LEN Final Eight – Semifinals – FACTS & FIGURES


• In the Prelims, Group A has been labelled as the toughest group ever in the history of the Champions  League. Quarter-finals mirrored that: three of the semi-finalists come from Group A (ranked 1-3rd) and  the 4th placed side Barceloneta almost upset title-holder Recco to make a complete sweep by Group A  teams. 

• Three semi-finalists are the same as in last year: Recco, FTC and Brescia made the top four again.  Novi Beograd is the new one (Barceloneta came up short this time). Recco and FTC were also part of  the SF show in 2019. 

• Just like last year, Italy has two teams in the semis. This happened three more times since the  introduction of the F6/8 format: 2017: Szolnok, Eger (HUN), 2015: Primorje, Jug (CRO), 2014:  Radnicki, Partizan (SRB). 

• The most dominant scene was seen in 2006: three Italian clubs advanced to the Final Four (Recco,  Posillipo, Savona), though host Jug pipped them for the title. 

• All four semi-finalists are coached by former players who are Olympic champions – Brescia:  Alessandro Bovo (ITA, 1992), Novi Beograd: Igor Milanovic (YUG, 1984, 1988), Ferencvaros: Zsolt  Varga (HUN, 2000), Recco: Sandro Sukno (CRO, 2012) 

• There is a chance for an all-Italian final – the last time two clubs from the same nation clashed for the  trophy happened in 1998, when Posillipo Napoli and Pescara (both ITA) met in the F4 in Zagreb. This  scene happened only twice earlier in history: there was an all-Croatian final between Jadran Split and  Mladost in 1993 and all-Yugoslavian contest between Partizan and Mladost in 1971. 

Head-to-head, team stats 

18.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v Novi Beograd (SRB) 

• The two sides already met in the prelims. Here in Belgrade, they played an 11-11 draw on 14  December – Boris Vapenski saved one point for the Italians with a man-up goal 0:05 minutes from time.  In Brescia, Novi Belgrade won 16-13, that was Brescia’s first loss in the prelims on Day 10. Dusko  Pijetlovic (5 goals) and Nikola Jaksic (4) were the Serbians’ heroes of that game.

• Brescia failed to reach the semis upon its first four tries in the F6/8 (lost QFs in 2014, 2017, 2018,  2019), in Belgrade they made the top four again after 2021. 

• Novi Beograd reached the semis right on their first appearance in the F8. 

20.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) 

• This is the rematch of last years final: Recco won 9-6 a year ago here in Belgrade. • Other recent encounters – prelims: 2019-20: 13-13 (in Recco, Budapest game wasn’t held after the  cancellation of the rest of the season). 2018-19: 9-6, 13-7. 

• This is the 7th consecutive semi-final appearance for Recco. They won 3 (2015, 2018, 2021), lost 3  (2016, 2017, 2019). 

• Ferencvaros had two F8 appearances and reached the finals both times (2019, 2021)