Courtesy: LEN Media
While the top spot and all four Final Eight places are set to be confirmed after Day 11 in Group A, in the other group more excitements are in sight. The big game between the first two seeded sides (Jug v BPM) is the highlight of the round and the desperate race for the last available berth between Olympiacos and Szolnok, winners of the last two editions, will also resume.
Recco is expected to make it 11/11 in this round and that would secure their top spot in Group A, regardless of the outcome of the other games and the results of the remaining three rounds.
It’s also almost sure that the next three ranked teams will qualify for the F8 as well though their race for second position is wide open after Brescia’s shocking loss in Moscow on Day 10 (Dynamo reserved a mathematical chance to catch up with the top guys but it seems that this is just a late surge from the Russians).
The biggest clash of the day will take place in Barcelona where the Spaniards will try to recover from their bad run in Italy (lost in Brescia then to Recco) but it’s going to be a demanding task against Ferencvaros. In the autumn the two met just days after the Hungarians’ Super Cup triumph and Barceloneta managed to earn a fine win. Now the Spaniards would need some boost again, while Ferencvaros arrives from a less vitalizing experience as their unbeaten run in the domestic league came to an end against Euro Cup semi-finalist OSC.
Brescia also looks for some fast treatment after they fell in Moscow. Eger seems to be an ideal partner for this as the other Hungarian club in this group seems to put the focus on their home tasks and gently let their Champions League campaign go.
In Group B the battle is just heating up as more showdowns between the top four teams are scheduled. In this round group-leader Jug and second seeded BPM will face off in Busto. Though Jug enjoys a 6-point lead but this can be halved on Wednesday and the Croats still have a tough visit to Szolnok so they cannot give away points for free. At the same time Busto seems to be in safe distance from Szolnok, but the Italians face the toughest schedule, now they take on Jug and they have appointments in Szolnok and in Piraeus on the last two days.
After edging out arch-rival Szolnok in a thrilling match in the last round, Olympiacos has another mountain to climb in its way. They travel to Zagreb where Mladost is eager to halt its losing streak which has got embarrassingly long (counts five matches now). The title-holder Greeks cannot afford losing the momentum they gained by beating Szolnok. The Hungarians try to hang on till the last moment, they now have a relatively easier task, though they drew with Spandau in Berlin on Day 4 – one of the draws from the earlier rounds which might cost them the F8 spot this season.
Final Eight-host Hannover tries to improve its not too impressive score-line against Jadran but the Croats had a better spell recently, winning two of their last three matches.
19.15 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)
20.30 Steaua Bucharest B. A. (ROU) v Pro Recco (ITA)
20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v ZF Eger (HUN)
20.30 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)
1. Recco 30, 2. Brescia 20, 3. Barceloneta 19, 4. Ferencvaros 19, 5. Eger 12, 6. Dynamo 12, 7. Steaua 6, 8. Zvezda 0
18.30 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v Spandau 04 (GER)
18.30 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Jadran Split (CRO)
19.00 BPM Sport Management Busto (ITA) v Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO)
20.30 Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
1. Jug 28, 2. BPM Busto 22, 3. Olympiacos 18, 4. Szolnok 15, 5. Jadran 9, 6. Mladost 8, 7. Spandau 7, 8. Hannover 6
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