Champions League, Main Round, Day 3 PRE-GAME QUOTES

Group A – Friday 

19.00 Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) 

Dejan Stanojevic, coach, Dinamo 

“Each game in our group is against teams which were European champions, have a great history and  tradition. What to tell about BCN? For sure, in the last 5-6 years they are the best Spanish team with the  best rhythm and the best counter-attack in the world. It’s the Spanish national team, minus one or two  players. And we know what is the level of team Spain. 

This is a good chance for our players to play against one of the bests, a good chance to compare  ourselves to top players and a top side! Barceloneta has been playing with more or less the same line-up  for 5-6 years and they are always candidates to win the European title. They have 11 players who are of  the same top quality and who have both experience and individual quality. A team that plays as a team  but also has the individual quality to solve every situation. I invite our fans to come to the pool and  watch a great game where we will fight to the maximum to match one of the best teams in the world.” 

Marko Jelaca, captain, Dinamo 

“This is our first home game in this year’s Champions League. I think that we showed in first two  rounds that we could play good water polo. Now we face a game against Barceloneta, which is very  strong team and I don’t need to introduce them to anyone who is following water polo. But we need to  look ourselves and I hope that we will continue to progress game after game. Next, I hope that our fans  will come in big numbers and they will give us the support that we need. For sure, we will give our  maximum in every duel and we will fight for every ball. I hope that everyone will enjoy a really good  water polo game.” 

Elvis Fatovic, coach, Barceloneta 

“Our next game is against Dinamo Tbilisi. We saw their last game against Jadran where they showed  they were capable of coming back even in the last quarter, so we are taking them very seriously. We  will do our best and hopefully we come back with three points.” 

Francisco Fernandez, player, Barceloneta 

“The Champions League has become a very demanding competition that does not allow speculation or  stumbling. Playing as a visitor is always complicated. This will be the first time we are playing in  Tbilisi against a team which still doesn’t know what victory is, which makes them more dangerous. This  match is important for us. After the defeat in Brescia, we want to find safety in the game and add three  points that will not be easy.” 

Martin Famera, player, Barceloneta 

“We are the favourites of this match, but it still won’t be easy. They have good quality players, that’s  why we’ll give our hundred percent.”

18.30 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) 

Zsolt Varga, coach, FTC 

“We’re building towards a bright future: in the summer we redesigned our roster, so now we have many  promising young players who have the chance to show themselves against the very best. After last  round’s win in Belgrade, Olympiakos has to be one of the favourites not only in our group but overall as  well – world-class foreigners were added to an already impressive list of players, and drilled into a  highly effective team. However, we do have a couple weapons on our own, finally we’ll be able to play  in front of a packed house in a Champions League home game so this encounter could be a real  spectacle!” 

Szilard Jansik, player, FTC 

“Olympiakos is a powerhouse by history, a regular participant in the final stage of this competition. This  year they seem to be even better, probably the strongest team in the group considering their relatively  easy win in Belgrade. Though now we can return to the Komjadi Pool for a home CL game, have our  fans behind us, so we’d like to compete at a really high level, and hopefully win.” 

Theodoros Vlachos, coach, Olympiacos 

“It is the second away game in a row for Olympiacos against a very strong team, and both teams are  really going for the points. We believe in the quality of our team, the confidence we build, and we will  try again to hide our weaknesses and our problems in order to claim a positive result in Budapest.” 

Giannis Fountoulis, player, Olympiacos 

“Another very difficult away game for Olympiacos in the Champions League, against a very good team  that has the same goals as us. We face some problems as we have a couple of absentees, but we will try  to cover them through teamwork. I am sure that it will be a great game and the people who will come to  the pool will enjoy a very high level game. Personally, for me it will be a very special match since I  

return to Budapest as an opponent after two beautiful years, facing the team which a few months ago we  reached the Champions League final together. I played for a great team, with great teammates and for  one of the best coaches in the world and I will always reserve a place for them in my heart. But such is  life and sport. Now I am back in my team, Olympiacos and we really want this victory to take a very  important step to achieve our initial goal which is to qualify for the LEN Champions League Final 8.” 

19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Novi Beograd (SRB) 

Mile Smodlaka, coach, Jadran 

“We are all healthy and ready to play. That is important these days. Novi Beograd is extremely strong  side, but we play at home and in every home game we will play to win. We will never get into the game  with thoughts to win with smallest possible margin, we are starting the game to win. Of course, it  depends against who you are playing, two teams are deciding the outcome of any game. Novi Beograd  is an attacking team, full of stars, but they have the same problem like us. They are new team and they  still have to get some things in place. Our biggest opponent so far is… Jadran Split. We must put aside  some beginners-like mistakes and oscillate from great to poor. If we do that, results will come.”

Mate Anic, goalie, Jadran 

“We claimed our first win in this season in the last round against Dinamo Tbilisi. It was a strange game,  we were 7 goals up, and then they came back and we won by ‘just’ two. We played well in the second  and third period in defence and that made the difference. It is a key to win more matches, maintain our  level in defence, but we must be more consistent, play like that during the whole game. Novi Beograd is  a great new team, full of stars and against them we cannot afford having the same ‘blackouts’ we had  against Dinamo Tbilisi.” 

Vladimir Vujasinovic, coach, Novi Beograd 

“Ahead of us is the game against the club which has great ambitions in this season. They changed their  roster a bit, compared to last season. They brought 3-4 new and very quality players, but they are not in  top form yet, so they are almost in the same situation as our team. Also, we will play in one of the  toughest pools for visiting teams in Europe, and because of that I expect a very tough game. I hope that  we will demonstrate a high-level performance and we will play better than in the previous match against  Olympiacos and I also hope that we will win.” 

