Champions League, Main Round, Day 3 – Preview

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20. November 2018
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Champions League, Main Round, Day 3 – Preview

Super heavyweight bout: Recco v Ferencvaros

The big match of the day features last season’s runner-up Pro Recco (ITA) and Euro Cup winner Ferencvaros (HUN), two giants with a strong chance of going all the way to the final. At the same time title-holder Olympiacos (GRE) is seeking its first win while the re-match of the 2017 final between Jug (CRO) and Szolnok (HUN) also promises some extra excitements.

Both Recco and Ferencvaros kicked off its respective campaigns with two wins and have also remained unbeaten in the domestic league (and cup). The clash of the titans will see a handful of Olympic and world champion players at both ends, it’s a must-watch game for all water polo fans.

The current leader of Group A Barceloneta (ESP) faces its first serious test in Moscow where Dynamo (RUS) is set to bounce back from back-to-back defeats suffered in Hungary on the first two days. Last season the Spaniards earned an easy 9-5 win in Russia, though their first battle in Barcelona ended in a 7-7 tie.

Eger (HUN) had a loss then a win, now it’s another home game against Steaua – the Romanians went down in their opening home matches but each was a tough battle so the Magyars cannot take anything for granted.

Brescia (ITA) is looking forward to an easy task, the young side of Crvena Zvezda (SRB) was soundly beaten in Belgrade twice, playing away might be even more challenging for the Serbs.

Group B was already thrown into ‘turmoil’ as Busto BPM upset both 2018 winner Olympiacos and 2017 champion Szolnok – the Italians now pay their first away visit and play with Final Eight host Hannover (GER) which had two ties so far.

Olympiacos could collect only one point in two away matches, a home victory against Spandau (GER) is a must for the Greeks. The Berliners would love to earn a positive result at last after two narrow defeats from their Croatian rivals but to achieve that in Piraeus seems to be pretty hard.

The re-match of the 2017 final between Jug and Szolnok will offer further insights of the reshaping process of both sides. They have had some ups and downs so far, though Jug was upset only in the regional league while Szolnok already lost a crucial game in Busto in the Champions League and was ousted from the national cup recently (by OSC, after a huge 8-goal defeat).

Another in-house meet of the Croats is due in Split where Jadran could finally play at home where they face Mladost. The team from the capital is yet to leave the country, they earned four valuable points against the two German sides in Zagreb now they travel to the Adriatic coast to maintain their unbeaten run – in fact, they already beat Jadran 6-9 in Split three days ago in the regional league so it’s going to be interesting to see which side learnt more from that encounter.

Champions League, Day 3

Group A
Tuesday: 18.30 ZF Eger (HUN) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)
19.00 Pro Recco (ITA) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)
19.15 AN Brescia (ITA) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB)
19.15 Dynamo Moscow (RUS) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)

1. Barceloneta 6, 2. Recco 6, 3. Ferencvaros 6, 4. Brescia 3, 5. Eger 3, 6. Steaua 0, 7. Dynamo 0, 8. Zvezda 0

Group B
Tuesday: 19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Mladost Zagreb (CRO)
19.00 Jug Dubrovnik (CRO) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)
19.00 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Busto BPM Sport Management (ITA)
20.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Spandau 04 (GER)

1. Jug 6, 2. Busto BPM 6, 3. Mladost 4, 4. Szolnok 3, 5. Hannover 2, 6. Olympiacos 1, 7. Spandau 0, 8. Jadran 0

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

For free live streaming of each game, live scoring, stats and play-by-play action visit or download the Champions League App!

20 November 2018

Group A

18.30 ZF Eger (HUN) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)
Day 1
Eger: 7-12 v Barceloneta (away)
Steaua: 5-8 v Brescia (home)
Day 2
Eger: 12-10 v Dynamo (home)
Steaua: 6-9 v Ferencvaros (home)

Norbert Dabrowksi, head coach, Eger:
“If we wish to reach the Final Eight, we should win all our home games in the Champions League. Victory is a must in this match.”

Barnabas Biros, player, Eger:
“These two teams are on the same level. Our goal is to get three points. We had really hard matches against FTC on the national cup, so we have to win.”

Boldizsar Csiszar, player, Eger:
“It is very important to win all our home games in the Champions League. We would like to be in the Final Eight. The match against Steaua will be really hard, but we will fight for the three points.”

