Water Polo Champions League Men: Matchday 2 Preview

Credit to: European Aquatics/István Derencsényi

F8 participants are to clash in three highlighted matches

The second round of the Champions League Men showcases three prominent matches, featuring teams from the last edition of the Final Eight. Vouliagmeni faces off against Barceloneta in a rematch of the bronze medal game, Brescia meets Novi Beograd (semi-finalists in 2021), and Recco visits Dubrovnik (semi-finalists in 2016 and 2017).

Two Italian clubs take the spotlight on Friday. In Group A, Brescia faces Novi Beograd – these two teams delivered one of the most thrilling battles in recent years during the 2021 semi-finals, with a dramatic ending featuring two goals in the last eight seconds, one by Brescia’s goalkeeper, Petar Tesanovic, and another by Angelos Vlachopoulos’ buzzer-beater which sent NBG to the final. Both players will be in the pool, alongside their star teammates, and both will have the same goal, to add more points after the wins they had gained in the opening round. In the other match, Sabadell needs to secure all three points in Bucharest to stay competitive with the favorites.

In Group B, where three champions are racing for the two qualifying spots, Recco travels to Dubrovnik in the other highlighted match on Friday. While the titleholder is an outstanding favourite, it’s essential not to forget that Jug almost stunned Olympiacos, narrowly losing in a penalty shootout in the previous match. The Croats were the only team two years ago to defeat the Italian giant in the group stage.

Group C witnessed the expected outcomes in both matches on the opening night; now Jadran Split and Ferencvaros aim to secure another victory. The Jadrans’ match in Herceg Novi doesn’t promise an easy ride for the Croatians, and the same holds true for Ferencvaros’ trip to Belgrade, where the Hungarians will face Crvena Zvezda.

Back in May, the surprise team of the Final Eight, Vouliagmeni, pushed the bronze medal match to a shootout against Barceloneta – the Spaniards claimed the victory in the end. However, they must dig deep once more in Athens on Saturday. Marseille did a clean job against the Greeks in the first round, now they go to Berlin which may seem to be an easier match. Still, Spandau is always ready to stage an upset, especially at home.

Champions League Men, Group Stage, Round 2

(starting times in CET)

Group A (Friday)

17.30 Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v Astralpool CN Sabadell (ESP)

20.30 AN Brescia (ITA) v VK Novi Beograd (SRB)

Group B (Friday)

17.00 Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

19.00 Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Pro Recco (ITA)

Group C (Saturday)

19.00 VK Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) v VK Jadran Split (CRO)

20.00 Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

Group D (Saturday)

18.00 Vouliagmeni NC (GRE) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP)

19.30 Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v CN Marseille (FRA)

Champions League Men

Facts&Figures before Day 2

Group A

Steaua Bucharest (ROU) v Astralpool CN Sabadell (ESP)

Day 1

STE: 7-19 v Novi Beograd (away)

SAB: 9-10 (pen) v Brescia (home)

Previous season

STE at home (in 2019): 1 W 0D 6L

SAB on the road: 2W 0D 5L

Head-to-head: 2-0

2017-18: 10-9, 11-10

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

Day 1

BRE: 10-9 (pen) v Sabadell (away)

NBG: 19-7 v Steaua (home)

Previous season

BRE at home: 7W 0D 0L

NBG on the road: 4W, 1D, 2L

Head-to-head: 1-3 (1d)

2022-23: 12-9, 9-11. 2021-22: 11-11, 13-16 (prelims), 13-14 (semi-final)

Group B

Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

Day 1

DIN: 6-15 v Recco (away)

OLY: 16-15 (pen) v Jug (home)

Previous season

DIN at home: 1W 0D 6L

OLY on the road: 4W 1D 2L

Head-to-head: 1-3

2022-23: 21-9, 19-10. 2021-22: 20-9, 11-12.

Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Pro Recco (ITA)

Day 1

JUG: 15-16 (pen) v Olympiacos (away)

REC: 15-6 v Dinamo (home)

Previous season

JUG at home: 3W, 2D, 2L

REC on the road: 6W 0D 1L

Head-to-head (since 2014): 3-7 (1d)

2021-22: 11-8, 0-10 (wo). 2020-21: 3-18, 11-12. 2017-18: 8-9 (semi-final). 2016-17: 5-9, 8-11 (prelims), 10-9 (semi-final). 2015-16: 6-14, 5-5 (prel), 15-14 (pen, semi-final)

Group C

VK Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) v VK Jadran Split (CRO)

Day 1

JHN: 7-9 v FTC (away)

JSP: 16-13 v Crvena Zvezda (home)

Previous season

JHN at home (in 2020, cancelled season): 2W 0D 3L

JSP on the road: 3W 0D 4L

Head-to-head: 2-0

2019-20: 14-11, 12-6

Crvena Zvezda (SRB) v FTC-Telekom Budapest (HUN)

Day 1

CRV: 13-16 v Jadran SP (away)

FTC: 9-7 v Jadran HN (home)

Previous season

CRV at home (in 2021): 1W, 1D, 5W

FTC on the road: 2W, 1D, 4L

Head-to-head: 0-2

2018-19: 6-15, 7-19

Group D

Vouliagmeni NC (GRE) v Zodiac CNA Barceloneta (ESP)

Day 1

VOU: 13-15 v Marseille (away)

BAR: 16-6 v Spandau (home)

Previous season

VOU at home: 3W 0D 4L

BAR on the road: 7W 0D 0L

Head-to-head: 0-3

2022-23: 7-11, 6-13 (prelims), 13-14 (pen, semi-final)

Spandau 04 Berlin (GER) v CN Marseille (FRA)

Day 1

SPA: 6-16 v Barceloneta (away)

MAR: 15-13 v Vouliagmeni (home)

Previous season

SPA at home: 2W 0D 5L

MAR on the road: 0W 0D 7L

Head-to-head: 1-4 (1d)

2022-23: 11-9, 7-14. 2021-22: 7-12, 7-13. 2020-21: 5-8, 7-7.