Champions League, Main Round, Day 13 PRE-GAME QUOTES

Group A (Wednesday)

16.45 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Novi Beograd (SRB)

Theodoros Vlachos, coach, Olympiacos

“The situation formed in the group after our defeat by Ferencvaros does not satisfy us, since our presence in Belgrade is no longer in our hands, though Olympiacos is a team that belongs to the elite of Europe and always fights for distinction. On Wednesday we want to return to the winning path in the Champions League and exhaust all the chances we still have for our presence in Belgrade.”

Konstantinos Genidounias, player, Olympiacos

“After the last game against Ferencvaros, the qualification to Final8 does not depend on us, but we have to present ourselves the best way we can and get two victories in the last two games, chasing as many chances as we can have. We come from claiming the Greek Cup on Sunday, and we are very good psychologically for the match against Novi Beograd.”

Igor Milanovic, coach, Novi Beograd

“We are expecting a great challenge in Athens. Olympiacos has a very strong team, among the best in all Europe. They are always very tough opponents, especially when they are playing at home. They need to win if they want to qualify for the Final Eight so they will be highly motivated. But I believe in my team. I am sure that all players will be dedicated to win this game and I hope that we will have a very good performance.”

Drasko Gogov, player, Novi Beograd

“Olympiacos is one of the greatest teams in Europe. They still had their chances to qualify for the Final Eight, and I must admit that they are among the top-quality teams in the Champions League this season. A very tough game is ahead of is, because for every team in Europe it is very hard to play in Athens. Also, they have the best player in the world Filip Filipovic, he is the toughest rival, but it is always a great honour and pleasure to play against him. We don’t have any kind of pressure, but we will do our best to try to win and try to take the best possible ranking before the Final Eight tournament.”

19.00 Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Jadran Split (CRO)

Dejan Stanojevic, coach, Dinamo

“We have two more games this season in the Champions League, which was one big and good school for us. We are a much better team today than at the beginning of the season. We have succeeded in all elements and segments of water polo. We have two more games in which we need to continue our progress and development. True, we have big problems in the last 7-8 days, we only have seven players in training due to injuries and illness. It is difficult to train and prepare for the upcoming matches amidst such conditions, but that is a fact and it must not affect our motive and desire. And even though we have been with only 7 players for 7 days now, the motivation is great among the players who are in training. We will see what kind of team we could line up against Jadran, but the motive, desire and fighting spirit must and will be at the highest level.”

Marko Jelaca, captain, Dinamo

“We were waiting for this game for a long time because I think that we can maybe even take some points if the things work out. We know what we can expect from Jadran Split and I hope that we are well prepared for every possible situation in the game. We need to start very hard from the beginning, punish every mistake of theirs and take every opportunity they may provide us. I hope also that the stands will be full and that we will have the support from our fans because with them it’s much easier to play.”

Mile Smodlaka, coach, Jadran

“This is a hard and long trip for us. Our focus is on Croatian Championship which we want to win.”

Zvono Butic, player, Jadran

“We will use this game to prepare for our upcoming Croatian Championship final against Jug.”

19.00 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB)

Zsolt Varga, coach, FTC

“We’ve made great strides towards the Final Eight in recent rounds. With those two victories in Belgrade and Athens we regained control and the group ranks look more favourable now. However, the job is not done yet and we face a great battle on Wednesday. Our road game in Kragujevac was a long time ago but still aches as we let a sure-looking victory slip away from us. Now it serves as a reminder that Radnicki is not to be taken lightly: we need to be focused, disciplined and play well in all four quarters to gain victory and edge closer to reaching our next goal.”

Uros Stevanovic, coach, Radnicki

“This match has far greater significance for Ferencvaros, who is fighting for F8, while we no longer have a chance for the final tournament. However, we want to compete with the best European teams and make progress through games like this.”

Luka Pljevancic, player, Radnicki

“We had several bad games in which we fell both on the playing and mental levels. We tried to raise our form through four friendly matches against Pro Recco in Kragujevac. As we no longer have a chance for F8, the match with Ferencvaros will serve us as preparation for the semi-finals of the Serbian Championship against Partizan, but we will also try to present ourselves in the best way against one of the best teams in Europe.”

20.15 Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v AN Brescia (ITA)

Elvis Fatovic, coach, Barceloneta

“Our next game with the Brescia is very demanding because of their defence. Their defence is the most powerful in this group and maybe in the whole Champions League. They have really played consistently the whole year. They are strong as a team and the play for each other. They have so many different options and variations in defence and in attack, so it’s not easy to play with them. But we are in a very great moment, so I expect one more good game for us. The key will be the defence.”

