All spots are booked for the Final Eight, however, there are a couple of open questions in the final rankings. Brescia and Barceloneta are in pole position to finish atop in the respective groups, while the big match between Recco and Olympiacos decides the second place in Group A.
This last round takes place in a special moment, just days after the teams finished their respective campaigns in the home league finals. There are happy sides – most of the favourites retained their titles – and there are disappointed ones who had to settle for the silver medals.
Brescia couldn’t hold up Recco in the Italian title bout, so they look for some consolation in the Champions League – they need at least a draw to secure the first place in Group A. That might not be a challenge as the face Jug, the devastated side which didn’t win in their last four CL matches but more painfully lost their title at home to Jadran.
F8 host Novi Beograd, winner in Serbia, face an easy task against freshly crowned German champion Spandau (which it out of contest for the F8), but the Serbs will finish runner-up most probably. Ferencvaros will remain third anyway, their last game against Sabadell is still special as their head coach Zsolt Varga will lead his players for the last time in a home match – after the F8 he’ll be full-time head coach of the Hungarian national team. To prepare the team for the F8, the encounter will be held outdoors in the Mecca of water polo, on the Margaret Island.
When it mattered most, Barceloneta came up big against Sabadell in Spain, became champions once more despite finishing runners-up in the regular season, so they are all set to win Group A as well. A win against Dinamo should come easily.
The only ‘real’ question of the day whether Recco or Olympiacos finish second here which they will decide in a great showdown on Wednesday evening. Novi Beograd and Ferencvaros are highly interested in the outcome – if Olympiacos stun Recco, then last year’s final will be replayed right in the quarters, between Novi Beograd and Recco. Any other outcome would keep the current ranks and pair Recco against Ferencvaros (that was the semi-final in 2022) while Olympiacos should take on NBG.
Fixtures, Day 14
Group B (Tuesday)
19.30 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)
19.30 Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN) v CN Marseille (FRA)
19.45 Novi Beograd (SRB) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)
20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)
Standings: 1. Brescia 31, 2. Novi Beograd 29, 3. Ferencvaros 25, 4. Jug 16, 5. Marseille 13, 6. Sabadell 13, 7. Spandau 11, 8. OSC 10
Group A (Wednesday)
19.00 (18.00 CET) NC Vouliagmeni (GRE) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB)
19.00 Pro Recco (ITA) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Waspo98 Hannover (GER)
20.00 Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
Standings: 1. Barceloneta 36, 2. Recco 33, 3. Olympiacos 31, 4. Vouliagmeni 17, 5. Jadran 14, 6. Radnicki 12, 7. Dinamo 6, 8. Hannover 3