Men’s Water Polo Champions League Final Six – Budapest 2017 (HUN)
Recco seeks record 9th win
As usual, an outstanding event is to crown the water polo club season: the Champions League Final Six tournament will be staged in Budapest and it will feature Europe’s finest clubs and a legion of brilliant players.
A water polo club event has hardly ever visited such a venue where the Final Six will be played this May. As the inaugural meet, the three-day action is going to take place in the brand new Danube (Duna) Arena, main site of the FINA World Championships this July.
The state-of-the-art complex accommodates 12,000 fans, a capacity crowd can create magnificent atmosphere there and according to the organisers there is a great chance to see as many spectators on each day of the tournament.
Water polo fans can be part of the show all around the world since LEN, in cooperation with Dailymotion, shall offer free live streaming from all matches through its website.
The F6 starts where it ended a year ago in Budapest: the first quarter-final will be the repetition of the 2016 final, between title-holder Jug Dubrovnik (CRO) and Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE). Either one prevails, a mouth-watering clash is in sight in the semi-finals since Pro Recco (ITA) awaits the winner of this match. The Italian team is the most successful club in the Champions League history with 8 titles (the last one came in 2015) and seeks a record 9th win after a disappointing 4th place finish a year ago.
Eger (HUN) clashes Brescia (ITA) in the other quarter-final on the opening day. This is the third straight appearance for Eger in the F6 but they failed to survive the QF in the previous two years. Brescia, Euro Cup winner in 2016, returns to the big stage after two years and they also want to go further than in 2014 when they had to settle for the 5th place. If Eger manages to go through, an all-Hungarian semi-final will be played on Day 2 as Szolnok (HUN) is the other group-winner of the prelims which qualified directly to the SF. It’s going to be either the re-match of the Hungarian domestic final or a third clash between Szolnok and Brescia after their duels in the prelims.
It’s a hard call to predict the winner: three teams already have Champions League trophies in their respective treasuries (Recco 8, Jug 4, Olympiacos 1) while the other three (Szolnok, Eger, Brescia) look for a historical first triumph, even a first-ever appearance in the final. Interestingly, the draw divides the clubs alongside that difference so the gold medal match will surely see a clash between a former winner and a newcomer to the final.
Champions League Final Six – Budapest 2017
Day 1, 25 May, Thursday
19.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)
20.30 ZF Eger (HUN) v AN Brescia (ITA)
Day 2, 26 May, Friday
For places 5-6
17.30 Losers of the QFs
19.00 Pro Recco (ITA) v Olympiacos/Jug
20.30 Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) v Eger/Brescia
Day 3, 27 May, Saturday
15.15 Bronze medal match
16.45 Champions League Final
For free live streaming of all matches, play-by-play action and detailed stats, visit the LEN website (www.len.eu).