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2017 Champions L. 2017 LEN Events News Water Polo

Champions League Final 6, Budapest 2017 (HUN) Preview, 2nd Quarter-final

20.30 ZF Eger (HUN) v AN Brescia (ITA)

  • Eger plays in the final stage of the Champions League for the third time in succession, the Hungarians had 7 unsuccessful attempts before making the finals in 2015 for the first time.
  • Eger failed to win any of its quarter-finals in the previous two seasons, they faced Jug (CRO) on both occasions and lost 8-10 and 6-8. Eger finished 5th in 2015 and 6th in 2016. Though this season they managed to took the second place in their group (in the previous two years they came third).
  • Brescia returns to the Final Six after 2014, this is their second appearance ever. Two years ago, in Barcelona, they lost to host Barceloneta 4-6 in the QF, then beat Recco 10-9 for the 5th place.
  • Brescia won the Euro Cup in last season. This was their 4th win in that series, a record till date (previous triumphs: 2002, 2003, 2006). Eger has no silverware from European waters.
  • Both teams started in the qualifications but reached the prelims without worries, though Eger lost one match in the second phase to Verona but whitewashed Primorje (CRO) in the third round with big wins home and away. After an unbeaten run in the second round, Brescia took revenge on Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) in the third (14-5, 8-11) – a year earlier the Montenegrins ousted them in the same round.
  • In the prelims Eger produced a 6-0-4 scoreline, lost to Recco home and away, lost to Jug in Dubrovnik and to Barceloneta in Barcelona. Brescia came up with 5-2-3, losing to Szolnok on both occasions and to Olympiacos in Piraeus and tied with OSC (HUN) in both clashes. Through these draws and winning against Olympiacos in the last round at home, Brescia prevented the third Hungarian team, OSC from reaching the F6 (it was a kind of revenge as OSC ousted the third Italian participant, Verona in the last round of the qualifications).
  • Eger qualified to the F6 with a negative goal-difference (78-84) – since the current preliminary system started (in the 2013-14 season) it happens for the second time. Barceloneta arrived to the F6 with a negative balance in 2015, benefitting from the rule favouring the host of the event (the Spaniards came 4th but held a secured berth). Never ever a second-rank team had negative goal-difference – in fact, Eger earned four single-goal wins in the prelims while had multiple-goal losses.
  • In the prelims, Eger conceded the most goals among the F6 participants (84) and scored the fewest goals (78). Brescia scored 91, 4th on the scoring ranks and conceded 78, also 4th in overall.
  • This is a clash of national runners-up: both teams lost the respective domestic finals this season. Eger was beaten by Szolnok (0-3 in the series) while Brescia was downed by Recco (F4 format, 6-13 in the final).
  • Their only clashes in the CHL date back to the 2014-15 season when Eger beat Brescia in the prelims away (3-7) then at home (10-5).
  • Eger has won the national title 3 times (2011, 2013, 2014), while Brescia has one gold from 2003.
  • Contrary to the other quarter-final match, where fellow Croats face each other, here Serbian players clash: Eger has Branislav Mitrovic, Milos Cuk and Boris Vapenski in its squad while Brescia lines up Sava Randelovic and Nemanja Ubovic (Mitrovic, Cuk and Randelovic played in Serbia’s Olympic champion side in Rio).
  • As for further foreign players, there are Montenegrins on both sides, Uros Cuckovic in Eger and Vjekoslav Paskovic in Brescia, both won European silver in 2016 and were part of the MNE team finishing 4th in Rio. Brescia also fields a Croat, Petar Muslim (Olympic champion in London 2012).
  • Both sides can rely on fine national team players as well: Eger has four who played in Rio, Adam Decker, Balazs Erdelyi, Balazs Harai and Norbert Hosnyanszky (the latter one is Olympic champion in 2008) – while Brescia have three Rio bronze medallists: goalkeeper Marco Del Luongo and the Presciutti brothers, Nicholas and Christian.
  • Among the coaches of this year’s Final Six, Brescia’s Alessandro Bovo can look back on the most successful playing career as he was part of Italy’s brilliant team which made the Grand Slam by winning the Olympic gold (1992), the World Championships (1994), the Europeans (1993, 1995) and the World Cup (1993). He had two LEN Trophies (now Euro Cup) as a player, with Pescara (1996) and Savona (2004) and amassed 5 national titles.

• Eger’s head coach Norbert Dabrowski, as a player, won a series of national titles with the team of BVSC (between 1996 and 1999) and was part of the Champions League Final Four action as a player once, in 2000. He was the assistant coach of Tibor Benedek when Hungary won the World Championships in 2013.