martedì 10 febbraio 2015

Derbies mark Champions League day 5

Two local derbies highlight the matches on day 5 of the Champions League group stage, played this Wednesday. Croatian rivals Primorje and Jug will square off for the second time within a week while in Sori, Italy Pro Recco faces main Italian rival AN Brescia for another cracking match-up in group A. For Primorje and Jug, both in the top half of group B with the Dubrovnik based side holding an unbeaten record after 4 rounds, the match-up is a familiar one and much anticipated after Primorje defeated Jug in the Regional league 16th round in Dubrovnik last Saturday. There the two-time reigning champions are still unbeaten, but now in the Champions League face an excellent opportunity for the top spot in group B, which now belongs to Jug who held off Szolnok 11-9 on day 4 to remain sole leaders. After Primorje's 13-12 loss to Szolnok on opening day, the Croatian champions can now recover things by a possible win over Jug at home. And with Paulo Obradovic as former Primorje player and long-time Jug prodigy Sandro Sukno wearing Primorje's colours, this match-ups continues to be a tense one with a victory meaning a lot more than just three points in the standings. 

A second derby to be played on Wednesday will feature Italian rivals Pro Recco and Brescia. The two sides in last year's edition of the Champions League Final Six tournament battled for the 5th and 6th place with Brescia taking 5th, but also squared off for the Italian championship, a battle won by reigning champions Pro Recco. This year the Recco side is strengthened even more and is considered red-hot favourite for the European title. So far things are going according to plan with Recco leading group A undefeated after 4 rounds. In the domestic league however it is Brescia holding a perfect record and thus leading, even over 2nd placed Pro Recco after a head-to-head duel saw Brescia prevailing 7-6 back in round 8. Despite Brescia's rough start to this year's group stage campaign a 9-6 win over Radnicki on day 4 fuelled the team's ranking to 5 points and 3rd place in group A as 2nd seed Eger is still in sight. Another win over Recco, although this time at Recco's home, could be of great value considering the current standings in the close group A. However on the side of the reigning Italian champions nothing but a win is expected out of the all-star calibre squad. It would not only maintain their unbeaten status, but moreover confirm theirs of title favourites even more.

In other games Olympiacos hosts reigning European champions Barceloneta in another tough one for the Spanish side. Their campaign has been disappointed so far. For Olympiacos the demand for points has also risen after the close 10-9 loss to Eger on day 4. A home game against a Barceloneta side that so far had just gained 2 points seems to be the perfect opportunity for the Greek powerhouse. But Barceloneta should be even more eager to prove they belong on the stage of the Final Six stage they will host for a 2nd consecutive time. After doing so and shaking up their group in last year's edition, which ended in a well-deserved title, the perspective is rather different this time. But with still 5 more rounds to go there's time to change.

Another close call could be expected in Kragujevac where Radnicki takes on Hungarian champions Eger. A daunting task for the home side but at the same time, perhaps their final chance of playing along in group A. Eger however look to be more and more in their comfort zone recently as the team all of sudden is in 2nd place behind Recco after topping Olympiacos 10-9 in a big win in round 4 while also heavily chasing domestic league leaders Szolnok back home in Hungary. Radnicki will meet familiar faces in current Eger top shooter Milos Cuk (former Partizan) and also lefthander Boris Vapenski (former Red Star) who are proved their strength for the Hungarian side so far. For the home team their 12-7 win over Barceloneta should not only boost their confidence but also confirm what the young side is capable off facing Europe's premier teams. 

Elsewhere in group B Partizan faces a must-win situation visiting Berlin for a match-up with German record champions Spandau. The Germans are still pointless and with Partizan just having gained 3 so far, adding these with 3 more is not only a nice feature but simply necessary to not lose 3rd place in group B out of sight definitely. With a win over Galatasaray under their belt, it's time for the young Vladimir Vujasinovic coached side to prove their a legitimate contender for that 3rd spot.
In Hungary meanwhile joint 2nd seed Szolnok takes on Galatasaray in another situation of the points being needed to stay in contention for the current Hungarian league leaders. The Turkish champions defeated Spandau 11-8 on day 4 for their only win so far and can be considered underdogs in this match-up in Hungary. With Szolnok's main 2 rivals in the group going head-to-head, they might turn out to be the laughing third party after day 5. Again nothing but a win at home on Wednesday is expected in that case.

Champions League 2014-2015
Preliminary round

Day 5

Wednesday, 11 February:

17.00: Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) vs. C.N. Atletic-Barceloneta (ESP)
18.00: VK Radnicki Kragujevac (SRB) vs. ZF-Eger (HUN)
18.50: Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO) vs. Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO)
19.00: Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin (GER) vs. Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB)
19.00: Szolnoki VSK (HUN) vs. Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR)
20.30: Pro Recco (ITA) vs. AN Brescia (ITA)

The current standings are:

Group A
1. Pro Recco 4 - 12 pts
2. ZF-Eger 4 - 7
3. AN Brescia 4 - 5
4. Olympiacos Piraeus 4 - 4
5. VK Radnicki Kragujevac 4 - 3
6. C.N. Atletic-Barceloneta 4 - 2

Group B
1. Jug CO Dubrovnik 4 - 12 pts
2. Szolnoki VSK 4 - 9
3. Primorje EB Rijeka 4 - 9
4. Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade 4 - 3
5. Galatasaray Istanbul 4 - 3
6. Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin 4 - 0

N.b.: times mentioned are local time.

0 commenti:

Posta un commento