Iosep Andrei, head coach, Steaua:
“Eger has four of the best players in the field right now (Vlachopoulos, Murisic, Hosnyánszky and Rasovic) and if we want to have a chance in this game we have to repeat the good performance in defence that we had in the previous two games and stop these great players.”

Marius Tic, player, Steaua:
“Eger is a very strong team, especially when they play at home. It is our first away game in this Champions League season, but we are confident that we can have a great game. If we could manage to play like we did against Ferencvaros and Brescia, then we have a big chance to go home with three points.”

19.00 Pro Recco (ITA) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)
Day 1
Recco: 17-4 v Zvezda (away)
FTC: 13-6 v Dynamo (home)
Day 2
Recco: 9-8 v Brescia (away)
FTC: 9-6 v Steaua (away)

Ratko Rudic, coach, Pro Recco:
„We are coming out of an intense period with hard physical trainings. It will be a game to be prepared with great care, Ferencvaros is a fantastic team with many top players like ours. If we play in an orderly and organised manner, we can achieve a good result.”

Niccolo Figari, player, Pro Recco:
„We arrive at this game with so much confidence in our skills and in the coach. It will not be decisive, because this is a balanced group where extremely valuable points are up for grabs in every round. For sure it will be another big battle, like in Brescia. They are an excellent team and, in particular, I’ll have to face two strong centre- forwards: we are preparing to limit their quality.”

Zsolt Varga, head coach, FTC-Telekom:
„Pro Recco is one of the best teams in Europe and we can say in the world too. It’s a great honour to meet them. We have some injury-issues, three of my players would miss this game. Otherwise it is a good possibility to see where are we in this moment and which part of our game we need to work on.”

Szilard Jansik, player, FTC-Telekom
„This is the first time I play against Pro Recco. I’m very excited while looking forward to the match. In my view this game will be a real test, but not our most important in this season and in the Champions League.”

19.00 AN Brescia (ITA) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB)
Day 1
Brescia: 8-5 v Steaua (away)
Zvezda: 4-17 v Recco (home)
Day 2
Brescia: 8-9 v Recco (home)
Zvezda: 3-14 v Barceloneta (home)

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:
„Red Star is a good team with a lot of young players, maybe a little bit inexperienced but physically strong. Then, on the trainer’s bench, they have Dejan Savic, the coach who won in all competitions, there’s nothing to say but – chapeau! Their previous results have not to let ourselves deceive: they’ve played against two great teams like Recco and Barceloneta, in the first half of the matches they stayed very close to the rivals. We have to pay a great attention and do our best to impose our technical qualities.”

​Pre-game quotes
day 3, 2018/19

19.15 Dynamo Moscow (RUS) v Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)
Day 1
Dynamo: 6-13 v FTC (away)
Barceloneta: 12-7 v Eger (home)
Day 2
Dynamo: 10-12 v Eger (away)
Barceloneta: 14-3 v Zvezda (away)

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:
“We have no unimportant matches in our group. Our team is ready to fight and to get our first Champions League points.”

Dmitrii Kholod, player, Dynamo:
“Like in the last year, it is going to be a hard match. Barceloneta is well-equipped, they have a balanced composition of players, an experienced team which won the bronze medal Final Eight. We expect a tough game against a strong rival. We started our Champions League matches in this season with not very confidently but we will play at home this time and we have to change the situation. We hope for a strong support from our fans and our team will fight for the victory.”

Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:
“Playing away from home is always complicated. In these moments, the situation of Dynamo with 0 points is difficult so I’m looking forward to see a team with the need to add a victory. We have 6 points and our idea is to gain a victory too, which would secure us a 9-point advantage ahead of a direct rival. Dynamo is a great team with great players and we must play at our highest level if we want to win in Russia.”

Miquel Linares, player, Barceloneta:
“We won comfortably the two first matches and we are highly motivated to play a difficult match in Moscow. On Wednesday we face with a direct opponent. Another victory would allow us to face the next two games – very challenging ones against Pro Recco and FTC Telekom Budapest – with much more confidence.”

Group B

19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Mladost Zagreb (CRO)
Day 1
Jadran: 9-10 v Szolnok (away)
Mladost: 11-11 v Hannover (home)
Day 2
Jadran: 6-13 v Jug (home)
Mladost: 9-7 v Spandau (home)

​Pre-game quotes
day 3, 2018/19

Ivan Asic, head coach, Jadran:
“I was pleased with the attitude of my players in last match against Mladost. Their goalkeeper Marcelic was great, he stopped 18 shoots, we didn’t score from some of our opportunities, we must correct that on Tuesday in Champions League. We need to enjoy a better attacking day to win against them.”

