Unbeaten Recco and FTC eye crucial away wins

Photo: ftc_waterpolo / European Aquatics

The third day of the Champions League Men Quarter Final Stage brings two big matches between the respective group winners of the Group Stage. Novi Beograd and Pro Recco contested the last two finals, now the two giants face-off in a crucial clash where the winner will gain pole position in the race for the Final Four. Elsewhere, Ferencvaros already hold a three-point advantage in Group B, and a win away in Barcelona would almost surely send them to the F4, while the hosts want to bounce back after their loss in Piraeus on day two.

Champions League Men Quarter Final Stage
Fixtures, Day Three (CET times shown)

Group A (Tuesday)
19.00 VK Jadran Split (CRO) v CN Marseille (FRA)
19.45 VK Novi Beograd (SRB) v Pro Recco (ITA)
Standings: 1. Recco 6, 2. Novi Beograd 6, 3. Jadran 0, 4. Marseille 0

Group B (Wednesday)
19.30 Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v FTC Telekom Budapest (HUN)
20.00 AN Brescia (ITA) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
Standings: 1. FTC 6, 2. Olympiacos 3, 3. Barceloneta 3, 4. Brescia 0

Photo: Miodrag Todorovic / European Aquatics

The common history of Novi Beograd and Pro Recco is brief – two title-bouts at the end of the last two seasons. Both were played in Belgrade, with Recco coming out on top in 2022 and 2023.

The first was a thriller, decided by a shootout, the last one was a lopsided contest – and the performances so far favour Recco for this upcoming clash, though this will also take place in the good old 11 April pool, the home of NBG.

Since both sides opened their respective Quarter Final Stage campaigns with back-to-back victories, the winner of this contest may start checking the flights to Malta where the Final Four shall take place in June.

At the same time, the loser of the other match in Group B would see their hopes of making the F4 almost end as Jadran and Marseille left the pools empty-handed after the first two days.

Photo: @OlympiacosSFP/ www.eurokinissi.gr / European Aquatics

The picture is more complicated in Group B where Olympiacos managed to beat Barceloneta two weeks ago, and another victory for the Greeks, this time in Brescia, would be a big boost to their Road to Malta project.

Also, this looks like the very last chance for Brescia to stay in the hunt.

History is not on the Italians’ side, though, as they have only beaten the Greeks once in eight encounters in recent years.

In the big match this week, Barceloneta are looking to bounce back after their first Champions League defeat this season.

However, it won’t be easy, even at home, as they face Ferencvaros, the only other team besides Recco which are yet to lose a match in any competition since August.

And an away win would offer the Hungarian champions an unmissable chance to reach the Final Four, for sure.

Photo: ftc_waterpolo / European Aquatics

Pre-game stats

Group A

VK Jadran Split (CRO) v CN Marseille (FRA)
Quarter Final Stage results:
JAD: 11-15 NBG (a), 10-13 Recco (h)
MAR: 8-15 Recco (a), 13-14 NBG (h)
Head-to-head:
Never met in CL

VK Novi Beograd (SRB) v Pro Recco (ITA)
Quarter Final Stage results:
NBG: 15-11 Jadran (h), 14-13 Marseille (a)
REC: 15-8 Marseille (h), 13-10 Jadran (a)
Head-to-head: 0-2
2021-22: 13-13, pen: 3-4 (final), 2022-23: 11-14 (final)

Group B

Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v FTC Telekom Budapest (HUN)
Quarter Final Stage results:
BAR: 12-8 Brescia (h), Olympiacos 7-10 (a)
FTC: 11-9 Olympiacos (h), 11-9 Brescia (a)
Head-to-head: 3-3 (1d)
2021-22: 17-7, 12-12. 2020-21: 7-8, 10-11. 2018-19: 8-5, 9-8 (prelims), 7-9 (SF).

AN Brescia (ITA) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
Quarter Final Stage results:
BRE: 8-12 Barceloneta (a), 9-11 FTC (h)
OLY: 9-11 FTC (a), 10-7 v Barceloneta (h)
Head-to-head: 1-6 (1d)
2018-19: 7-8 (QF). 2017-18: 6-7, 6-13. 2016-17: 13-10, 4-8 (prelims), 5-8 (5-6th). 2014-15: 9-9, 6-8

Follow all the Champions League Men’s Water Polo Quarter Final Stage action and results live on the dedicated European Aquatics Champions League website.

Photo: ftc_waterpolo / European Aquatics