Draws for Group Stage in three cup competitions

Image courtesy of Barbara Palágyi

The respective draws for the Group Stage in the Champions League Women and in both Euro Cup editions takes place on Tuesday from 11.00 CET in Barcelona.

The reshaped competitions are reaching another exciting phase, the Group Stage, held for the first time in all three competitions. Before, only the men’s Champions League had this format where teams played round robin tournaments on a home-and-away basis. Through this, qualifying clubs had a lot more opportunity to promote the sport by playing at least three highlighted international matches at home.

The Champions League Women will have four batches, while there are two in the Euro Cup in both genders – there is one restriction in common: teams having played each other in the qualification round, cannot be drawn together in the Group Stage.

Champions League Women

Batch 1: CN Astralpool Sabadell (ESP), Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE), Orizzonte Catania (ITA), Tigra-ZF-Eger (HUN)

Batch 2: UVSE Budapest (HUN), Mulhouse WP (FRA), Assolim CN Mataro (ESP), Sant Andreu (ESP)

Batch 3: Alimos NAC Betsson (GRE), Ethnikos Piraeus (GRE), Vouliagmeni (GRE), SIS Roma (ITA)

Batch 4: FTC-Telekom (HUN), CN Mediterrani (ESP), CN Terrassa (ESP), Dunaujvaros (HUN)

The landscape before the Group Stage draw somewhat mirrors what we witnessed recent years. Spain – the reigning European champion and world silver medallist – achieved the maximum as all five clubs reached the upcoming round and three of those are in the top two batches. Sabadell and Mataro, the two finalists from last season, are favourites again to go all the way.

Hungary and Greece have four teams apiece, including UVSE and Ferencvaros which played the Euro Cup final in April. Italy ‘lost’ two teams en route so they are represented by their two powerhouses, Orizzonte and Roma, while France could not even send a team to the top sixteen, but Mulhouse managed to finish atop.

Since the calendar is super-busy, only the group winners will advance, right away to the Final Four, scheduled for 21-24 April 2024.

Euro Cup Women

Batch 1: ANC Glyfada iRepair (GRE), Pallaunoto Trieste (ITA), BVSC-Zuglo (HUN), Lille UC (FRA)

Batch 2: Spandau 04 Berlin (GER), Antenore Plebiscito Padova (ITA), ZV De Zaan (NED), Grand Nancy (FRA)

The eight teams eliminated in the Champions League qualifications are awaiting the draw of the Euro Cup group stage – two clubs from Italy and from France, and one from Hungary, Greece, the Netherlands and Germany. The first batch features the 4th placed sides and the second one those having come last – groups will be formed by two teams drawn from both batches.

Teams finishing in the top two positions will play in the Final Four on 13-14 April 2024.

Image courtesy of Krsto Vulović

Euro Cup Men

Batch 1: Primorje Erste Bank (CRO), VK Sabac Elixir (SRB), A-HID Vasas Plaket (HUN), Pallanuoto Trieste (ITA), Endo Plus Service-Honved (HUN), Telimar Palermo (ITA), CN Barcelona (ESP), VPK Primorac Kotor (MNE)

Batch 2: CC Ortigia (ITA), BVSC-Zuglo (HUN), EN Tourcoing (FRA), VK Solaris (CRO), Panionios GSS (GRE), Rari Nantes Savona (ITA), GS Apollon Smyrnis (GRE), Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)

Italy and Hungary almost make up half of the field – Italy has four teams, Hungary has three –, while the rest comes from seven nations: Croatia and Spain have two clubs apiece, and one team represents Serbia, Greece, Montenegro, France and Germany.

A couple of teams can rely on Champions League experience from recent editions, like Ortigia and Hannover, last year’s finalists, Vasas and Savona are also part of the show and the winner of the first edition of the LEN Challenger Cup Apollon Smyrnis can also go for something bigger this season.

Two group winners and two runners-up shall be drawn in into one group – the top two ranked sides shall advance to the eight-finals.

Draws can be watched here