Though only Round 6 is commencing, a series of crucial games are due in both groups. Above all, title-holder Recco’s visit to Barceloneta is the highlight of the week, while the clash of Jadran and Radnicki may have a long-lasting impact on the race of for the Final Eight – and Group A will also see the all-Greek encounter of Olympiacos and Vouliagmeni. A day later, Ferencvaros take on unbeaten Novi Beograd in the game featuring last season’s bronze and silver medallists, while the match of OSC and Jug can also be decisive in the hunt for the F8 spots.
Barceloneta came out on top two weeks ago in Piraeus to keep their perfect record – now an even bigger challenge awaits the Spaniards, a clash at home with title-holders Recco. This is the game to watch in this round – Recco bounced back after the opening day defeat against Olympiacos with four straight victories and now look for another win which would put them on level with the Spaniards and the Greeks. Based on the past, they have the edge as they hold a 7-0 lead against the Spaniards in the games played in the last six years.
Beyond the special flavours any Croatian v Serbian battles offer, the showdown between Jadran and Radnicki is absolutely crucial as the race for the fourth qualifying spot behind the three top sides seems to feature these two and Vouliagmeni, so the winner will take a definite advantage. Vouliagmeni need a miracle to add points this week as they need only a short ride to Piraeus where local arch-rival Olympiacos is the absolute favourite. In the game of the pointless sides, Dinamo meet Hannover – only the winner can retain a slim hope to catch up the others.
In Group B, unbeaten Novi Beograd travel to Budapest for another highlighted away match. The Serb scoring machinery have guaranteed entertainment and four fine wins (and a thrilling draw with Jug) so far – while Ferencvaros had ups and downs, like a shocking loss to Spandau two weeks ago. A couple of fine wins back home – against fellow CL rival OSC and Euro Cup quarter-finalist Vasas, in five days – lifted their spirits, though playing with NBG is another level.
The other crucial match is also held in Budapest – Jug come again, this time for a showdown with OSC. The Croats lost in December to Ferencvaros, now they may claim a point or three as OSC are in a losing streak: after being demolished by Brescia, they went down against Ferencvaros, then were upset at home by Eger in the Hungarian league.
Spandau may dream of another surprise – once they managed to beat FTC, they may go for something big against Brescia too, though it’s going to be even harder. For Marseille, which won a single game in the first five rounds, bagging three points is a must in Sabadell. The Spaniards played tight matches but could earn only one point so far, still, they definitely look for their first win.
Fixtures, Day 6
Group A (Tuesday)
19.00 (16.00 CET) Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)
19.00 Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v Pro Recco (ITA)
19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB)
19.30 (18.30 CET) Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Vouliagmeni (GRE)
Standings: 1. Barceloneta 15, 2. Olympiacos 12, 3. Recco 12, 4. Vouliagmeni 7, 5. Radnicki 7, 6. Jadran 6, 7. Hannover 0, 8. Dinamo 0
Group B (Wednesday)
19.30 Genesys-OSC Budapest (HUN) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)
19.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v AN Brescia (ITA)
19.30 Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v CN Marseille (FRA)
20.45 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v Novi Beograd (SRB)
Standings: 1. Novi Beograd 13, 2. Brescia 12, 3. Ferencvaros 9, 4. Jug 7, 5. OSC 5, 6. Spandau 5, 7. Marseille 4, 8. Sabadell 1