In the highlighted clash of the 5th round 8-time winner Pro Recco faces title-holder FTC-Telekom. The Italians enjoy a 33-game unbeaten run at home since the autumn of 2013 but it’s going to be a tough test for them.
In Group A Olympiacos is set to march on after nail-biting wins over Jadran Carine and Szolnok – Spandau, despite earning two draws so far, might not be the first team to the halt the Greeks’ four-match winning streak.
Jug can recover from the shocking defeat in Split in the previous round and they are on their way thanks to a fine win over home arch-rival Mladost in the domestic competition. Here Sintez would need something special to stay close to the Croats in their home pool.
Jadran caused the biggest upset in this group so far by catching Jug on Day 4 and another win would definitely place them among the top contenders for the F8 berth. However, they miss five key players now and even if Szolnok is in the middle of a bad series (back-to-back losses to Barceloneta and Olympiacos, a big defeat against Ferencvaros in the home league), the weakened line-up may prevent the Croats from bringing down another favourite.
Though Jadran Carine earned its first point in Berlin, this time the young Montenegrins face another uphill battle against Barceloneta.
The big game of this round is coming in Group B where 8-time winner Recco, bronze medallist last season, has another showdown with title-holder Ferencvaros. While last year their matches were somewhat one-sided (Recco won 13-7 and 9-6), this Wednesday might see a different encounter. Still, beating Recco in its home requires a hell of effort: the last time the Italian giant lost a home game dates back to the autumn of 2013 when Primorje Rijeka won 8-6. Since then Recco has been 33 for 33 as a host despite staging the matches in different venues in order to promote water polo – this week Bologna will welcome this outstanding battle.
The other Hungarian side OSC was upset in the previous round by Marseille and the Budapest boys would need to bounce back in Terrassa which doesn’t seem to be an easy task.
At the same time the two teams getting hungrier and eying the F8 spots after delivering surprising results (Mladost tied with Recco, Marseille won in Budapest) play at home with the two winless rivals in the group and both can add three more points to further boost their chances. Though Mladost needs to be cautious as Hannover earned an 11-11 draw last season and beat them badly 14-9 at home.
Group A (Tuesday)
19.00 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v Jadran Split (CRO)
19.00 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (CRO) Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP)
20.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)
20.30 Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Sintez Kazan (RUS)
Standings: 1. Olympiacos 12, 2. Jug 9, 3. Barceloneta 9, 4. Szolnok 6, 5. Jadran Split 4, 6. Sintez 3, 7. Spandau 2, 8. Jadran Carine 1
Group B (Wednesday)
20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)
20.30 CN Terrassa (ESP) v A Híd-OSC Budapest (HUN)
20.30 CN Marseille (FRA) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
20.30 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)
Standings: 1. FTC 12, 2. Recco 10, 3. OSC 9, 4. Mladost 7, 5. Marseille 6, 6. Terrassa 3, 7. Hannover 0, 8. Tbilisi 0
Please also see the other file attached featuring quotes from the coaches and players of the respective teams.
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