Fifteen teams landed in the preliminaries of the Challenger Cup – LEN’s new club competition is set to begin on Friday and over three days the quarter-finalists shall be determined.
To ensure more playing opportunity as well as a more balanced playing field, LEN created this new competition for the lower ranked clubs which tried their luck in the opening qualifying rounds of the Champions League or the Euro Cup but couldn’t make the cut. In the previous years, these teams had one appearance and their European season was over by mid-October – now they can play three more matches (two in one of the groups) where they face rivals of the same quality.
What’s more, heading to the prelims, all fifteen teams may even dream of European glory (and history is in the making as none of the teams have ever got close to claim any silverware at the international stage).
Based on the nations’ usual performances, perhaps the two Spanish and two Greek sides stand out, however, they are definitely not the strongest teams in their country while the other clubs are either the reigning champions or finished runners-up in their respective domestic leagues which gives some special flavour to this competition.
The top two sides from each group shall qualify for the quarter-finals, where group-winners will be drawn against the second seeded teams.
For livescoring, stats and free streaming visit https://www.len.eu/disciplines/water-polo/challenger-cup/
Challenger Cup, preliminaries
Group A (Novaky)
KVP Novaky (SVK), Galatasary Istanbul (TUR), Ydraikos NC (GRE), Tenerife Echeyde (ESP)
Group B (Terrassa)
CN Terrassa (ESP), Het Ravijn (NED), ASA Tel-Aviv (ISR)
Group C (Sarajevo)
Invictum Sarajevo (BIH), Banja Luka (BIH), Enka Istanbul (TUR), SKP Kosice (SVK)
Group D (Kranj)
AVK Triglav Kranj (SLO), KVIK Kastrup (DEN), Apollon Smyrnis (GRE), SC Ludwigsburg 08 (GER)