Marc Larumbe, player, Barceloneta

“The game against Brescia will be a vital game for both teams. On one hand, Brescia will want to win in order to get mathematically the first position in this group. While on the other hand, our team Zodiac CNAB will have to play its best to get the three points to book our ticket to the Final 8 in Belgrade.”

Felipe Perrone, player, Barceloneta

“I think this game is going to be one of the most highly expected matches of the season. It has great ingredients to be the most exciting game. Brescia has a very modern game, they are the current Italian Champions and ranked first in our group and they beat us in our last game. Both teams play very dynamic water polo, with a lot of movement, and I think a lot of people are looking forward to this match. For us, it is essential to ensure qualification because we have to win at least one of the next two matches.”

Group B (Tuesday)

18.15 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)

Karsten Seehafer, coach, Hannover

“Now we have only important games and in these matches we are able to play our best water polo with our best players. As of now, all players are fit.”Predrag Jokic, assistant coach, Hannover“I expect an exciting game, we play in our swimming pool. Repeat the Budapest game and I think we can get the victory.”

Moritz Schenkel, goalie, Hannover

“The game on Wednesday is our final, we have the chance to qualify for the Final 8. We are highly motivated, and we will fight till the last minute of the game.”

Marko Macan, player, Hannover

“We performed a small miracle in Budapest, but it might not matter if we don’t beat Spandau or Jug. The first step is Spandau, and we want to confirm our place in Belgrade right away in this match.”

Petar Kovacevic, coach, Spandau

“We like to play in the ‘Stadionbad’, which is our lucky pool. It will be one of our last two Champions League games this season. We have improved a lot in the last weeks and are looking forward to the new challenge. Both teams know each other very well. We have already played 5 times this season. After this game, we probably have 4-6 games with them in the German Cup and in the playoffs on the schedule. There are no surprises – only motivation and high performance.“

19.00 Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB)

Daniel Varga, coach, OSC

“This will be our last game in our swimming pool in this season. Unfortunately, we are in a bad position in our group, but we need to stay focused and stay on our path. On Tuesday we want to get three points, to satisfy our supporters and to get in shape for the final games against Ferencvaros in the Hungarian league. Let me add, that for me, as a young coach, it will be an honour to match with Zvezda’s head coach Dejan Savic.”

Vince Vigvári, player, OSC

“Crvena Zvezda is a really strong team especially with their new head coach. Based on their last game against Recco, they are in a pretty good shape. I expect a very difficult match. We will do everything in order to win this game.”

Vladimir Misovic, player, Zvezda

“On Tuesday we meet with OSC in Budapest – if we play the same game as against Pro Recco, then we will surely win. We trained and prepared for the game, so let the better win!”

19.30 CN Marseille (FRA) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)

Milos Scepanovic, coach, Marseille

“The team from Dubrovnik is a big team that has participated in the Champions League for a very long time and especially since it is still well ranked. We will beware of it. To do this, we will impose our rhythm of play from the start of the match to win again in front of our home crowd. We know that we have qualified for the Final 8 but we have to do everything to win and gain more confidence. It’s a preparation for the Final 8.”

Thomas Vernoux, player, Marseille

“It’s a key match to have a chance to claim the first place against Pro Recco, the reigning European champions. It’s also the last home game in the Champions League, we also want to be full of confidence to tackle this final stretch, in the French Championship and also in the Final 8. For all these reasons we want to give everything to get this victory. Knowing that the Dubrovnik team is a very good team, we are keen to play our best game.”

Vjekoslav Kobescak, coach, Jug

“Ahead of us is a match of prestige given that both Marseille and we have secured a place in the Final Eight. They beat us at home, we will try to hit back the same way.”

Filip Krzic, player, Jug

“A tough match awaits us against a team that lost only one game this season and beat us in Dubrovnik in the first part of the season. We will try our best to come back from Marseille with a positive result.”

20.00 Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v Pro Recco (ITA)

Zeno Bertoli, player, Pro Recco

“We are facing the last phase of the season, we’ll challenge a team that is technically inferior to us, but every Champions League match must be faced with the utmost concentration because it can hide pitfalls as we saw in Belgrade. A physical match awaits us that will help us refine our game automatisms.”