Champions League, Prelims, Day 6 Preview
Is it revenge time ?
Real re-matches are in sight this Wednesday as only a week passed since the respective sides met in the same fixtures. Home teams ruled the field that time (5 in 6 matches saw the hosts winning) and most of them are also favourites now but playing away might bring a series of upsets.
19.00 Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
Apart from a short spell when Jadran came back from 4-0 down to 5-4, Olympiacos didnt have too much headaches a week ago (10-4) and something similar is expected. Though the Montenegrins are much more dangerous at home so the Greeks have to be on the top of their game in order to avoid any upsets in this extremely balanced group.
Vladimir Gojkovic, head coach, Jadran
Olympiacos is one of the best European teams. It is consisted of 11 Greek national team players plus excellent individuals as Jesse Smith from the USA and goalkeeper Josip Pavic from Croatia. For sure, Olympiacos is the favourite in this game. As you know, one of our best players, Nikola Janovic finishes his water polo career not only for the national team but also for the club and it is a problem for us to play two such strong matches within days. We hope we will have a better match than the one in Athens and achieve a favourable result.
Zeljko Kovacic, captain, Jadran
The game in Athens was very difficult for us. Our team missed two players, Nikola Janovic and Vlado Popoadic because of injury. We miss players in succession. Still, it is an excellent experience for our team to play with strong sides as Olympiacos and we will give our best to achieve a better result at home than we had in Athens.
Theodoros Vlachos, head coach, Olympiacos
The away game against Jadran is the key to our European success. We are mentally and physically prepared to face any difficulty in a traditionally tough place. We know how important is this victory in Montenegro and we do have in mind that in every away game we should exaggerate ourselves to get what we want.
Giannis Fountoulis, player, Olympiacos
We are going to play a very important game on Wednesday against a strong team. It is a very important match because an eventual victory will keep us in the first place and will bring us closer to our goal of qualifying for the Final Six. We must absolutely respect our opponent and give our best for this game. The key is to be focused throughout the entire match if we want to get the victory. We believe in our abilities and our team and we are optimistic that we will succeed.
19.15 CN Barceloneta (ESP) v Primorje Erste Banka Rijeka (CRO)
Last week these two sides delivered the usual draw in this group (9-9, Barceloneta came back from 9-7 down in the last two minutes) and another tie wouldnt be surprising. Since only two spots on offer in Group A (Eger qualified automatically as F6 host) the outcome of this match is crucial a win would mean a huge advantage to either of the teams.
Chus Martin, head coach, Barceloneta
After tying the game in Rijeka, we face another tough match now. We must achieve a victory in order to have more chances to qualify for the Final Six. We are among the four teams going for the first place in the group and all four teams are on an equal level. In fact, 7 out of 15 matches played so far in this group ended in a draw.
19.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v ZF-Eger (HUN)
After three straight draws Spandau couldnt come up with another wonder performance in Eger, the Hungarian side simply downed them (10-7, but it was 10-5 early in the fourth). However, the Magyars are aware that Spandau achieved its great results against Primorje and Olympiacos in Berlin so they are trying to forget how convincing their win was last Wednesday.
Peter Rohle, team manager, Spandau
If we are able to focus on our strength we should have a chance to beat Eger at home. Having some unexpected results in this year we believe that it is possible to gain our first win at least to keep the minor chance of reaching the final six alive.
Peter Biros, captain, ZF-Eger
We won our last game against Spandau easily, but this one in Berlin will be a hard test, we need to fight to be successful here. That is why these games are dangerous. First we have to defeat ourselves and believe that it wont be an easy game. If we defeat ourselves, beating Spandau is going to be easier I think.
Gergo Zalanki, player, ZF-Eger
It is painful, that I didn’t play well last week. I want to demonstrate my abilities now. I’m sure we have better players in all position than Spandau, so the result should not be questioned. We need to concentrate on this game, we don’t like to be surprised, as it happened to Rijeka or Olympiacos here, since this German team is able to make upsets.
