Champions League, Main Round, Day 4 PRE-GAME QUOTES

Group A – Tuesday 

19.00 Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v AN Brescia (ITA) 

Dejan Stanojevic, coach, Dinamo 

“As I said after the game in the last round of the Champions League, I hope that we have learned a  lesson and that we will understand and learn from the mistakes we made in the previous game.  Discipline in the game is the basic, it’s the starting point without serious water polo cannot be played.  We had no discipline and the punishment was painful. Every opponent in our group is of top quality and  these teams and players punish each of your mistake. Our task is to reduce the number of mistakes to  the minimum and to show that we have learned the lesson from the last round. We face another top team  with top players and with a top coach. We have to play with maximum discipline and team play and  fighting spirit, strong rhythm and a lot of swimming. This is a good opportunity to see if we have  improved compared to the last game we played ten days ago.” 

Dusan Vasic, player, Dinamo 

“We are completely unsatisfied with our last performance. Too many individual mistakes, low level of  discipline and of course the quality of Barceloneta made a huge difference at the end, and that is  definitely not the way how we should play, especially in front of our fans.  

Positive thing in sport is that tomorrow you have another chance to prove yourself, and we have that  opportunity against Brescia which is by quality, aggressivity and swimming performance is at the same  level with Barceloneta. We are working hard every day, and we are motivated to show to ourselves that  we can play with best teams in the world.” 

Alessandro Bovo, coach, Brescia 

“This will be the last match without Constantin-Bicari. I’m very happy about the last performances of  the team and we can only grow. We don’t have to think about our last result but be concentrated on the  next game. It is always difficult to play away in Champions League and we know that this will be a  tough game, but we want to win.” 

Niccolo Gitto, player, Brescia 

“Dinamo Tbilisi is an organised team while this is our third journey in a week. It will not be easy, but  this match will also prepare us for Recco on next Saturday. We are playing well and we want three  points more to stay in the top positions.” 

19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) 

Mile Smodlaka, coach, Jadran: 

“It is hard to play like this, five games in three days, but it is the same for Radnicki, we were in the  same group. We saw what we have to do, my team is growing in confidence and I think we have a good  shot of winning against Radnicki. They are a solid team, Regional League champions, but we are much  stronger than last year and we are playing at home.”

Andelo Setka, captain, Jadran: 

“We had an extra hard Regional League tournament behind us. We played five matches in three days  and one needs to be in good shape to do it. In the end we did well and ended in first place in a group  played in Split. We won four matches and had a 14-14 draw against Radnicki. It was a good preview of  what we need to do in the Champions League. We knew from the beginning they were a good team, we  were 14:13 up until 8 seconds to go. They managed to score, but for us to win we need to play more  aggressive in defence, to block a couple of shots more.” 

Uros Stevanovic, coach, Radnicki 

„Jadran is a top team, one of the best in the Regional League. They are a good mix of former and  current members of the Croatian national team. Surely they want to claim three points and stay in the  race for the Final 8, but we hope that we will continue to raise the level of form and achieve a positive  outcome. Behind both teams is a hard tournament of the Regional League and it is certain that the team  that is better prepared physically will play better in this match.” 

Aleksa Ukropina, player, Radnicki 

„We showed that we could deal with Jadran, and even beat them, which is the goal in this game. We  play well in attack, but we have to improve in defence a bit more and if we succeed in that, we can beat  them. Jadran is a very aggressive team, almost all the guys are from Split, so they fit in well. Both teams  are in good form, so I expect another good match.” 

19.15 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) 

Theodoros Vlachos, coach, Olympiacos: 

“Another great game with another great opponent, Barceloneta, this time in our home. We do not rely  on what we have done in the previous games of the group or to what will follow. The importance of  winning is great and we want to fight with confidence and passion in front of our fans, to get one step  closer to qualifying for the Final8 in Belgrade.” 

Dinos Genidounias, player, Olympiacos: 

“In my opinion, it is the most important match we are to play so far. We have had three positive results  until now, but those mean nothing if we do not win on Tuesday against Barceloneta. It is our obligation  to win at home, in Papastratio. And we have to do it, if we want to be at the top of the group. As it’s  well-known, we are struggling with missing Radovic and Kolomvos, but we have found ways to cover  their absence. Barceloneta is a very competitive team, it also misses players and, as I said before, we  have to defend our home and win, in order to continue the positive streak and get where we want.” 

Elvis Fatovic, coach, Barceloneta 

“The Greek level of water polo has advanced a lot, they won silver in Tokyo. Many players with  Olympic medals are in this team and this will definitely be a big challenge for us. They achieved  excellent results against their rivals in this competition. We expect a very tense match.”

Unai Aguirre, goalie, Barceloneta 

“As we all know, Olympiacos is a club with a rich history. This year they have one of the best teams in  the Champions League. It’s going to be a very tough game for us as we play away from home and  against an opponent with great players. But if we manage to win it would be a big step forward in  qualifying for F8 as I don’t think many teams will earn points in that pool.” 

Alejandro Bustos, player, Barceloneta 

“Our match against Olympiacos will be really difficult. They created a team to win the title. We are  going to Athens to play our game, to be as aggressive in defence as in attack. This is a sport so from the  first to the last minute a lot can happen, we are going there with a lot of desire to come home with three  points.” 

