Champions League, Prelims, Day 10 – Summary
Brescia goes through, Eger beats Jug for the 2nd place
Brescia is the last side to join the Final Six: the Italians managed to beat Olympiacos (GRE) and will return to the season-ending showcase after 2014. Eger (HUN) won a thriller against Jug (CRO) and clinched the second place in Group B. Both group-winners, Szolnok (HUN) and Recco (ITA) remained unbeaten.
Two Hungarian and two Italian, a Croat and a Greek club will play for the most prestigious title on the last weekend of May in Budapest. Szolnok (HUN) and Recco (ITA) won the respective groups and booked their direct spots in the semi-finals. Both teams remained unbeaten in the prelims, Recco made the perfect 10 just like in 2015 when the Italians marched all the way to the trophy. In the last round Recco downed Hannover (GER), the Germans could strike first at 0-4 in the third period after 18:34 minutes.
Szolnok had a draw on Day 2 with Olympiacos and won all its other matches. On the last day they had some struggles against fellow Hungarian side OSC but with a spectacular 5-2 final period they prevailed once more. OSC, in the meantime, fought hard and held the lead for most of the time but ran out of gas in the fourth quarter.
They might not mind that at the end, however, since Brescia did its job and collected all three points against Olympiacos, leaving no chance for OSC to move to the third place in the group. It was a huge battle, the Greeks went ahead from time to time but Brescia always had the right answer. Though Olympiacos came back to 11-10 but the hosts netted the last two goals, securing their return to the Final Six after two years of absence.
The last open question was decided in Eger where the Hungarians clashed with Jug (CRO) for the second place in Group B. It was a real thriller with brilliant defending and goalkeeping at both ends. Jug was ahead in the early stages but Eger went 3-2 up by half-time and held on for 4-3 before the last period. The Magyars scored the next two goals for 6-3 and even though the title-holders pulled two back, it was a late surge, Eger kept the ball for the last 12 seconds and passed Jug in the classification. For them, this means a seemingly easier quarter-final against Brescia, while Jug will play the rematch of last year’s final against Olympiacos.
In the other encounters, Barceloneta (ESP) finished its run with a fine win in Belgrade, but the Spaniards missed the cut this time, after four consecutive appearances in the Final4/6. Spandau (GER) rolled over Nice (FRA) with ease, that was the Germans’ second win, they could beat the French side home and away. Olympic finished its first ever Champions League prelims without a point.
The Final Six tournament will take place on 25-27 May in Budapest in the brand new Danube (Duna) Arena, future site of this summer’s World Championships.
Champions League, Prelims, Day 10
AN Brescia (ITA) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 13-10
Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) v OSC Budapest (HUN) 10-8
Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Olympic Nice (FRA) 11-6
1. Szolnok 28, 2. Olympiacos 22, 3. Brescia 17, 3. OSC 12, 5. Spandau 7, 6. Nice 0
Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) 4-8
Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Pro Recco (ITA) 7-10
ZF Eger (HUN) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) 6-5
1. Recco 30, 2. Eger 18, 3. Jug 17, 4. Barceloneta 14, 6. Partizan 4, 5. Hannover 3
Final Six, Budapest (25-27 May)
Olympiacos v Jug (winner plays with Recco in the SF)
Eger v Brescia (winner plays with Szolnok in the SF)
For play-by-play action and detailed stats, visit the LEN website (www.len.eu).
26 April 2017