Champions League, Main Round, Day 12 PRE-GAME QUOTES

Group A (Saturday) 

(Friday) 18.45 Novi Beograd (SRB) v Jadran Split (CRO) 

Igor Milanovic, coach, Novi Beograd 

“This game against Jadran comes at a very difficult moment for us. A couple days ago we won the  Regional League, the first trophy for our club in history. I must admit that we were celebrating a bit of  that huge success and now we need to concentrate and be focused for the rest of the season. We should  continue to grow as a team, and for sure we will do our best to win this game.” 

Radomir Drasovic, player, Novi Beograd 

“The trophy we won will give us additional self-confidence for the rest of the season. We will have a  huge motive against Jadran. They have a very strong team and because of that I hope that we will play  on the highest possible level. We will do our best to win another game against Jadran.” 

Mile Smodlaka, coach, Jadran 

“The game ahead of us is not so important. My players are really tired after a series of tough matches.  We cannot go to the Final Eight, so I will use this game to rest some of older players and give a chance  to younger ones to get some experience for the seasons to come.” 

Dean Savicevic, sports director, Jadran 

“Our main goal is now to win Croatian Championship. We are in semi-final after two easy wins against  Medvescak, and in this game against Novi Beograd we will try to do our best, but we have some injured  players, and it is hard to expect great things. We were not so far against them in Regional League final,  we had our chances… Sadly, as for qualifying to the Final Eight, we lost our chances before this match.” 

12.30 Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) 

Elvis Fatovic, coach, Barceloneta 

“This game is taking place in between of our finals in the league. We know that we are favourites in this  game, but it doesn’t mean that we will take it easily. We need to be focused, give our best and stay on  our path.” 

Daniel Lopez Pinedo, goalie, Barceloneta 

“After almost everyone seen us out of the Final8 a few weeks ago, we are now in a good position, so we  can’t make mistakes. This group, at this point, does not allow any failure. 

The upcoming game against Dinamo represents the first of three finals till the end. We will face a solid  and experienced team that we respect a lot, but if we show our best water polo, we will surely get the 3  points, which is what we want.” 

Fran Fernández, player, Barceloneta 

“We are in a privileged position to achieve our goal of reaching the Final 8 in Belgrade. We have to continue our streak, playing our best game in every match. We have a very positive  dynamics, with a lot of confidence. We have achieved important victories against direct rivals. We have to go into the game with the maximum respect, motivation and intensity to ensure victory. It  will be a very interesting day with body-versus-body clashes. None of us who are in the fight can afford  a stumble.” 

Dejan Stanojevic, head coach, Dinamo 

“In our first match, Barceloneta showed how big the difference is between the two teams. In that game  we were not equal in any element or segment of the game, they showed absolute dominance, we were  completely powerless. I hope that in the second game we will play better and show that we have  improved in the previous period. Barceloneta is fighting for the F8 and to be European champion. We  will fight to play well and show that we have a certain quality, I ask my players to do that.” 

19.00 AN Brescia (ITA) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) 

Alessandro Bovo, coach, Brescia 

“They are a very strong team, well trained and with a right mix of young and experienced players. We  have to stay focused, do our game. The team is training well, we have Dolce and Vapenski recovered  for the game.” 

Vincenzo Dolce, player, Brescia 

“It will be a tough match. We need to improve our game, but we’ll play in our home and the fans can  help us a lot. We’ll need to stay focused because it’s a very important match for the qualification.” 

Uros Stevanovic, coach, Radnicki 

“Brescia is the third-placed team of the previous Champions League season and the reigning champion  of Italy, which they showed in the first game in Kragujevac, where they completely outplayed us.  Theoretically, our chances of qualifying for F8 are small, but we will fight in every game, both because  of the prestige and the great progress and experience we gain from these matches.” 

Milos Milicic, player, Radnicki 

“Brescia has shown the most in the Champions League so far in our group. They and Barceloneta play  that modern, fast water polo with a lot of swimming. In Kragujevac, they completely outplayed us and  deservedly won with a bit difference. Now we are going to Brescia to improve the impression, but it  will not be easy, because they are the favourites and it is well known that it is difficult to play in their  pool.” 

19.15 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) 

Theodoros Vlachos, coach, Olympiacos 

“We know the difficulties this game and this opponent creates. It will be a big derby between two of the  best European teams of the last five years where the winner will have a big advantage to qualify for the  Final 8 in Belgrade. We are ready to play a final at home and we want to impose our rhythm. We have  players with a lot of experience in ‘must-win’ games and I look forward to appearing focused and  determined to win.”

