It’s clutch time in Group B – most probably, the top spot will be decided Tuesday evening in the giant clash of Brescia and Novi Beograd.
There is a lot more at stake in Brescia – the top spot offers a quarter-final match-up against the other group’s 4th ranked side (most probably Vouliagmeni); a lot better perspective than playing against Recco or Olympiacos in case. And the loser of the Brescia v NBG encounter also needs to deal with the pressure coming from third-placed Ferencvaros, provided the Hungarians could beat Jug in Dubrovnik.
As for the chances, the top match takes place in a sensitive period for F8 host Novi Beograd, where in-house affairs – most recently the suspension of double Olympic champion captain Dusan Mandic – may have an impact on the team’s performance. This season, Brescia’s only loss came in Beograd, so the Italians are keen to take a revenge.
In the other game Jug face off Ferencvaros – the Croats upset NBG in the Regional League semis and clinched the title, so they’ve already bounced back from their shocking loss on Day 10 in Sabadell. With the lower ranked sides routinely grabbing points from each other, Jug still seem to be in safe with a six-point advantage, however, a win would definitely give them more calm for the remaining three rounds. Teams ranked 5-8th here will play matches against direct rivals – winners may still have slim hopes to catch up Jug.
In Group A, Barceloneta just need to cruise all the way after beating Recco and Olympiacos in back-to-back rounds. It’s hard to see the Spaniards losing the first position, though their trip to Kragujevac is a kind of last tough test on their road to Belgrade.
Olympiacos and Recco should not have problems with bagging three points respectively, while Jadran must be on alert while visiting Tbilisi where Radnicki fell two weeks ago. The Croats have some chance to make the top four, though Vouliagmeni hold the advantage in case they finish with equal points.
Day 11, Fixtures
Group B (Tuesday)
19.00 Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)
19.30 Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN)
19.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v CN Marseille (FRA)
20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v VK Novi Beograd (SRB)
Standings: 1. Novi Beograd 25, 2. Brescia 25, 3. Ferencvaros 21, 4. Jug 14, 5. Spandau 8, 6. Sabadell 7, 7. OSC 7, 8. Marseille 7
Group A (Wednesday)
19.00 (16.00 CET) Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Jadran Split (CRO)
19.00 (18.00 CET) Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)
19.00 (18.00 CET) NC Vouliagmeni (GRE) v Pro Recco (ITA)
20.30 VK Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP)
Standings: 1. Barceloneta 27, 2. Recco 24, 3. Olympiacos 22, 4. Vouliagmeni 14, 5. Jadran 11, 6. Radnicki 9, 7. Dinamo 6, 8. Hannover 3