Big surprise, anyone?

It would require perhaps the biggest upset of the season from any of the losing sides in the first leg to overturn their respective duels, while running for the four Champions League main round berths.

Perhaps the only encounter offering any kind of excitement will take place in Brescia (ITA), where the Italians have ‘only’ a two-goal advantage, gained a week ago in the home of Vasas (HUN). However, Brescia is considered the strongest team in the playoffs, had back-to-back semi-final appearances in the last two F8s, so it’s hard to see them blowing this chance away – still, Vasas’ reshaped side will have a nothing-to-lose approach which may create some thrills.

Big home wins for OSC Budapest (HUN) and Jadran Split (CRO) seem to have secured that the two sides will have another run in the main round from mid-November (and perhaps a more successful one as neither of them managed to make the Final Eight). OSC thrashed Panionios (GRE) by 10 goals, so the return leg is a mere formality. Also, Oradea (ROU) would need a miracle to erase the 6-goal deficit against the star-studded line-up of Croatia’s No. 2 team.

In the clash of the newcomers Vouliagmeni (GRE) enjoyed a brilliant evening in France and their huge away-win also makes almost sure that the Greek team will return to big-time Champions League action after nine years (back in 2013 they reached the quarters in the old format).

The four winners will join the 12 wild-card holders, while the four losing sides can continue their respective European journeys in the eight-finals of the Euro Cup.

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Fixtures, Champions League Qualification play-offs, 2nd leg

(all times are local)

16.00 NC Vouliagmeni (GRE) v CN Noisy Le Sec (FRA) – first leg: 17-11

19.00 CSM Oradea (ROU) v Jadran Split (CRO) – first leg: 3-9

19.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v A Hid-Vasas-Plaket Budapest (HUN) – first leg: 12-10

20.30 Panionios GSS (GRE) v Genesys-OSC Budapest (HUN) – first leg: 7-17