On the edge
The rematch of the 2019 final is the absolute highlight of the coming round: it may decide if the 2018 winner, Olympiacos, or the 2019 champion, Ferencvaros misses the Final 8 this season. The other Hungarian side OSC is also involved to a do-or-die match against Hannover in Group B.
While Brescia is on its way to finish atop in Group A, the next four ranked sides are on the edge – well, with the exception of Novi Beograd, which enjoys an automatic berth as the host of the Final Eight. But one of the three other hunters, Barceloneta, Olympiacos and Ferencvaros shall watch the finals in June from home. By beating Olympiacos convincingly, Barceloneta is sailing towards safe waters and this Saturday offers the Spaniards three more easy points against Dinamo. Though they are yet to play with Brescia and Jadran in the remaining rounds, it seems they have much better chances now, especially having launched a three-game winning streak.
While in Piraeus it’s going to be a ‘one-of-us-must-go’ clash between Olympiacos and Ferencvaros. They played for the trophy in 2019, now they are battling for survival. The Hungarians bounced back spectacularly in Belgrade on Day 11, Olympiacos, on the contrary, sank in Barcelona by netting only five goals, an all-season low. Playing at home, the Greeks have a slight advantage but even if there are two more rounds, neither side should bet on that the other might drop points in the remaining matches, so losing this match might be equal with a termination.
The game of Novi Beograd and Jadran has nothing big at stake, though it still offers some flavour as the two clubs played for the prestigious Regional League title last Sunday. The Serbs won 14-11, now the Croats may hit back, though this game means more to the F8 hosts as they want to finish the highest possible in the ranks. Brescia, leading by six points again, should take another step to keep its top rank by downing Radnicki.
In Group B, the top three clubs already secured their respective berths. Recco and Marseille are running for the top position and this Friday they are facing easy jobs as they meet the bottom ranked sides. Jug has only a very slim chance to move up so they can prepare comfortably to the climax of the season. At the same time, the fight for the fourth place is to reach its climax right this Friday when OSC faces off Hannover. The Hungarians trail by a point but at home they are the favourites – fresh from reaching the domestic final, they can also secure their place in the F8, but the Germans will also have a word or two (their game ended in a draw on Day 3).
Champions League, Day 12, Fixtures
Group A (Saturday)
(Friday) 18.45 Novi Beograd (SRB) v Jadran Split (CRO)
12.30 Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
19.00 AN Brescia (ITA) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB)
19.15 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)
Standings: 1. Brescia 26, 2. Novi Beograd 20, 3. Barceloneta 20, 4. Olympiacos 19, 5. Ferencvaros 19, 6. Radnicki 13, 7. Jadran 9, 8. Dinamo 0
Group B (Friday)
19.00 CN Marseille (FRA) v Steaua Bucharest (ROU)
19.00 Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)
19.30 Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)
20.00 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v Pro Recco (SRB)
Standings: 1. Recco 30, 2. Marseille 30, 3. Jug 24, 4. Hannover 14, 5. OSC 13, 6. Spandau 10, 7. Steaua 4, 8. Zvezda 4