Filip Filipovic, player, Olympiacos 

“On Saturday, our team plays a very important match against Ferencvaros, which has the character of a  final, as it will determine a lot for the season. It is probably the most difficult group that has ever been  created in the tournament, since five very strong teams are battling for four places on equal terms. We  will give everything for the victory and our fans will give us the extra boost, to achieve our goal and  qualify for the Final 8. I saw our fans, how much they helped the women’s team in the Euro League  Final Four. The atmosphere they created was really amazing, you do not find anything similar in water  polo. Our fans did not stop singing and so should the swimming pool be like on Saturday, in our… final.  With similar support the girls had, no team can beat us at Papastratio.” 

Zsolt Varga, coach, FTC-Telekom 

“In the last round in Belgrade we produced a polished performance, then advanced to the domestic  league final, so we’re on the rise. The standings are really tight in our group, and this matchup is a  European classic. Winning in Piraeus is not an easy feat, but we desperately need these three points to  keep our Final Eight hopes alive. So we’ll go for it!” 

Marton Vamos, player, FTC-Telekom 

“The home encounter in November ended in a draw but that’s not really relevant now because a lot has  changed since then. For instance, this game will be played in Greece and not many teams were able to  win there in recent years… We, too, will have to be extremely disciplined to have any chance, but our  preparation has been good, so we’ll give it a go!” 

Group B (Friday) 

19.00 CN Marseille (FRA) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU) 

Milos Scepanovic, coach, Marseille  

“We want to defend our place in the group and above all get three more points at home. We are on a  very good streak in both the Champions League and the French Championship. The team feels great,  and we want to keep this good dynamic.” 

Romain Marion-Vernoux, player, Marseille  

“I am ready and impatient to play this match against Steaua Bucharest. We had a week without a match  to prepare it well, we have to continue our winning streak to reach the final stages with confidence.” 

19.00 Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) 

Vjekoslav Kobescak, coach, Jug 

“This is a very important match regardless of the fact that we secured a place in the Final eight. We are  the favourites, and we have to justify that role. The team is in good shape, we are ready and can’t wait  for the match to start.”

Hrvoje Benic, player, Jug 

“Spandau is still fighting for a place in Final Eight so they will fight to the end. Anyway, I believe in  our victory.” 

Petar Kovacevic, coach, Spandau 

“As always, it will be our pleasure to jump into the pool ‘Gruz’ and play a Champions League match  with Jug. This match will be as inspiring as the previous match with Pro Recco. Jug is the absolute  favourite, but we will look for our best performance and hope for an interesting match.” 

Nikola Dedovic, player, Spandau 

“After the last match against Waspo Hannover we are in pole position in the national championship.  Thanks to this 14-10 win, we have not lost a game against Waspo this season. Though the significance  is not high but against Jug we must improve enormously. Of course, we want to make changes  compared to the lost home match, but we are aware that we have to perform very strong and  concentrated to achieve that.” 

19.30 Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) 

Daniel Varga, coach, OSC  

“On Friday evening we will have a decisive game against Hannover. The two teams are very close to  each other in points. We played a draw in Germany last time, so it will be a tough game in Budapest for  sure. After the success in Hungarian semi-final, we had enough time to prepare appropriately against  them. We are looking forward to this next challenge.” 

Krisztian Manhercz, player, OSC 

“Our last game in Hannover was a draw, so we want to win the second game at home! This is one of the  most important matches for both teams, so I’m expecting a good game!” 

Karsten Seehafer, coach, Hannover 

“It’s an open game, a victory for each team would bring clarity, while a tie would keep the tensions to  the last games. I hope we will play good water polo with concentration and discipline, then we are able  to reach a good result.” 

Predrag Jokic, assistant coach, Hannover 

“It’s a difficult game ahead of us and I believe that by playing with discipline in both directions we can  get a positive result.” 

Darko Brguljan, player, Hannnover 

“This is that of part of season where every game for us is final. First, we won against Red Star, now  here is the second one against OSC. It’s going to be a very difficult game in their pool but for 32  minutes we will give all what we have, and I hope we can climb out as winners.”

Matja Brguljan, player, Hannover 

“After the match against Red Star and the very important victory, now OSC is the most important match  in this Champions League season… We will do everything to win in Budapest and to go to the Final 8 in  Belgrade.” 

20.00 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v Pro Recco (SRB) 

Ivan Basara, player, Zvezda 

“We have a very hard match ahead of us, we are playing with the strongest team in the Champions  League. It is a great challenge for us to host such a strong team and we hope that we will be able to meet  the expectations of our audience and ourselves.” 

Giacomo Cannella, player, Pro Recco 

“As every Champions League match, this one will be challenging too, we will have to be ready right  away and get into the pool with attention. We know we are superior and therefore the result will depend  only on us. The Red Star, as we saw in the first game in Genoa, is a team with excellent shooters and  strong centres who will make life difficult for our defenders.”