20.30 FTC-Telekom (HUN) v Novi Beograd (SRB) 

Zsolt Varga, coach, FTC 

“We had a run of highly entertaining games against quality rivals recently, both at home and in the  Champions League. Now another huge match awaits us, maybe the biggest one so far… Novi Beograd’s  aces, Nikola Jaksic, Dusan Mandic and Dusko Pijetlovic are world-class players, and among the very  best in their respective positions. However, the atmosphere was brilliant at the Komjadi Pool when we  hosted Olympiacos two weeks ago, and it should be the same this time around, so I expect a really good  game!” 

Daniil Merkulov, player, FTC 

“This is a very difficult fixture because Nove Beograd might be a relatively new team on the block but  they’re structured around great players. We have to prepare for this game thoroughly. Everything  depends on our defence, that’s the most important part of water polo nowadays. We’re capable of a win  here, though, because we hit good form in recent weeks, and will have fantastic home support again!” 

Vladimir Vujasinovic, coach, Novi Beograd 

“The last couple of days we had a very intense tournament with some of the best clubs in our region.  We played 6 games in only 5 days. Because of that, we really don’t know how much more strength we  have at this moment. Our next opponent is one of the best clubs in Europe in the last three-four years.  We are hoping that we will be able to play a good game, and we will try to win again.” 

Nikola Jaksic, player, Novi Beograd 

“We are playing against a very quality team. In the first three rounds they got only three points, but they  didn’t lose a game. They are in a difficult situation, so this game will be very important for them. We  are expecting a very tough match. But we have our goal and we will do our best to achieve it. If we have  a chance to play in our rhythm from the beginning I suppose that we will win in the end.”

Group B – Wednesday 

19.00 OSC Budapest (HUN) v CN Marseille (FRA) 

Daniel Varga, coach, OSC 

“Marseille shows one of the best performances in the Champions League this season. They have a good  mix of French and foreign players. It is not easy to find their weakest point, but I have some theory  about it… We still have a lot of game without any rest, so my players need to keep the focus on their  mind, soul, and body. We have chance to win, but this match will be very tough.” 

Gergely Burian, player, OSC 

“I am expecting a very tough match, Marseille is strong team they proved that with their victory in  Dubrovnik. Last time it was a draw, now that we play in our home we would like to improve the  outcome. It won’t be easy but if we concentrate enough we can win, that’s what we are preparing for.” 

Milos Scepanovic, coach, Marseille  

“After two away victories, we hope to continue this way. We are confident but we work every day for  these performances. OSC Budapest is very strong team and it will be challenge to impose our tactic.  Nothing is impossible. It will be hard but we believe ourselves and we want the three points.” 

Alexandre Bouet, player, Marseille  

“I think we have a good dynamic after the victories in Dubrovnik and Bucharest. This match is very important because OSC is a direct rival. Winning this match would allow us to  consolidate our place in the top 4 of the group.” 

20.00 Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) 

Bogdan Mate, team manager, Steaua 

“The game against Jug Dubrovnik will be, for sure, a very hard but nice one to watch. We elevated our  performance with every leg we played. This, added to our need of proving ourselves, is a very important  part our game. Facing Jug is never a simple task, we’ve already done that in the past so know their  background in this sport, their strong will to win and their abilities but we’ll do our best to win this  game.” 

Vjekoslav Kobescak, coach, Jug 

“We had very tough week behind us, too many games in few days in the Regional League. Also, still  have health problems in the team and I just hope we will have 13 players for Wednesday. Anyway, our  goal is three points.” 

Filip Krzic, player, Jug 

“We are tired after playing six games in four days and we still don’t have our captain to help us. We  have a lot of respect for the Steaua team but I think we are better than them no matter what and we are  going to win.”

20.15 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) 

Nikola Radjen, player, Zvezda 

„This is a very important game for us, unfortunately, we will play weakened without two important  players, but we will do our best to win!” 

Karsten Seehafer, coach, Hannover 

„This is a new situation, but we have the same goal: to earn points. If we are able to realise this away, it  will be very good.” 

Predrag Jokic, assistant coach, Hannover 

“I expect an exciting game against an opponent who has good players in every position. A good and  focused game of defence is key.” 

Aleksander Radovic, player, Hannover 

“It’s a very bad situation for us that we now have to travel to Belgrade, as it is a very important game  for us. In addition, we have already planned our schedule. LEN must be responsible for ensuring that all  teams in CL are vaccinated or that the trips are allowed. In any case, our goal is to secure a victory in  Belgrade.” 

Moritz Schenkel, goalie, Hannover 

“The request to play the next Champions League game in Belgrade rather than at home came as a  surprise for the whole team. We should decide according to the current state regulations as it is foreseen  in the LEN regulations. However, we were very excited to play against Belgrade and especially after the  draw (12:12) against OSC we are highly motivated to show everyone that we are fighting to become a  part of the Final 8 next year!” 

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) 

Sandro Sukno, coach, Pro Recco 

“It will be an important game to understand where we have arrived, how much we have grown  compared to the beginning of the season. I expect confirmation from my team. Every Champions  League match must be played with the utmost focus, we will try to start strong to command the game  immediately.” 

Maurice Juengling, player, Spandau 

“Playing in Genoa is always a great thing. Pro Recco is the current Champions League winner and is  one of the top addresses in water polo. We have to work hard and compared to the last game we have to  defend better as a team and make it as hard as possible for Recco to score against us. If we keep the  game close and take our chances in offense, we also have a chance to win the game.” 

Petar Kovacevic, coach, Spandau: 

“The first three games in the Champions League did not go as we had hoped. We now have to give  everything in every game and bring home something countable. With Pro Recco, the challenge couldn’t be more difficult, but my team has proven in the past that it can take on these challenges.  We have to be focused from the start and keep the game as open as possible.”