All spots are booked for the Final Eight, the rankings are cemented in Group B – so the last round of the prelims offers minor excitements for Wednesday when Group A contestants stage a last surge to keep or shake up the current positions. The fourth-placed side will face title-holder Pro Recco in the quarter-finals.
Ferencvaros has a single-point advantage in this ‘avoiding Recco’ game – though the 2019 champions have the toughest match-up on paper, an encounter with group-winner Brescia. The Hungarians have enjoyed a brilliant run recently, claimed big away wins over Novi Beograd and Olympiacos, a hard-fought home victory against Radnicki – and lately they thrashed fellow Champions League participant OSC 18-9 in the domestic league final. On contrary, Brescia suffered a shocking home defeat against Trieste in the Italian semis – and this upcoming match means little or nothing for the Italians as they already won the group, though they may wish to use it to bounce back for the home play-offs.
The other two rivals chasing the higher ranks in Group A are F8 host Novi Beograd and Barceloneta. The Serbs have another showdown with their good old arch-rivals Radnicki – it’s also a rehearsal for their probable clash in the domestic final. Barceloneta, sitting in the fourth place, visits Jadran in Split, an almost sure win for the Spaniards but it can make no impact if Ferencvaros and Radnicki also pulls off wins. In the head-to-head, Novi Beograd is favoured as they played a 12-12 draw and beat the Spanish 11-9 at home.
The top four positions are settled in Group A – well, Marseille may finish atop if the team stages a miracle in Recco and wins by 7 goals, but this is something not even the French are dreaming of. All other games are about finetuning for the season-ending clashes in the respective play-offs across Europe – and of course, for the Final Eight to be held in Belgrade on 2-4 June, in the indoor pool of Novi Beograd.
Group A (Wednesday)
18.30 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v AN Brescia (ITA)
19.00 Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)
20.30 Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) v Novi Beograd (SRB)
Standings: 1. Brescia 30, 2. Ferencvaros 25, 3. Novi Beograd 24, 3. Barceloneta 24, 5. Olympiacos 20,
6. Radnicki 13, 7. Jadran 9, 8. Dinamo 3
Group B (Tuesday)
18.15 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)
19.00 Pro Recco (ITA) v CN Marseille (FRA)
19.00 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB)
20.00 Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v Genesys-OSC Budapest (HUN)
Standings: 1. Recco 36, 2. Marseille 33, 3. Jug 30, 4. Hannover 20, 5. OSC 16, 6. Spandau
10, 7. Steaua 4, 8. Zvezda 4
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