Champions League Final Four spots in sight

Photo: Federico Schenone

As the Quarter Final Stage enters its second phase, the continent’s elite club competition is heating up nicely as a couple of teams may secure their respective Final Four berth, while others want to grab their very last chance to stay in the hunt.

Champions League Water Polo Men Quarter Final Stage
Fixtures, Day 4
(all times CET)

Group A (Wednesday)
19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v VK Novi Beograd (SRB)
20.00 CN Marseille (FRA) v Pro Recco (ITA)
Standings: 1. Recco 8, 2. Novi Beograd 7, 3. Marseille 3, 4. Jadran 0

Group B (Tuesday)
17.00 Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v FTC-Telekom (HUN)
20.00 AN Brescia (ITA) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP)
Standings: 1. FTC 9, 2. Olympiacos 6, 3. Barceloneta 3, 4. Brescia 0

Photo: ftc_waterpolo

Ferencvaros, still yet to lose a match this season across all competitions, will play their third straight away game in Piraeus.

They’ve already come up big – in Brescia and Barcelona – in the previous two rounds, and that was even more special for them as they had never managed to claim wins in those two pools.

On Day 1 they beat Olympiacos 11-9, but the Greek giants have bounced back since, beating Barceloneta with a superb performance and then they took Brescia down in what was a hard-fought battle.

A win against Fradi would put Olympiacos into a really great position to reach the Final Four – but if the Hungarians maintain their unbeaten run, they would secure their place in the finals and would probably finish top in the group.

Photo: Jordi López

In the other Group B encounter, Barceloneta have a must-win match in Brescia.

The Spaniards opened their campaign with a fine win over the Italians (12-8) in the quarters, however, next came back-to-back losses (to Olympiacos and FTC), something that’s rarely happened to them in the past.

They need all three points to stay alive, but Brescia, fresh from upsetting Recco in the Italian Cup final, have never given anything for free to any rivals, and the hosts will definitely put up a big fight, despite three straight losses so far.

Fellow Italian side, Recco, have had to deal with the unexpected blow of being unable to retain their cup title in Italy.

Against Brescia in the final, they lost the shootout – whereas two weeks ago in the Champions League they converted all their penalties to come away with two points from Novi Beograd.

Photo: Miodrag Todorovic

Still, in Serbia they threw away a six-goal lead, so they should feel some pressure at this stage of the season, and visiting Marseille is anything but a pleasant trip in their current situation.

The French just tasted victory in Split in the quarter-finals – though, just like Recco, lost unexpectedly at home, in the domestic league, for the first time after more than a year.

While Recco leads 6-0 head-to-head, Marseille may have a chance to break that bad run.

Bagging at least a point against Recco was definitely a morale booster for Novi Beograd and they may keep on marching towards the Final Four, providing they add another win away at Jadran.

The Croats are heading for the exit after three losses, still, they would never let any game go, especially not a showdown with a Serbian arch-rival in Split.

You can follow all the Champions League Men’s Water Polo Quarter Final Stage action and results live on the dedicated European Aquatics Champions League website.

Photo: Jordi López

Pre-game stats

Group A

CN Marseille (FRA) v Pro Recco (ITA)
MAR: 8-15 Recco (a), 13-14 NBG (h), 14-12 Jadran (a)
REC: 15-8 Marseille (h), 13-10 Jadran (a), 15-14 (pen) NBG (a)
Head-to-head: 0-6
Day 1: 8-15. 2021-22: 8-11, 7-13. 2020-21: 8-10, 9-11. 2019-20: 9-13

Jadran Split (CRO) v Novi Beograd (SRB)
JAD: 11-15 NBG (a), 10-13 Recco (h), 12-14 Marseille (h)
NBG: 15-11 Jadran (h), 14-13 Marseille (a), 14-15 (pen) Recco (h)
Head-to-head: 0-3
Day 1: 11-15. 2021-22: 7-14, 12-17.

Group B

AN Brescia (ITA) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP)
BRE: 8-12 Barceloneta (a), 9-11 FTC (h), 12-13 Olympiacos (h)
BAR: 12-8 Brescia (h), Olympiacos 7-10 (a), 8-10 FTC (h)
Head-to-head: 6-3 (3d)
Day 1: 8-12. 2021-22: 12-12, 14-12. 2020-21: 9-10, 6-8, 13-7 (bronze). 2018-19: 8-8, 14-8. 2017-18: 7-5, 6-5. 2015-16: 12-4, 7-7.

Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)
OLY: 9-11 FTC (a), 10-7 Barceloneta (h), 13-12 Brescia (a)
FTC: 11-9 Olympiacos (h), 11-9 Brescia (a), 10-8 Barceloneta (a)
Head-to-head: 1-3 (1d)
Day 1: 9-11. 2022-23: 9-4 (5-8th), 2021-22: 9-9, 8-10. 2018-19: 10-10, pen: 3-4 (final)

Photo: ftc_waterpolo