The second half of the main round kicks off with the rematches of Day 7 and this does not promise too much success for those sides having lost ten days ago. The top three in Group B and the four highest ranked teams in Group A could further increase the gap ahead of the chasers.
In the second half of the main round not only the rounds follow each other in reverse order but, as usual, the groups also switch playing days so Group B action will kick off the show from now on. Also, as a rarity, a weekend round is coming, so water polo fans should leave the Friday and Saturday evenings free!
As for Group B, two matches brought lopsided contests on Day 7 and it’s hard to see that Marseille will be able to come up with something miraculous against top ranked Brescia after their 8-goal defeat at home. The Italians are especially formidable at home and they are also fresh from grabbing a point against Recco in the domestic league which was another demonstration of their fine shape.
In the all-Hungarian clash Ferencvaros were overwhelming against OSC – their arch-rivals could get some consolation with a late 5-0 run to avoid a really embarrassing 9-goal home defeat. FTC lead 3-0 in head-to-head since December (also won by sweeping in the league final last spring), so last season’s bronze medallists are very much set to bag three more points.
In terms of head-to-head, Jug are even more superior against Spandau – since the new CL kicked off in 2014, they won 10 out of 10 matches against the Germans. The last one was really close, and the Croats needed some luck to win the game 11-12 in Berlin – however, at home they might not commit the same mistakes and can eye another win.
Sabadell put up a great fight against Novi Beograd, still lost the match. Now in Belgrade the Serbs’ star-studded side should roll on as their returning greats are getting in better shape by every day, which is not the best news for the Spaniards either.
In Group A, the top three giants are already enjoying a 10-point lead ahead of the fifth-placed (non-qualifying) rival and that will most probably grow this Saturday. Neither of them left any doubt on Day 7 against their respective opponents – and it would be quite surprising to see any change in fortunes in this round. Indeed, sky should come down to stage at least a close contest between Recco and Dinamo, and after Barceloneta outclassed Jadran in Split few would bet on the Croats during their visit in Spain.
Last season Olympiacos beat Radnicki 11-7 at home then fell in Kragujevac which was one of the key reasons for the Greeks’ painful failure to reach the Final Eight. Most probably they learn from that lesson – and can also gain some extra-confidence from their really dominant performance (13-7) in Piraeus last time.
Here the race for the fourth qualifying berth is really intense and Vouliagmeni gained some advantage by beating Hannover ten days ago. Now the other Greek team can further strengthen their position and a 5-6 points advantage may give them some psychological edge for the remaining six rounds.
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Fixtures, Day 8
Group B (Friday)
18.45 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN)
19.00 Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)
19.45 VK Novi Beograd (SRB) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)
20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v CN Marseille (FRA)
Standings: 1. Brescia 18, 2. Novi Beograd 16, 3. Ferencvaros 15, 4. Jug 11, 5. OSC 6, 6. Spandau 5, 7. Sabadell 4, 8. Marseille 4
Group A (Saturday)
13.00 Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v Jadran Split (CRO)
19.00 (18.00 CET) NC Vouliagmeni (GRE) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)
19.30 Pro Recco (ITA) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
20.30 Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
Standings: 1. Recco 18, 2. Olympiacos 18, 3. Barceloneta 18, 4. Vouliagmeni 10, 5. Radnicki 8, 6. Jadran 7, 7. Hannover 3, 8. Dinamo 0