LEN Champions League Water Polo Showdown in Barcelona

2 anos ago 0

The last round in 2018 offers a brilliant clash in Group A as the top two sides, Barceloneta (ESP) and Recco (ITA), both with four wins, are determined to maintain their respective clean sheets. The winner of the all-Hungarian battle between Ferencvaros and Eger will get some comfort for Christmas while the third Magyar side, 2017 champion Szolnok should already play for survival against title-holder Olympiacos (GRE).

Barceloneta and Recco both have been enjoying great runs so far as they won all of their respective matches including precious victories against the group’s third giant Ferencvaros. Barceloneta achieved that feat three weeks ago in Budapest, an even more valuable result, and now the Spaniards take on their arch-rivals at home. Though the road is long to the Final Eight – nine more rounds will follow in 2019 – the outcome of this clash might have an effect on the hunt for the first place in Group A.

The chasers of the top dogs also face crucial tests. The two Hungarians will meet each other: Ferencvaros took a promising start but two victories were followed by two defeats, in Recco and from Barceloneta. The latter one came just days after FTC-Telekom’s Super Cup triumph over Olympiacos – the situation is somewhat similar as the Budapest side has just clinched the Hungarian Cup last weekend in two games while Eger was resting and preparing for this upcoming encounter. Still, in the autumn they met three times and Ferencvaros won at least by three goals on each occasion.

Brescia pulled off a big win in Eger on Day 4 and that not just improved but boosted the Italians’ chances to make the cut once again. Three more points against Dynamo would put the hosts in a very comfortable situation before the Christmas break while another defeat would require a hell of efforts from Dynamo in the new year to catch up with the others. Worth noting that last year both their matches ended in a 9-9 draw.

Two winless sides will play in Bucharest, Steaua (ROU) is favoured to gain its first points against Crvena Zvezda (SRB).

A tremendous battle is in sight in Szolnok where the champions of the last two seasons face off. The Hungarians, winners in 2017 but having been reshaped since, have been struggling in the autumn. They played four tight matches but could win only the first one (at home against Jadran), followed by two defeats and a draw in three connecting away games. Now they play at home against Olympiacos which also had some problems at the beginning, earning one point in two away matches, but the title-holder Greeks seemed to have found the right track and won two at home with ease. With only three teams making the cut here beside F8 host Hannover, this match is absolutely crucial for Szolnok in order not to fall behind significantly. Two years ago they played 5-5 in Szolnok and the Hungarians won 6-4 in Piraeus.

The group’s surprise side BPM Busto (ITA), which managed to break to the circles of the champions (winners of the last three editions were considered the favourites beforehand), is on another tough tour in Croatia. After three magnificent wins, the Italians lost a thriller in Dubrovnik three weeks ago and it’s going to be a great test of character how they handle the pressure in Zagreb as the Mladost pool has never offered easy games for the visiting sides.

German hosts and Croatian visitors clash in the remaining two matches. Both Hannover and Spandau are yet to earn its respective first wins: for Waspo it won’t be an easy ride against Jug which kicked off the season with four wins though three of them were really hard-fought ones. Spandau managed to force a tie against Szolnok to claim its first point while Jadran could beat Hannover at home to earn its first win so two rising teams are set to meet in Berlin.

Champions League, Day 5

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

Standings:
1. Recco 12, 2. Barceloneta 12, 3. 3. Brescia 9, 4. Ferencvaros 6, 5. Eger 6, 6. Dynamo 3, 7. Steaua 0, 8. Zvezda 0

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

Standings:
1. Jug 12, 2. Busto BPM 9, 3. Olympiacos 7, 4. Mladost 7, 5. Szolnok 4, 6. Jadran 3, 7. Hannover 2, 8. Spandau 1.

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 www.len.eu or download the Champions League App!

 

Gergely Csurka
LEN Media Manager

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