Olympiacos won the Champions League title once in its history: it happened in this pool in 2002 (that time in Final Four format). Jug won three times, but this could be the first occasion they would clinch the trophy outside Dubrovnik as all previous wins came at their home.
When Olympiacos won the Champions League here 14 years ago, they beat Jug 8-5 in the semis and host Honved (HUN) 9-7 in the final (that time it was Final Four).
The two sides met in the 2001 final in Dubrovnik, Jug won 8-7 after extra-time.
Previous clashes in recent years in the prelims – 2014: Jug won 11-9 in Dubrovnik, in Piraeus they tied 9-9. The same happened in 2007: 10-9 in Dubrovnik, 13-13 in Piraeus. In 2006 Jug won both matches in the prelims, 13-10, 14-7.
Jug won the Champions League 3 times (1981, 2001, 2006), were runners-up also 3 times (2007, 2008, 2013) and reached the Final Four/Six 9 times altogether, since they first made it in 2001. Between 2005 and 2010 they were part of the show in 6 straight occasions.
Jug won the LEN Trophy once, in 2000.
Jug returned to the top in the Croatian league after two years. Between 2000 and 2013 they won the national championship 11 times, in 2014 and 2015 Primorje Rijeka came first but this May saw Jug sweeping their Adriatic arch-rival 3-0 in the final.
They won the Croatian/Yugoslavian championships 33 times altogether.
Olympiacos had two more appearances in the Champions League Final Four, in 2001 they lost the final to Jug, in 2007 they finished 4th after two narrow losses, 9-10 to Recco in the semis, and 13-15 to Partizan (in extra-time). So they return to the big stage after 9 years.
Olympiacos is the only unbeaten team in Europe in this season. They won all their matches in Greece, both in the championship and in the cup and had 7 wins and 3 draws in the Champions League. The three ties came in Eger (8-8, the Greeks equalised with 00:10 to go), in Barcelona (7-7, equalising 00:03 to go) and in Berlin (11-11, they led 7-11 after three periods but lost the last period 4-0 to host Spandau).
Olympiacos won the Greek league for the 30th time in its history.
Both coaches led their respective teams in a Champions League final for the first time. Jug’s boss, Vjekoslav Kobescak played frequently among the best as member of Mladost Zagreb (CRO). He won the title in 1996, and was runner-up in 1997 and 2000 (that time in the Final Four). Olympiacos’s coach, Theodoros Vlachos was here in Budapest 2002 as the assistant coach of the team (beside Hungarian Zoltan Kasas who led the Greeks to their first win).
Olympiacos is equal with the Greek national team, 9 of the 10 Greek players were members of the bronze medal winning side at the World Championships in Kazan (only Ntoskas wasn’t). Their game is boosted by American international Jesse Smith, Spain’s Blai Mallarach and last but not least Croatian Olympic champion goalie Josip Pavic.
Four players (Bijac, Jokovic, Loncar, Obradovic) were member of Croatia’s silver medal winning team at the Kazan Worlds. Spain’s Javier Garcia and Brazil’s Felipe Perrone – former Spanish and Barceloneta player – are also key members of Jug’s team.
A special flavour added to this match: at the Kazan Worlds the Croats beat the Greeks in the semi-final, in a penalty shootout (10-10, 5-3).
It’s an interesting test of the Croatian national team’s goalkeepers: first pick Josip Pavic plays for Olympiacos while the reserve goalie, Marko Bijac minds the net for Jug.
Jug’s Felipe Perrone is the second best scorer in the Champions League with 27 goals, he had 22 in the prelims and netted 5 in the previous two matches in the F6 (4 against Recco). He trails by 3 goals to Denes Varga who tops the ranks with 30 goals now.
Giannis Fountoulis is the leading scorer for Olympiacos with 22 goals (he didn’t score against Szolnok in the semis).