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​Champions League, Main Round, Day 2 – Preview

Jug and Barceloneta are to clash in the first highlighted match of the season

All favourites began the season with a win – now the second round is to witness the first clash of two greats, 2016 champion Jug is up against 2014 victor Barceloneta. The other big teams are all set to add three more points this weekend.

Jug and Barceloneta played a couple of times in the recent past and the games never lacked the thrills and the tensions. Two years ago it was 9-9 in Dubrovnik and 8-6 to the Spaniards at home, while in the 2016-17 season they drew in Barcelona (7-7) and Jug won at home 11-10 – something similar is expected in the top match of this round.

Jadran Herceg Novi faces another tough test at home: after losing to Jug, they meet 2017 winner Szolnok. The Hungarians kicked off their campaign with a convincing victory over Sintez and their Serbian coach and players are very much aware of the challenge to play in Montenegro – even though two years ago they beat Jadran badly (14-6) but only three players remained on board from that side.

Sintez has an even harder beginning: they visited Szolnok and now they travel to Piraeus where Olympiacos, finalist in the last two seasons, barely loses a game (their last defeat came against Szolnok in 2017, in the last two seasons they claimed 13 wins and a draw in 14 home matches). The evening contest in Split between Jadran and Spandau offers the chance for both sides to clinch the first win in the main round. Last year they also met, that time the Croats won 14-8 at home though the Germans upended them 12-11 in Berlin.

Group B might see the three ‘big boys’ continue their winning streak. The game of title-holder FTC and Euro Cup winner Marseille has a special taste as this is also a kind of pre-rehearsal since these two will meet again on 2 November to play for the Super Cup (that will be staged in Marseille). The Hungarians are the favourites, just as fellow Budapest side OSC against Hannover. This is the Germans’ second visit to the Hungarian capital in ten days but they are the underdogs once more.

To meet its long-term goals and qualify for the Final Eight, Mladost has its first must-win match at home against Dinamo – though the Georgians proved in the opening round in Terrassa that they were capable of a fine performance on this level.

At the same time the Spaniards are to play with a team from the other end of the scale. Terrassa clinched a win against the other newcomer on Day 1 but now they have an away game against 8-time champion Recco – their admitted goal is to learn and gain experience against the greatest stars of water polo. The match is going to be staged in Bergamo as Recco continues its ‘Tour de League’ around Italy and the sell-out crowd will surely create a brilliant atmosphere on Saturday evening.

LEN shall offer free live streaming of each game on the brand new platform run in cooperation with Eurovision: https://lenchampionsleague.eurovisionsports.tv

Group A (Friday)
19.00 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)
19.00 Jug Adrija Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)
19.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Sintez Kazan (RUS)
20.30 Jadran Split (CRO) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)

Group B (Saturday)
15.00 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v CN Marseille (FRA)
19.00 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
20.30 A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)
20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v CN Terrassa (ESP)

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

For live scoring, stats and play-by-play action visit www.len.eu or download the Champions League App!

17 October 2019

​Pre-game quotes
day 2, 2019/20

Group A (Friday)

19.00 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN)
Last season
Jadran: runner-up in the Euro Cup
Szolnok: 4th in Group B, 6W, 4D, 4L, 135-122
Day 1
Jadran: 7-12 v Jug (home)
Szolnok: 13-10 v Sintez (home)

Petar Radanovic, head coach, Jadran:
“It is our second game at home and it will be very difficult again. My team is very exhausted as we had three very difficult games in ten days. This is still a very important match for us and we will give our best to grab our first points in the Champions League. Szolnok is an excellent team with very good individuals but I think we have some advantage because we are at home.”

Marko Petkovic, captain, Jadran:
“This is a very important game for us. We will do our best playing strong in defence and I hope we will have more success in extraman in order to advance in this game. The first points would be very important and those would lift all of us. The team is ready even though we had very strong and difficult matches in last two weeks in the Regional League as well as in Champions against Jug Dubrovnik.”