Balint Lorincz, player ZF-Eger
We won easily in Eger. But the good results of Spandau are not only random successes. At home they are more successful. We respect our opponent, but we are a better team. Our goals are the same, we don’t want to participate in the Final Six as only the hosts. We want to win our group, so we have to win in Berlin.
1. Olympiacos 9, 2. Barceloneta 8, 3. Eger 8, 4. Primorje 8, 5. Spandau 3, 6. Jadran 2
18.00 Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB) v Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)
Jug demolished the young Serbian team in Dubrovnik (12-4) last Wednesday. A missed penalty at the beginning put the visitors to a downward spiral pretty soon but playing in front of their enthusiastic fans this encounter might be a different one this time. Still, the different quality of the two line-ups favours the Croats.
Vladimir Vujasinovic , head coach, Partizan
This is our last chance to catch up with the three favourites , Szolnok, Recco and Jug, and then to fight until the last round to enter the F6. Hopefully we will show excellent play and if our opponent has a bad day well that could be a way to win this game.
Vjekoslav Kobescak, head coach, Jug
Our first game in Banjica earlier this season in the Regional league was tough. They led in the first part of the match and we didn’t played that well as we did last week at home. I expect a hard game again but I hope we will keep the level weve had recently.
Pavo Markovic, player, Jug
It’s always hard to play in Banjica, the proof is our last game against Partizan there. We must be motivated and I believe in our victory.
20.00 Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR) v A Hid-OSC Budapest (HUN)
The Hungarian leagues runner-up won with surprising ease against the Turks (13-4). The key of their win was limiting Galatas Serbian-Montenegrin mix to a single goal which might be hard to repeat, especially in Istanbul. Still, the Hungarians take nothing granted and arrived to Turkey on Monday already to be ready for the big contest: a win might save a slight chance for them to remain in the hunt for the Final Six.
Osman Selim Gulenc, captain, Galatasaray
Tomorrows game is really important for us. Last week we had some concentration problems, but this time we will give our best to make it up. It will be a tough contest but we know that we can handle it.
Berk Biyik, player, Galatasaray
Tomorrow there is only one result is acceptable for us. We are all thinking about that. We have to use our home ground as an advantage to win.
Igor Milanovic, head coach, Galatasaray
We are learning to play in Europe. We only need to think about improving our skills. We will give our best to have a good result but at the end it is important to show ourselves that we can do everything.
Balazs Vincze, head coach, OSC
Playing the two games within a week means that the memories from the first match are still with the players and the coaches. We can think of turning this match to an easy one, just as it happened last time they can think of avoiding of being defeated the same way. And this can result a really tough battle and this is exactly what I expect. Our target didnt change: to bring the best out of the existing differences between the two sides by playing aggressively and applying the game plan with the utmost discipline, just as we did on last Wednesday.
20.00 Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN) v Pro Recco (ITA)
Last week they produced an extraordinary clash which saw the title-holder Italian side coming back from 0-5 down in the first period. It was a tremendous demonstration of power and also a fantastic promotion of quality water polo (14-11). With 13 medal winning players from Belgrade showing up in the pool again involving seven European champion Serbians (3 and 4) a similar show is expected in the marvellous Szolnok Water Polo Arena, where a sell-out crowd awaits these two outstanding clubs.
Sándor Cseh, head coach, Szolnok
We are looking forward to this game against the title-holders. There is no pressure on us since we are going to play against an excellent team. Weve been preparing not only for this encounter but for the important games in the national league.
Zivko Gocic, captain, Szolnok
It will be a great encounter. We are meeting an outstanding team. The two sides know each other, we must learn from the last game. We must play more aggressively and with more precision than we did on last Wednesday.
1. Recco 15, 2. Jug 12, 3. Szolnok 9, 4. Partizan 6, 5. OSC 3, 6. Galatasaray 0