The re-match of last May’s F8 quarter-final between Olympiacos and Barceloneta, Novi Beograd’s visit to Budapest where they play Ferencvaros and the clash of OSC Budapest and Marseille are the highlights of the upcoming round.
Though the road is long, it’s going to get harder and harder to make up the points dropped in the initial phase of the main round. Especially in Group A where we have seven teams eying the top four spots (with Novi Beograd having a guaranteed one, we may say six on three). That’s why three clashes can be considered crucial once again.
The encounter of Olympiacos and Barceloneta deserves to be the headline, these two met in the quarters last May where the Spaniards handed the Greeks a historical beating (22-9). Besides the transformation of the two sides, Olympiacos should look for a revenge, and a home win would also keep them on top.
Novi Beograd had some ups and downs but showed some progress in Split – now the emerging Serbian side visits Budapest where they face 2019 champion and last season’s runner-up FTC. The Hungarians already dropped six points though they are still unbeaten as they played three straight ties. The Serbs arrive after an exhausting but successful week in the Regional League (six wins in as many matches) while Ferencvaros played a brilliant match with fellow CHL participant OSC and managed to win by a fingernail – for the Magyars, starting to win matches in this competition too will be critical after a while.
Brescia has the easiest task among the leaders as bagging three points in Tbilisi is something of a compulsory element in this group for those with serious plans on the Final Eight.
At the same time, the encounter between Jadran and Radnicki might leave the eventual loser in a position from where it’s going to be challenging to catch up with the leaders. Jadran faces back-to-back home challenges against the Serbs, they lost badly to Novi Beograd, now Radnicki returns after they had played 14-14 in the Regional League last week – a draw might not make either team happy this time.
In Group B, the showdown with OSC and Marseille is the highlight of the programme. OSC is still unbeaten though dropped two points in Hannover while Marseille earned fine away wins in Dubrovnik and Bucharest, and a third one in a row would definitely cement the French’s place among the top contenders for the F8 berths.
Recco should enjoy another easy ride at home against winless Spandau, and Jug is also a heavy favourite in Bucharest but the Croats – just like the other Regional League participants from Croatia and Serbia – travel to visit Steaua after a tiring match-load from last week.
And the game of Crvena Zvezda and Hannover is also about staying in the hunt – one win for Zvezda, two draws for Hannover, this means that claiming three points would be crucial in their position. Here a last-minute switch of hosts took place as the game should have been played in Hannover but the freshly implemented restrictions would make it hard for the Serbian side to enter Germany. Next March, on Day 11, they will meet in Hannover of course.
Champions League, Fixtures, Day 4
(all times are local)
Group A – Tuesday
- 19.00 Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v AN Brescia (ITA)
- 19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB)
- 19.15 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)
- 20.30 FTC-Telekom (HUN) v Novi Beograd (SRB)
Standings: 1. Olympiacos 7, 2. Brescia 7, 3. Barceloneta 6, 4. Novi Beograd 6, 5. Ferencvaros 3, 6. Jadran 3, 7. Radnicki 1, 8. Dinamo 0
Group B – Wednesday
- 19.00 OSC Budapest (HUN) v CN Marseille (FRA)
- 20.00 Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)
- 20.15 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)
- 20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)
Standings: 1. Recco 9, 2. OSC 7, 3. Marseille 6, 4. Jug 6, 5. Zvezda 3, 6. Hannover 2, 7. Spandau 1, 8. Steaua 0