Petar Tesanovic, goalkeeper, Jadran:
“The defence is going to be a crucial element, we have to be on high level in order to concede as less goals as possible. We know that Szolnok has excellent players and the Hungarians are famous for playing well in attack. We have to maintain a strong defence and to try to build on all possible chances in attack especially in 6 on 5.”

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:
“We tried to use the best of the break we had recently. We played a training game with Pecs, practiced our tactical schemes and prepared mentally for the upcoming challenges. We are expecting to have a difficult game with the top team of Montenegro, featuring many players from their national team. We will face a tough and dynamic team, who will most probably be aiming to improve their status after opening the Champions League prelims with a defeat in their home pool. One thing is for sure, we will do all we can to win this game.”

Kristof Szatmari, player, Szolnok:
“We won two important games recently, one against Miskolc in our national league, the other against Kazan in the Champions League. We would like to continue this sequence of wins. We are well prepared for this upcoming encounter and are looking forward to a rough and harsh game. It is no secret that we are targeting all three points.”

19.00 Jug Adrija Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)
Last season
Jug: 5th (F8) – Prelims: 1st in Group B – 10W, 2D, 2L, 152-110
Barceloneta: 4th (F8) – Prelims: 2nd in Group A, 10W, 1D, 3L, 154-120
Day 1
Jug: 12-7 v Jadran HN (away)
Barceloneta: 11-8 v Spandau (away)

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug AO:
“We started well the new season of the LEN Champions League and we hope we will continue in the same way. We know that we play against the one of the favourites of this year competition so I expect great and equal game till the very end.”

Alex Papanastasiou, player, Jug AO:
“Both teams are still searching its good form because this is only the start of the season. I expect a great match tomorrow and I hope we will take all very important three points.”

Jesus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:
“A second Champions League game and a second away game. After the victory in Berlin against Spandau 04 we’re going out there with the intention of taking three more points, even though Jug’s pool is a really tough venue. We know Jug’s potential while playing at home but our aim, and we’re we are preparing hard to reach it, is to play a great game and get another victory.”

Alvaro Granados, player, Barceloneta:
“Jug is one of the best teams in the entire Champions League and their line-up has undergone practically no changes. Also, we’ll have to play in their pool in Dubrovnik, which is where they get their best results. But in any case, we’re confident and ready to play a good game. We’re continuing to grow and we go into this game undaunted. As always we’re in it to win it.”

Miguel Linares, player, Barceloneta:
“After a good start in Germany, we’ll try to get three points in Dubrovnik too. They have a younger team than years ago, but they also have great players and it’s always very difficult to earn points in their pool. We need to come up with a good performance.”

19.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Sintez Kazan (RUS)
Last season
Olympiacos: Runner-up (F8) – Prelims: 2nd in Group B – 9W, 3D, 2L, 149-98
Kazan: newcomer in the League
Day 1
Olympiacos: 17-8 v Jadran Split (away)
Sintez: 10-13 v Szolnok (away)

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:
“In our first home game in LEN Champions League, in front of our fans, we want to present a passionate, disciplined and efficient team performance from the first to the last minute! Our opponent is especially dangerous if we consider that they will play freely, without pressure and has all characteristics of a strong Russian team. Our only target is to win this match band in order to achieve it we have to play very well throughout the game.”

Maro Jokovic, player, Olympiacos:
“We are looking forward to the game against Sintez Kazan. This is a typical team from Russia, with many domestic international players who are great in physical shape and technique. I am sure that with the return of all of our players, we will show our potential and celebrate our second victory in LEN Champions League.”

Alexey Bugaychuk, player, Sintez:
“We have a match against a very strong opponent. Olympiacos is a very good and strong team. We are very happy to play with such a team. Our side trained hard and are ready to play a good match!”

Alexander Eryshov, head coach, Sintez:
“We will play against one of the strongest clubs in Europe. Olympiacos is a very serious opponent and the preparation for such an opponent should be serious too. Our team had some excellent physical and tactical trainings so it is ready to show a good game!”

