The toughest weekend of the year
Though it’s still mid-January, the toughest weekend is in sight for Europe’s top sixteen women teams: they are all facing three pretty tough matches in as many days in order to reach the quarter-finals.
Though the climax of the season in the women’s club competition is definitely the Final Four tournament (also in the LEN Trophy, staged for the losers of the quarter-finals), the coming weekend will be one the most highlighted stage of the competition. While the field will be halved by Sunday, fans in four cities shall enjoy the very best of women water polo as almost each side can have a shot at the top two spots which would send them to the quarters.
Three top clubs from Hungary, Spain and Italy respectively, two from Russia, the Netherlands and Greece and one from France – all the big nations are aboard and teams will line up the crème de la crème of female water polo players. In poker it’s called ‘all in’ – but here this is going to be applied for three days of action in four groups.
It’s a tough call to envision the best eight coming through, even title-holder CN Sabadell cannot take anything for granted despite playing at home. Its opponents, Ugra (RUS), BVSC (HUN) and Vouliagmeni (GRE) might cause some head-aches for the Spanish super-squad. Last year’s runner-up UVSE (HUN) should take on two Italians, Padova and Messina and the top Dutch club Leiden, a pretty tough challenge for anyone.
Olympiacos, winner in 2015, will clash with Dunaujvaros (HUN) and Utrecht (NED) for making the cut, here Lille (FRA) is the underdog. Last year’s LEN Trophy winner, CN Mataro (ESP) will face fellow Spanish side Sant Andreu, F4 bronze medallist Kinef (RUS) and Italy’s Bogliasco, another group which promise thrilling encounters.
Euro League, Preliminary Round
Group B: Mataro (ESP)
Kinef Kirishi (RUS), Sant Andreu Barcelona (ESP), CN Mataro (ESP), RN Bogliasco (ITA)
Group C: Piraeus (GRE)
Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE), Dunaujvaros (HUN), UZSC Utrecht (NED), Lille UC (FRA)
Group D: Messina (ITA)
UVSE Budapest (HUN), Plebiscito Padova (ITA), Bam Leiden (NED), Despar Messina (ITA)
The top two teams from each group qualify to the quarter-finals.
Euro League dedicated section with all the news posted so far HERE
Dates and rounds of 2016-2017 Water Polo Euro League here the document in pdf format
Group B: Mataro (ESP)