Viktor Rasovic, player Novi Beograd 

“For sure, it is going to be a very tough game because in Split we will play against a great team. In their  squad there are a lot of great players, real champions. I expect that all 32 minutes will offer an equal  game and small details will define the winner in the end.” 

20.30 Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) v AN Brescia (ITA) 

Uroš Stevanovic, coach, Radnicki 

“After the runners-up of Europe, we will host the third-placed team of the previous Champions League  and the reigning champion of Italy, which speaks enough about how good they are. They have two  Serbian players and several Italian national team players, but I hope that we will correct the mistakes  from the previous game against Ferencvaros and win. I hope that the stands will be as full as last time  and that everyone will once again enjoy the great atmosphere. Every game at home is very important for  our goal, and that is F8.” 

Nebojsa Toholj, player, Radnicki 

“I expect a difficult match. They have changed the line-up a bit compared to last season, but they are  still a very respectable team, playing modern, fast water polo with a lot of swimming. We are about to  rise after the defeat by Partizan and play our recognisable game.” 

Alessandro Bovo, coach, Brescia 

“It will be a tough game. Radnicki is a very strong team with a lot of good players. They play a good  water polo, and it will not be easy for us to play there. We didn’t have so much time to get ready for this  match because of our game in Palermo, but I’m sure it will be a very good game.” 

Boris Vapenski, player, Brescia: 

“It’s an away game against a tough team which has high ambitions this year. They are well covered all  over the field, but we also have our chances. I expect a good game, worthy of the Champions League.”

Group B – Saturday 

14.00 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v OSC Budapest (HUN) 

Karsten Seehafer, coach, Hannover 

“It’s our first game at home in this Champions League season and we want to give our best. It will also  be the first time to play with the complete roster. Every Hungarian team in the Champions League is a  good one, but we have a chance, we are positive.” 

Petar Muslim, player, Hannover 

“The next one is the game where two more or less equal quality teams meet. We have prepared very  well for this match, particularly in tactical aspects ,the main goal is to stop their centre-forwards and if  we succeed in that, also with the advantage of playing at home I strongly believe we shall win .” 

Darko Brguljan, player, Hannover 

“The chances are 50/50, we can play with OSC at the same level – they are quality team but we also  want our first win in the Champions League. We play at our pool so we need to give our best to  win.”  

Daniel Varga, coach, OSC 

“We have six points after two games, but we don’t want to stop here. Every game is important in the  group. Hannover plays in different style, compared to our previous opponents, so we need to focus on  their strength – but we must force our own playing style too.” 

Ferenc Salamon, player, OSC 

“I expect a very difficult match in Hannover. Our rivals are made of very good German players,  completed with excellent foreign national team players. We will do our best to achieve victory, but it  will not be an easy task for us.” 

19.00 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) 

Petar Kovacevic, coach, Spandau 

“We don’t want to get out of the pool without points, that is clear. Jug will be highly motivated after its  home defeat, we are aware of that. But Marseille showed in that match that big names alone cannot win  a game. We will fight and build on the fact that we make progress with each training day.” 

Marko Stamm, player, Spandau 

“After the missed victory against Waspo Hannover, we have the duty to get the points against Jug  Dubrovnik. For this, everyone in the team and around pulls together. We are in a good mood and  prepared for the game.”

Vjekoslav Kobescak, coach, Jug 

“We played the last game very badly and we deservedly lost at home. In Berlin, our old opponent  Spandau is waiting for us, where the team has changed a lot. I hope that we will play much better and  we will claim three very important points.” 

Loren Fatovic, captain, Jug 

“As always in Berlin, it will be difficult. They and we both have changed the look of the team and we  are still a bit far away from where we would like to stand. The stakes are there: three very important  points and I believe we will return home happy. ‘” 

Hrvoje Benic, player, Jug 

“After a home defeat to Marseille, three points in Berlin are our priority. Spandau is a top team with a  great coach and a couple of great players, above all Dedovic and Kholod. It will be difficult, but I  believe in ourselves that we will come up with a good performance and get the victory.” 

20.00 Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v CN Marseille (FRA) 

Bogdan Matei, team manager, Steaua 

“This weekend we are facing a very experienced team with top quality players. It is our first home game  and we will do our best to improve and elevate every aspect that is part of our performance. I am sure  that both sides will do their best and it will be a hard but spectacular game, nice to watch for  everybody.” 

Milos Scepanovic, coach, Marseille  

“We are looking forward to this game. We are motivated, confident, we are physically and mentally  well. The victory against Dubrovnik is good for the players and the staff. It has shown us that all the  work we do on a daily basis is rewarded and that is why we are eager to challenge ourselves against a  great team like Steaua Bucharest which has made a good start in the Champion’s League too. This team  is well organized, they play at home, so it’s going to be up to us to get this victory. We remain cautious  and very focused to show our best game.”  

Andrija Prlainovic, player, Marseille (France) :  

“For us, it’s really important to win in Bucharest and take all three points. It will be great if we continue  after we took a good start. We need to stay focused to perform well in match after match in the  competition.” 

21.00 Pro Recco (ITA) v Crvena Zvezda (SRB) 

Sandro Sukno, coach, Pro Recco: 

“Red Star is an organized team, made up of some experienced players. We will have to play at a high  pace from the start to win the game which is the main aspect. These matches must help us to grow in  our performance in order to reach the top in the decisive games.” 

Nicholas Presciutti, player, Pro Recco: 

“It will be a very intense match, we are facing a fairly young team which will want to show  his quality against the European champions. We are in good shape, we train hard and we are ready for  Saturday’s match.” 

Milos Vukicevic, captain, Zvezda 

“Let’s go to Italy to fight! Although we are aware that Pro Reco is one of the strongest teams  competing in the Champions League and the winner of last year’s competition, we hope that we will get  the best possible result.”