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2019 Champions League LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League, Main Round, D5 – LIVE TV, Preview & Quotes

Showdown in Barcelona 

The last round in 2018 offers a brilliant clash in Group A as the top two sides, Barceloneta (ESP) and Recco (ITA), both with four wins, are determined to maintain their respective clean sheets. The winner of the all-Hungarian battle between Ferencvaros and Eger will get some comfort for Christmas while the third Magyar side, 2017 champion Szolnok should already play for survival against title-holder Olympiacos (GRE).


Barceloneta and Recco both have been enjoying great runs so far as they won all of their respective matches including precious victories against the group’s third giant Ferencvaros. Barceloneta achieved that feat three weeks ago in Budapest, an even more valuable result, and now the Spaniards take on their arch-rivals at home. Though the road is long to the Final Eight – nine more rounds will follow in 2019 – the outcome of this clash might have an effect on the hunt for the first place in Group A.

The chasers of the top dogs also face crucial tests. The two Hungarians will meet each other: Ferencvaros took a promising start but two victories were followed by two defeats, in Recco and from Barceloneta. The latter one came just days after FTC-Telekom’s Super Cup triumph over Olympiacos – the situation is somewhat similar as the Budapest side has just clinched the Hungarian Cup last weekend in two games while Eger was resting and preparing for this upcoming encounter. Still, in the autumn they met three times and Ferencvaros won at least by three goals on each occasion.

Brescia pulled off a big win in Eger on Day 4 and that not just improved but boosted the Italians’ chances to make the cut once again. Three more points against Dynamo would put the hosts in a very comfortable situation before the Christmas break while another defeat would require a hell of efforts from Dynamo in the new year to catch up with the others. Worth noting that last year both their matches ended in a 9-9 draw.

Two winless sides will play in Bucharest, Steaua (ROU) is favoured to gain its first points against Crvena Zvezda (SRB).

A tremendous battle is in sight in Szolnok where the champions of the last two seasons face off. The Hungarians, winners in 2017 but having been reshaped since, have been struggling in the autumn. They played four tight matches but could win only the first one (at home against Jadran), followed by two defeats and a draw in three connecting away games. Now they play at home against Olympiacos which also had some problems at the beginning, earning one point in two away matches, but the title-holder Greeks seemed to have found the right track and won two at home with ease. With only three teams making the cut here beside F8 host Hannover, this match is absolutely crucial for Szolnok in order not to fall behind significantly. Two years ago they played 5-5 in Szolnok and the Hungarians won 6-4 in Piraeus.

The group’s surprise side BPM Busto (ITA), which managed to break to the circles of the champions (winners of the last three editions were considered the favourites beforehand), is on another tough tour in Croatia. After three magnificent wins, the Italians lost a thriller in Dubrovnik three weeks ago and it’s going to be a great test of character how they handle the pressure in Zagreb as the Mladost pool has never offered easy games for the visiting sides.

German hosts and Croatian visitors clash in the remaining two matches. Both Hannover and Spandau are yet to earn its respective first wins: for Waspo it won’t be an easy ride against Jug which kicked off the season with four wins though three of them were really hard-fought ones. Spandau managed to force a tie against Szolnok to claim its first point while Jadran could beat Hannover at home to earn its first win so two rising teams are set to meet in Berlin.

Champions League, Day 5

Group A

19.00 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v ZF Eger (HUN)

19.00 AN Brescia (ITA) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

19.15 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Pro Recco (ITA)

20.30 Steaua Bucharest B. A. (ROU) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB)


  1. Recco 12, 2. Barceloneta 12, 3. 3. Brescia 9, 4. Ferencvaros 6, 5. Eger 6, 6. Dynamo 3, 7. Steaua 0, 8. Zvezda 0


Group B

19.00 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

19.00 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Jug Dubrovnik (CRO)

19.00 Spandau 04 (GER) v Jadran Split (CRO)

20.30 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v BPM Sport Management (ITA)


  1. Jug 12, 2. Busto BPM 9, 3. Olympiacos 7, 4. Mladost 7, 5. Szolnok 4, 6. Jadran 3, 7. Hannover 2, 8. Spandau 1.


Group A

19.00 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v ZF Eger (HUN)

Recent form


Eger: LWWL

Last match:

FTC: 8-9 v Barceloneta (home)

Eger: 8-11 v Brescia (home)


Zsolt Varga, head coach, FTC-Telekom:

“We are coming from a long series of games from the past weeks. We expect a tough game against Eger, where we need to keep the three points at home.”

Marton Vamos, player, FTC-Telekom:

“Luckily we are after a cup victory again, though at the same time our opponent could have a rest and prepare against us. Still, we are confident to win our last match in the Champions League in 2018.”

Norbert Dabrowski, head coach, ZF-Eger:

“We saw how strong FTC was in the Hungarian Cup final. But in the Champions League Barceloneta already demonstrated that winning against FTC at Budapest was possible.”