20.30 Jadran Split (CRO) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)
Last season
Jadran: 5th in Group A – 6W, 0D, 8L, 137-140
Spandau: 8th in Group B – 2W, 1D, 11L, 114-156
Day 1
Jadran: 8-17 v Olympiacos (home)
Spandau: 8-11 v Barceloneta (home)

Ivan Asic, head coach, Jadran Split:
“We don’t have a perfect preparation for the game against Spandau since we had to play three games in the Croatian Cup on Tuesday and Wednesday. But we couldn’t do anything about that, so we will try to do our best to get all three points. We played some good games this year, I hope we will do the same against Spandau.”

Duje Pejkovic, player, Jadran:
“We didn’t have that much rest last few days, but we still have a good chance to get first points in this year Champions League. Spandau is good team, but we can win this match.”

​Pre-game quotes
day 2, 2019/20

Petar Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:
“The game in Split is a challenge and an opportunity for us. Remi Saudadier’s absence doesn’t make it easier for us, but we have the potential to keep up in the group and win games. To achieve this, each player must reduce their small deficits and approach their own performance limits.“

Matteo Cuk, player, Spandau:
“We’re expecting a tough game against Split. We know them well and it was never easy for us. They have some new players and again a good team. Unfortunately, we have injured players since the beginning of the season and we are not complete this time either. But we are aware of our strength and will approach the game conscientiously and with great dedication.“

Group B (Saturday)

15.00 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v CN Marseille (FRA)
Last season
FTC: Winner (F8) – Prelims: 4th in Group A – 8W, 1D, 5L, 146-117
Marseille: winner of Euro Cup
Day 1
FTC: 15-12 v Hannover (home)
Marseille: 9-13 v Recco (home)

Zsolt Varga, head coach, FTC-Telekom:
“Marseille has proved that they are a very good team by winning the Euro Cup last year. It’s a special situation that we play Marseille twice within two weeks. We need to separate the two games and focus on the first one to keep the three points at home.”

Soma Vogel, goalkeeper, FTC-Telekom:
“This is going to be our second game in this years in the LEN Champions League. We must win because every point is important to be in the Final8. It is also going to be a great preparation for the LEN Super Cup. Marseille is a new opponent for us, we will know them a little bit more after this weekend and we will arrive to the Super Cup tie with more knowledge about them.”

Marc Amardeilh, head coach, Marseille:
„The players are very motivated. We want to play this Champions League until the end. Everyone is serious and everyone plays for the team.”

Igor Kovacevic, captain, Marseille:
„We have a team that can worry all our rivals in the group. We are ready and we want to show the best of our joint efforts.“

​Pre-game quotes
day 2, 2019/20

19.00 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
Last season
Mladost: 7th in Group B – 3W, 2D, 9L, 129-161
Tbilisi: newcomer in the League
Day 1
Mladost: 10-13 v OSC (away)
Tbilisi: 5-9 v Terrassa (away)

Zoran Bajic, head coach, Mladost:
“In the second game of Champions League we will do our best to win on home soil. We are ready to play a good and interesting game against Dinamo, to satisfy our supporters and get three points in the end. It will be a great game like all games in the league and I hope it will be a real water polo spectacle and a good intro before Pro Recco visiting us in the third round.”

Ivan Marcelic, player, Mladost:
„We suffered a tough loss to a very good OSC but we are looking forward to getting back in the W(in) coloumn. It won’t be easy, but I hope we can pull it off in front of our home crowd. I hope that our match in Budapest was just the result of a bad day, and we have to prove that to ourselves, so we can get back in the race for the Final 8 – otherwise we will be out of the contest really quickly.”

Cosmin Radu, player, Mladost:
“We are preparing for our first home game in the Champions League. After the disappointing defeat in Budapest we are ready to play as hard as we can and make sure that we will win this next contest.”

