Press Release courtesy of LEN
Though there are a lot of games to play in the expanded Champions League, Day 3 is to see a series of key clashes where the outcome will surely influence the final ranks and ultimately the Final Eight berths.
Some thrilling clashes are in sight, though the encounters in Barcelona and Brescia are standing out, no doubt. Barceloneta (ESP) aims to collect its first win after a draw with Olympiacos and a narrow loss in Brescia. The Spaniards are in the midst of a tough ride as now they face OSC (HUN) which staged the most successful start in three years. The Hungarians earned the only away win so far in the group, on the opening day in Belgrade, then escaped miraculously at home against Hannover by scoring the last three goals, including a last-grasp winner.
Brescia (ITA) compensated its somewhat surprising loss in Hannover with a hard-fought victory over Barceloneta and now takes on Olympiacos (GRE). The Italians won the last two encounters, though both were a bit special as Olympiacos had nothing to lose on the last day of the prelims (13-10) while in the Final Six in Budapest they clashed again in the match of the disappointed ones (8-5, for places 5-6th). In Piraeus, at the beginning of the season the Greeks rolled over their rivals (8-4) – this upcoming match is expected to be a much tighter affair.
Hannover (GER) posted some telling results, first they brought down Brescia and did a great job in Budapest but crashed in the final minutes and had to leave the OSC pool empty-handed. Though they meet Jug (CRO), the 2016 winners and 2017 runners-up, the Germans will surely go for another upset and the Croats showed on the opening day in Moscow that they were vulnerable. And they might even recall last season when Hannover stunned them in Dubrovnik as they led by four goals early in the fourth period but with an amazing 9-5 partial result in the last eight minutes Jug saved the match to 15-15 tie.
Partizan (SRB) might look for a positive result as they play at home with newcomer Dynamo (RUS). The young Serbian side is still considered underdogs against the Russians who opened their campaign with a brilliant win over Jug but had to learn a lesson in Piraeus in the second round.
They third day in this group won’t be much calmer either. While two matches look to be an easy cruise for the hosts, especially for Recco (ITA) against newcomer Steaua (ROU), and Sabadell (ESP) should also go for its first points while playing with Alphen (NED) on Tuesday.
The Hungarian teams’ respective visits promise much more excitements. Playing in Berlin has never been an easy task for anyone though title-holder Szolnok (HUN) enjoys another great season. They have almost forgotten the date they lost a match for the last time (in the Champions League it happened in the semis of the 2016 Final Six) and they are definitely the favourites in the home of Spandau. Still, last year’s game in the prelims should be in their mind as the Germans could hold on for three periods (7-7) before succumbing in the fourth (8-12).
Eger (HUN), F6 participant in the last three years, is facing a tough test in Herceg Novi (MNE). Perhaps the Hungarians have the better chances – they played a great match against Recco at home despite losing it – but the young Montenegrin side is really on fire as they opened their quest with two wins, beating Spandau and Sabadell. Another victory would make them a serious contender for a F8 berth.
Champions League, Day 3
18.15 VK Partizan Belgrade (SRB) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)
18.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)
19.15 CN Barceloneta (ESP) v A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN)
20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
- OSC 6, 2. Olympiacos 4, 3. Jug 3, 4. Brescia 3, 5. Hannover 3, 6. Dynamo 3, 7. Barceloneta 1, 6. Partizan 0
Tuesday 19.00 Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v AZC Alphen (NED)
18.30 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v ZF Eger (HUN)
18.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN)
20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)
- Szolnok 6, 2. Recco 6, 4. Jadran 6, 4. Eger 3, 5. Spandau 3, 6. Sabadell 0, 7. Steaua 0, 8. Alphen 0
Please also see the other file attached featuring quotes from the coaches and players of the respective teams.
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