Top teams are to move away from their chasers

Recco’s fine win in Barcelona put the three top dogs on equal points – and thanks to the other results, the gap between them and their chasers grew to 7 points. This Tuesday might increase that difference as Olympiacos are definitely the favourite at home against Radnicki, while Barceloneta need to bounce back in Split against Jadran. This won’t be easy since the Croats are fresh from winning the big home clash against fellow CL team Jug, while Barceloneta could beat the other CL participant Sabadell only by penalties in the cup final.

After tasting the sweetness of winning for the first time this season by beating Dinamo, Hannover might want more of that. At home, they have a good chance against Vouliagmeni, though they need an ‘upgrade’ after a shocking domestic loss to Duisburg in the weekend. Recco is set to win their sixth straight match as they face an easy challenge in Tbilisi.

In Group B, the other Italian side Brescia, which also sit in the first place, meet the bottom-ranked team too. However, that’s going to be a tougher match as Marseille are anything but an easy-to-beat rival, despite their miseries so far in this season. Still, Brescia are so formidable at home that it’s hard to see the French stop them.

Second ranked Novi Beograd cannot expect an easy ride in Sabadell either. Two weeks ago, the Spaniards managed to take down Marseille to win their first game and they may cause the Serbs some headaches too who, as a contrast, lost for the first time, in Budapest (though missed several key players). It’s yet to be seen how NBG’s returning greats will fare after illness hampered their recent weeks. 

The last round in the first half of the prelims offers the collision of the Hungarian arch-rivals. OSC and FTC already staged two thrillers in the domestic competitions, their cup final was a 31-goal epic, and some weeks later their league match was also close but both times FTC edged out OSC (16-15, 9-8) and they are the favourites once more.

Jug travel to Berlin with the memories of a painful defeat at home from Jadran. Since Spandau could catch Ferencvaros in early January, the Croats need to be on high alert – a loss in Germany would seriously undermine their goals of making the F8 as usual.

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Fixtures, Day 7

Group A (Tuesday)

17.30 (16.30CET) Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB)

19.00 (16.00CET) Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Pro Recco (ITA)

19.00 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v NC Vouliagmeni (GRE)

19.00 Jadran Split (CRO) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP)

Standings: 1. Recco 15, 2. Olympiacos 15, 3. Barceloneta 15, 4. Radnicki 8, 5. Vouliagmeni 7, 6. Jadran 7, 7. Hannover 3, 8. Dinamo 0

Group B (Wednesday)

18.30 CN Marseille (FRA) v AN Brescia (ITA)

19.30 Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

19.30 Astralpool Sabadell (ESP) v VK Novi Beograd (SRB)

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

Standings: 1. Brescia 15, 2. Novi Beograd 13, 3. Ferencvaros 12, 4. Jug 8, 5. OSC 6, 6. Spandau 5, 7. Sabadell 4, 8. Marseille 4