The last two spots are yet to be confirmed though it’s very likely that by Saturday evening we’ll know all Final Eight participants and the most probable pairings for the quarter-finals as the top ranks are to be secured in this round too. At the same time, at this stage of the season, almost all teams are busy with their respective championship finals so it can add some extra flavour how they approach their respective CL matches, whether those without a realistic chance would still go for all-in to keep some hope to make the F8 or may keep their focus on their domestic run for the title.
By the way, this is also a true demonstration of the European ‘power rankings’ – the Champions League really features the crème de la crème of the continent: among this season’s main round participants, only Radnicki failed to reach the gold medal bouts at home, all other sides are either already playing the finals or getting ready for the first game.
As for the CL action, in Group B, Brescia need one point to keep the first position, a challenging task for this round as they play with FTC in Budapest – though if OSC manage to upset Novi Beograd a few kilometres away (or at least force a draw), the Italians can even lose this round and would still finish atop.
The real fight is due in Marseille where the French have a very last chance to make the Final 8 for the third time in a row – however, they are facing a mountain to climb as they must beat Jug by six goals in order to remain on track. And that sill might not be enough as they also need to gain three points in the last round in Budapest, against OSC, while Jug have to lose to Brescia. Since Marseille downed FTC by six in the last round, we cannot call this a mission impossible – but it’s a demanding task for sure.
In Group A only a miracle might help the other Croatian side Jadran, which should win in Recco to catch up with Vouliagmeni (provided the Greeks cannot get any point in Barceloneta, though that would also require tremendous efforts from them). Even if Vouliagmeni lose on Saturday afternoon, in the evening a Recco victory – a realistic outcome – would send the Greeks through anyway.
Fellow Greek side Olympiacos can bag an easy win at home against Dinamo to set up an exciting encounter for the last round in Recco where the second place of the group would be at stake.
Fixtures, Day 13
Group B (Friday)
19.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v Astralpool Sabadell (ESP)
19.30 Genesys OSC Budapest (HUN) v Novi Beograd (SRB)
20.00 CN Marseille (FRA) v Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)
20.00 FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN) v AN Brescia (ITA)
Standings: 1. Brescia 31, 2. Novi Beograd 26, 3. Ferencvaros 22, 4. Jug 16, 5. Spandau 11, 6. Sabadell 10, 7. Marseille 10, 8. OSC 10
Group A (Saturday)
13.00 Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP) v NC Vouliagmeni (GRE)
19.00 Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) v Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB)
19.30 (18.30 CET) Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO)
20.00 Pro Recco (ITA) v Jadran Split (CRO)
Standings: 1. Barceloneta 33, 2. Recco 30, 3. Olympiacos 28, 4. Vouliagmeni 17, 5. Jadran 14, 6. Radnicki 9, 7. Dinamo 6, 8. Hannover 3