Champions League, Main Round, Day 3 – preview

Showtime in Budapest 

2019 champion Ferencvaros faces off their grand rival Olympiacos Piraeus again, the clash of two  undefeated teams is definitely the highlighted encounter of Day 3 in the Champions League. In  Group A two other clashes also deserve attention as last year’s bronze medallist Brescia visits  Radnicki in Kragujevac and Split will host another edition of a Croatian–Serbian derby featuring  Jadran and Novi Beograd. In Group B the top four ranked sides meet the lower-seeded ones,  Satuday may start dividing the field. 

The rematch of the 2019 final between Ferencvaros and Olympiacos is the top game on Friday, no  doubt. Ever since their brilliant game in Hannover, ending in a shootout, won by the Magyars, both line ups changed significantly – first of all Ioannis Fountoulis returned from Budapest to his Greek club and  Olympiacos has also added a handful of great signings this summer. Thanks to them, the Greeks are the  only team in Group A with two wins after two rounds – on Day 2 they showed some quality while  beating Novi Beograd in Belgrade with some fabulous spells. Ferencvaros is also unbeaten – but  winless at the same time as they had two ties from their first two away clashes. The second one in  Kragujevac should have been painful for the Hungarians as the blew a four-goal lead in the last period – in this group one point per game will definitely not be enough to make the cut. Still, gaining three  against Olympiacos is going to be a tough challenge for last season’s runners-up. 

Brescia’s visit to Kragujevac also promises some excitements. The Italians, bronze medallists last May,  bagged four points in their first two home matches. Their victory against Barceloneta was a real feat so  Radnicki will have some tough moments even at home and might need a similar miracle they had  produced against Ferencvaros in the last minutes. 

Jadran Split had some ups and downs so far, its next clash with Novi Beograd can be a crucial match.  First of all, any time a Croatian–Serbian derby is something everyone should tune in for, then two  newly shaped sides meet, with great stars in both, but in the team-building phase so it’s a hard call. 

Barceloneta, after going down in Brescia, has a must-win match in Tbilisi. Though the Georgians  showed some guts while almost stunning Jadran in Split with their 6-goal surge in the final period – so  the Spaniards need to stay focused till the end. 

In Group B the top four face the lower-ranked ones and this round may already divide the field – however, not each game may offer lopsided contests. The two German clubs can cause some headaches  for their respective rivals, Hannover to OSC and Spandau to Jug.  

1 POPADIC Toni Jug Dubrovnik CN Marseille (white caps) – Jug Dubrovnik (bluecaps) Semi Final 2 LEN Men’s Water Polo Champions League Final Eight 2021 11 april sport centre – Novi Beograd -Serbia 20210604 Photo Giorgio Scala / Deepbluemedia / Insidefoto DBM/LEN Reserved Rights Author must be mentioned when published Editorial/media use only

Marseille might expect a slightly easier task while visiting Bucharest and the French already  demonstrated in Dubrovnik that they are serious contenders in this season. Recco meets the No 3  Serbian side, Crvena Zvezda, a more difficult encounter than their last one versus Steaua but the title holder should still enjoy some gentle cruising instead of a Saturday night fever.

Champions League, Day 3 – Fixtures (all starting times are local) 

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

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

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

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

Standings: 1. Olympiacos 6, 2. Brescia 4, 3. Barceloneta 3, 4. Novi Beograd 3, 5. Jadran 3, 6.  Ferencvaros 2, 7. Radnicki 1, 8. Dinamo 0 

Group B – Saturday 

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

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

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

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

Standings: 1. Recco 6, 2. OSC 6, 3. Marseille 3, 4. Jug 3, 5. Zvezda 3, 6. Spandau 1, 7. Hannover 1, 8.  Steaua 0 

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18 November 2021