Zeljko Kovacic, player, Jadran:
“We played a derby first in the Regional League against Mladost on Friday and we lost 6-9. We crashed under pressure in fight for the top spot in the ranks. We lacked a bit of experience since there is a lot of young players who are in this situation for the first time. Now we can play against Mladost once more and we can play better. We didn’t have good tempo in the extraman (realisation 2 out of 12) and then we got nervous and at the other end we let Mladost score easy goals. They were better this time, and it is up to us to get our revenge in Champions League match.”

Zoran Bajic, head coach, Mladost:
”We know the team of Jadran very well. They are a highly motivated and good team which is in good shape. We played our match in the regional league with them just three days before the Champions League game and it was a good and strong game for both teams.”

Lovre Milos, player, Mladost:
”They are a very good team with some great individuals and we expect a hard game. However, we had the time to prepare for Jadran and if we do our job in defence I expect a positive result for us.”

19.00 Jug Dubrovnik (CRO) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)
Day 1
Jug: 7-6 v Spandau (away)
Szolnok: 10-9 v Jadran (home)
Day 2
Jug: 13-6 v Jadran (away)
Szolnok: 5-7 v BPM (away)

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:
“Szolnok is great team. They made some changes, the bench is a little bit ’shorter‘ then before but they still have Prlainovic, Aleksic, Kis and Nagy. They didn’t start well this season but that’s not strange because just as I said before they made changes in the team and it need some time to put everything on right place. Anyway, I expect great match on Wednesday.”

Marko Macan, player, Jug:
“In my opinion, Gabor Kis is still among the best centre forwards in the Champions League and one of the key players in Szolnok. I hope we will find the way to stop him.”

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:
“One of the strongest of the teams is Dubrovnik, they have two players for each post. Therefore we know what to expect in Croatia. It will be very difficult because we are not ready yet, we are still in the middle of our preparatory work. We want to play a good game while showing an improving performance in the pool of Dubrovnik.”

Viktor Nagy, goalkeeper, Szolnok:
“Jug has been one of the best teams of the continent for quite a while. Ever since I have been playing in the Champion League, it was rare that we could beat Dubrovnik, once with Vasas and twice with Szolnok, from many occasions. We will have a tough time. If we play as we set out and we do not lose track, we have a chance for a good outcome, we could even win.”

19.00 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Busto BPM Sport Management (ITA)
Day 1
Hannover: 11-11 v Mladost (away)
BPM: 7-6 v Olympiacos (home)
Day 2
Hannover: 9-9 v Olympiacos (home)
BPM: 7-5 v Szolnok (home)

Marco Baldineti, coach, Busto BPM Sport Management:
„I’m expecting a hard game against a team that has just won the German Super Cup by beating Spandau. Hannover represents a strong complete team with many champions including Alex Giorgetti, the player of the Italian national team. After the first two victories, the expectations for us have been raised a lot and I don’t want this to create anxiety, so we should go there and play without any stress.”

Stefano Luongo, player, Busto BPM Sport Management:
“Certainly it will be a difficult match and it will also be our first away game in the Champions League. We understand that at home we are solid and we can show a really beautiful and effective game. We will have to play as good as in the first two matches and keep our concentration high.”

20.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Spandau 04 (GER)
Day 1
Olympiacos: 6-7 v BPM (away)
Spandau: 6-7 v Jug (home)
Day 2
Olympiacos: 9-9 v Hannover (away)
Spandau: 7-9 v Mladost (away)

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:
„The game against Spandau is very important for us. A possible victory will have a very positive effect on our confidence, also will bring us back in the game, in order to be in the Final Eight to try to defend our title. This is our first game in our home for this season and we are looking forward to it with impatience. We know our opponent and the way they play, we have to force very much to impose our pace.“

Josip Pavic, goalkeeper, Olympiacos:
„We must certainly win the game against Spandau and we want our fans to be on our side. It is our first home game in the Champions League this season. Spandau is a very good team, but we have to beat them in our home. The have not changed at all compared to the last year we defeated them in the F8. In our home we are the favourites, we want the three points to start our ‘counter-attack’ after not having a win in two games so far!“

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