player, Olympiacos:

“We have the opportunity to show a reaction after the defeat in Dubrovnik and to make a major victory both in terms of rank and score, but also psychologically. In general, this is a key match for our group. It will make things clear on the scoreboard. However, we look at our own performance and we want the victory in order to be in an advantageous position.”

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“Sure it will be tough game as always. We hope to be on the same level as well as two weeks ago. However, will be exciting to the very end.”

Toni Popadic, player, Jug:

“A new difficult task is ahead of us. I’m expecting completely different game compared to the one from two weeks ago. For sure, this is the most difficult away game in the season. Nobody took the points from Papastrateio this season but we well give our best and try to stay unbeaten.”

20.30 Jadran Split (CRO) v BPM Sport Management (ITA)

Recent form:

Jadran: LWLLL


Last match:

BPM v Jadran 9-8

Ivan Asic, head coach, Jadran:

“We played a great game against them in Italy. I feel we could have at least a draw, but we lost by one goal. Now we want to show at our home pool we can do more. I wish that my players could win because they deserve that.”

Andelo Setka, captain, Jadran:

“We are in a good form in the last few months. I think we must play good defence like we did in Italy. In front of our home crowd we can win, although they are the favourites on paper. With our fans behind us, we can win this game.”

Marco Baldineti, coach, Banco BPM Sport Management:

“We didn’t take the first leg lightly and we certainly wouldn’t do it in the return game. Split is a well-organised team with very good players and plays really well, so for us it will be a very difficult match. We should stay in the field of game using our grit and determination and take advantage of our strengths. The key will be our defence.”

Jacopo Alesiani, player, Banco BPM Sport Management:

“We want to do well on Wednesday and we expect a very tough game. But we should do our best and always improve even if it will not be so easy against Jadran Split. In order to reach the Final Eight, we have to try to win as much matches as possible starting with the Wednesday game.”

5 February 2019

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