LEN Women’s Champions League: Final Four Preview

Courtesy: LEN

For the first time ever, two teams from the same nation may clash for the most prestigious club trophy, the Champions League Women’s title. At least, five-time winner and host CN Sabadell and the new powerhouse CN Mataro are considered heavy favorites to make the gold medal match in the Final Four tournament – though record-winner Orizzonte of Italy and Hungary’s Dunaujvaros are ready to cause another upset in the semis.

Players of the 2022 European champion and World League winner Spanish national team ‘divided’ between the two sides, plus a couple of world-class international stars, this is the best available description for the respective squads of Sabadell and Mataro. The two clubs – both from the Barcelona agglomeration – are definitely the favorites in Sabadell, where another edition of the Final Four takes place this Friday and Saturday.

Sabadell is definitely the team to beat – playing in their home pool has always been a great advantage, they hosted four editions since 2011 and came out on top on all occasions (2011, 2013, 2016, 2019). In fact, they are the most successful club in the women’s field in recent years, they were a constant presence in the F4s, 9 times in the last 11 editions, and once they reached the last stage, they made the final on all but one occasions. They went all the way to the title bout 8 times and won 5 of those matches (though claimed only one victory away from their home).

Still, their semi-final match is going to be challenging to say the least, as they face Orizzonte, the record-holder Italian side which top the all-time ranks with 8 trophies. Though their heydays date back to the first decade of the new millennium, their last appearance in the final was in 2011 (Sabadell beat them for their historical first title), and ever since they could reach the F4 only three times, and lost all their semi-final matches. Still, it’s a long-standing tradition in this sport – and in any other – that nothing can be taken granted in a Spanish v Italian affair.

The second semi features Spain’s new emerging powerhouse Mataro and Hungary’s surprise participant Dunaujvaros. Unlike the protagonists of the first semi, these two never lifted this trophy, they won the LEN Trophy (now Euro Cup Women) once respectively (Mataro in 2016, Dunaujvaros in 2018).

Mataro have enjoyed an exceptional season so far, won all their Champions League matches, including a prelim game against Sabadell, and they also edged out their local arch-rivals in the Spanish Super Cup, though Sabadell took the upper hand in their last clash for the Royal Spanish Cup. On paper, some easy cruising awaits them in the evening encounter against Dunaujvaros – however, the Hungarians proved that for them there were no mission impossible this season, at least not at the European stage.

While they were struggling at home as they failed to reach the semis in the cup and finished outside the top four in the regular season in the Hungarian league, they are yet to lose a Champions League tie. In the prelims, they played draws against Orizzonte and last season’s bronze medallist Padova (in Padova) and went on beating Spain’s Mediterrani convincingly first in Spain, then at home. This must be an alerting sign for Mataro to enter the game with full focus and force.

LEN shall offer free live streaming from all matches – for this and more, check out www.len.eu


31 March, Friday – Semi-finals

16.45 Ekipe Orizzonte (ITA) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)

20.00 CN Assolim Mataro (ESP) v Dunaujvarosi VC

1 April, Saturday – Medal round

16.00 Bronze medal match

17.30 Champions League Women Final

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