Angelos Vlachopoulos, player, ZF-Eger:

“It’s a very difficult game and very important for both teams. We know each other very well because we have already played three times in this season. Ferencvaros has top players and we must give 100% to take something out of this game.”

Strahinja Rasovic, player, ZF-Eger:

“I think the most important is our defence. We need to do well in the back if we want to stay in the game. We can play against them, this is another competition and I know that we can play well against them!”

19.00 AN Brescia (ITA) v Dynamo Moscow (RUS)

Recent form:

Brescia: WLWW

Dynamo: LLLW

Last match:

Brescia: 11-8 v Eger (away)

Dynamo: 14-4 v Zvezda (home)

Alessandro Bovo, head coach, Brescia:

“Wednesday’s game is nothing but another very important step in our international path. We play at home and we have to gain the best result. In the last two weeks, we’ve had some problems with injuries and cases of flu, but now we’re ready. For sure, it will be a hard challenge: Dynamo is the same very good team from the last season, with three great Serbian players like Pijetlovic, Radjen and Subotic.”

Marat Zakirov, head coach, Dynamo:

“We are going to Brescia with great pleasure. We’re going to play in a beautiful city against a great rival. We expect a good game and a nice atmosphere.”

Ivan Nagaev, player, Dynamo:

“We will play against a strong team from Italy. We met them twice last year and both matches ended in a tie. We hope that this time we will be able to win and we will continue to fight to qualify to the Final 8.”


19.15 Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Pro Recco (ITA)

Recent form:

Barceloneta: WWWW

Recco: WWWW

Last match:

Barceloneta: 9-8 v Ferencvaros (away)

Recco: 19-7 v Steaua (home)


Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta:

“Following our recent victory over Ferencvaros in Hungary, the team comes to the last Champions League game of the year with full of confidence. The team won all of its four matches, three of those away from home. We finish the year with a home game against the favourites for the title. Sure, it’s going to be a great match and the fans will enjoy some magnificent play. And of course, we aim to play our very best game and secure another victory.”

Martin Famera, player, Barceloneta:

“We’ll be up against a really tough team, for sure the toughest in our group. Not just one of the best teams but the best. We’re equal on points, so whoever wins this match will take the top position in the classification. With the support of all our fans we hope that it will be us.”

Marc Larumbe, player, Barceloneta:

“Generally speaking, Pro Recco is the best team in the world. It will be a tough game against amazing players. Not only they are better, but also the strongest. However, we will have the support of our fans and I hope we manage to reach a good result. In addition, we don’t have any kind of pressure.

Ratko Rudic, coach, Pro Recco:

“It will be a tough match even because of the psychological aspect. Barceloneta is a great team, with a complete roster: they have strong and quality players in every position. Impossible to make predictions, but I am confident in the performance of my athletes.”

Gonzalo Echenique, player, Pro Recco:

“It’s always exciting to come back to Barceloneta’s pool. The memory of the Champions League victory in 2014 is the best of my experience with them. I think the current team is stronger than the winning one which I played in. This explains the difficulty of the coming game.”


20.30 Steaua Bucharest B. A. (ROU) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB)

Recent form:

Steaua: LLLL

Zvezda: LLLL

Last match:

Steaua: 7-19 v Recco (away)

Zvezda: 4-14 v Dynamo (away)


Iosep Andrei, head coach, Steaua:

“It will be a strong battle, but we don’t want to lose the opportunity to add the first points in this campaign of the Champions League.”

Jerko Kragic, player, Steaua:

“We respect the Red Star team. They have their qualities. But we are training hard and we are prepared very well. We are playing in our pool in front of our fans and all we want is a win.”

Aleksandar Filipovic, coach, Zvezda:

Playing in Champions League means you can do nothing but give your best at any time and against any team. Steaua is quite an organised team which means one thing only: this is going to be a really competitive game! It will definitely be a step forward, whatever result we’ll be bringing home. Steaua will surely put up a good water polo fight and we are more then happy to dive in!”

Veljko Tankosic, player, Zvezda:

We will try to give our best. Decent performance is a must in order to confirm the signs of improvement. This year, the Champions League produces quite good matches, so once again, we expect a good game against Steaua and a great atmosphere on the tribunes.”


Group B 

19.00 Szolnoki Dozsa (HUN) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

Recent form:

Szolnok: WLLD

Olympiacos: LDWW

Last match:

Szolnok: 9-9 v Spandau (away)

Olympiacos: 13-8 v Mladost (home)

Zivko Gocic, head coach, Szolnok:

“We are facing a tough game against the title-holder Olympiacos Piraeus. Our team is in good health, we are preparing with all the team members. We will have to give our best and will have to play very well. It is not a secret that we are going for a win against Olympiacos, a very strong team this year as well.”

Gergely Kardos, goalkeeper, Szolnok:

“For many years, Olympiacos has been among the leading sides of the Champions League and last season won the trophy. And again, the Greek team proved to be a very strong team in European Super Cup final they played with Ferencvaros. We will not only have to play well, but with great will. We must work hard for this win.”

Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos:

“It’s a game between the Champions of 2018 and the Champions of 2017. Both teams need the win and the 3 points to keep up in the ranks. We want to try to win our first away game. To achieve that we have to be very focused and play strong in defence.”

Andro Buslje, player, Olympiacos:

“I hope that it will be a good game. If my team play as we did in the last game in Piraeus, we have a great chance to win! Although it will be difficult because Szolnok is a good team. I believe that we are very well prepared for this match. It would be wonderful to finish this year in the Champions League with an away victory against Szolnok!”


19.00 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Jug Dubrovnik (CRO)

Recent form:

Hannover: DDLL


Last match:

Hannover: 10-15 v Jadran (away)

Jug: 9-8 v BPM (home)

Karsten Seehafer, head coach, Hannover:

“Everyone knows that Jug Dubrovnik is a great player in water polo. We will not give the points easily, we will give them a hard time. The question is how fantastic we will play Wednesday and how well Jug will do this day.”

Predrag Jokic, player, Hannover:

“Jug is a great team, one of the favourites to win the Champions League. I expect a challenging game. But with a disciplined defence and an attacking game in our pool I believe we may achieve a good result.”

Julian Real, player, Hannover:

“Jug comes to Hannover as the favourite and top seeded team of our group. But after the disappointing game in Split we need revive our team. And there is nothing better than claiming points against the favourites. Viva WASPO98!

Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug:

“Hannover is playing much better than the rankings show. There is a hard match in front of us against a very tough opponent but I hope for a positive result and a good performance. That would be a great introduction to the final of the Croatian Cup.”

Maro Jokovic, player, Jug:

“As the only team with maximum points in our group we enter this game as favourites, but since they are playing at home, a tough match awaits us. We must not forget that the Olympiacos took just one point from Hannover and Sport Management won by only one goal. I think their two points do not give a real picture of the current state of their team.”


19.00 Spandau 04 (GER) v Jadran Split (CRO)

Recent form:

Spandau: LLLD

Jadran: LLLW

Last match:

Spandau: 9-9 v Szolnok (home)

Jadran: 15-10 v Hannover (home)

Petar Kovacevic, head coach, Spandau:

“It will be our last game in 2018 an we want to prove that our performance is on the rise. Jadran showed its strength by beating Waspo, so we have to expect a hard and tight game. However, we are still looking for our first win in the Champions League this season and it would be nice to finish the year with three points at home.”

Ivan Asic, head coach, Jadran:

“We have a good spell now, we won seven games in a row and that is what gives us confidence. Among those wins is one against Hannover in the Champions League, we showed to everyone that we have our place in this competition and that we can playa against the biggest clubs in Europe. We have Ivan Krapic back to our roster now after a long injury thus we will be even stronger.”

Ivan Krapic, player, Jadran:

“It is good to be back after months of sitting in the stands. I played now in the Croatian Cup and the Regional League and now I will finally play for Jadran in the Champions League too. Spandau is a strong team with good players such as Mateo Cuk and Nikola Dedovic with whom I have played before. Spandau is strong playing at home, they have managed to get a draw in the last round match against Szolnok, but we also beat Hannover and showed what we were capable of.”


20.30 HAVK Mladost Zagreb (CRO) v BPM Sport Management (ITA)

Recent form:

Mladost: DWWL


Last match:

Mladost: 8-13 v Olympiacos (away)

BPM: 8-9 v Jug (away)

Zoran Bajic, head coach, Mladost:

“We are aware how good they are and that they are one of the biggest surprises in our group. We are sure they are one of the teams that will be our close rival in the battle for the 4th place in our group. But for sure we will play the best game we can and I am looking forward to use the home advantage and claim three points.“

Ivan Buljubasic, player, Mladost:

“For the end of this calendar year we have a game against a team which is the biggest surprise in our group. Until now they lost only one game in Dubrovnik against Jug so for sure Sport Management is a very tough rival. With their clever defence, they can launch fast counter-attacks, but we are prepared for that. I am looking forward to see a full house and three more points for us.“

Cosmin Radu, player, Mladost:

“We are looking forward to this game. Three points are very important for us because with a win we will continue to fight for a place in the Final 8. Sport Management is a great team which is playing really good water polo so we have to be really careful of our tactics, our way of playing, but hopefully we will win in the end.“

Marco Baldineti, coach, BPM Sport Management:

“It’s not yet a decisive match because there are still many more to play till the end of this season, so we just have to face it like the others. We should do our best and play ‘our game’, and just see the result as a consequence. We are going to meet a very strong team, of the same level as Jug Dubrovnik, with Antonio Petkovic who is playing for Mladost this year and who left great memories behind here for our team. We hope we will be able to recover the best possible way from all the battles we had recently and play with our full potential.”

Luca Damonte, player, BPM Sport Management:

“Like any other game in the Champions League, this one will be a very tough match and even more because it’s an away game. But this year we want to improve our game and challenge every team we meet, so we go to Zagreb – as already we’ve already done in in Recco, Hannover and Dubrovnik – to try to make a positive result despite of the strength of our opponent.”