Marko Jelaca, player, Dinamo:
“This is our first year in the Champions League, most of the players never played this kind of games before, so we need time to adapt to play on this level. On the other hand, Mladost this year lines up a very good team and for sure it will not be an easy game for us in Zagreb. They have many experienced players but we will do our best to make it difficult for them. Personally, I am excited because I am coming back to play in my home town and against my first club after many years. I hope that the stands will be full and the people will enjoy a good water polo game.”

Revaz Chomakhidze, head coach, Dinamo:
“We have a very hard game ahead. Mladost is a complete team with a lot of quality players, among them maybe the strongest pair of centre-forwards in the Champions League. Playing in Zagreb is never easy, but we have our goals for this game and hopefully we will be able to make it an interesting match.”

​Pre-game quotes
day 2, 2019/20

20.30 A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)
Last season
OSC: semi-finalist in Euro Cup
Hannover: 8th (F8, host) – Prelims: 6th in Group B – 3W, 3D, 8L, 130-169
Day 1
OSC: 13-10 v Mladost (home)
Hannover: 12-15 v FTC (away)

Lajos Vad, head coach, A-Hid OSC:
“At home, we are definitely looking for victory, there is no other alternative!”

Nemanja Ubovic, player, A-Hid OSC:
“The game against Hannover is very important for us, like every game that we are playing at home. They shaped a better team than last year and for sure they are one of the candidates for F8. Because of that, we cannot lay back and we need to be fully concentrated in the whole game, especially in defence. One more time we are playing at home, and I hope that we will repeat the same good game what we showed in our first one and at the end we can celebrate with our supporters.

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:
“We know the situation to play another away game in Budapest. The last one (against FTC) showed us that we were able to play on a high level. We want to repeat this for the entire duration of the match to have an interesting game against OSC…”

Darko Brguljan, player, Hannover:
“We started this season well with very good games. So we need to continue like this. We changed a lot of players and we need more time to adapt to each other. We need to play better in defence but I think as time is passing this will be much better. We will try to cause problems to OSC, though they are the favourites in this game.”

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v CN Terrassa (ESP)
Last season
Recco: 3rd (F8) – Prelims: 1st in Group A, 14W, 0D, 0L, 191-91
Terrassa: newcomer in the League
Day 1
Recco: 13-9 v Marseille (away)
Terrassa: 9-5 v Tbilisi (home)

Maurizio Felugo, president, Pro Recco:
„We are happy to host Terrassa in Bergamo, another stage of our ‚travelling‘ Champions League. All the tickets have been sold, a great atmosphere is waiting for us: the Champions League product works thanks to LEN and to the teams that are investing for our sport.”

Andrea Fondelli, player, Pro Recco:
„In our first home game in Europe we would like to do well in front of the Bergamo fans that has been waiting for this match for days. We are at the beginning of the season, we have the utmost respect for the Terrassa: every match is important to improve tactically and physically.”

Didac Cobacho, head coach, Terrassa:
“The game against Recco makes us very excited, as it is an opportunity to measure ourselves against one of the great clubs in Europe, against a team that is destined to win this edition of the Champions League. Our intention is to enjoy the experience, to play against the best. We have reached the top 16, and once being here we know that these kinds of games will make us grow as a team. We will see the reality of high-level water polo. We have to enjoy every minute and learn as much as we can from a great team like Pro Recco, which is a real global squad with some of the best players in the world.”

Fran Sanchez, player, Terrassa:
“Playing against Recco is a prize for us. We have to take this as a learning experience, as we are going to play against the best players in the world. It’s a team built to win the Champions League, with many players who are Olympic champions. Our goal is to gain experience. We have to take advantage of visiting a pool as difficult and mythical as Recco’s home to enjoy the competition. I would have preferred visiting that pool later to have more experience in the competition, but in any case, our goal is to enjoy the game, play a good role and create a spectacle, score as many goals as possible.”

17 October 2019