mercoledì 4 marzo 2015

Day 6 of the preliminary phase in the Champions League

Day 6 of the preliminary phase in the Champions League will serve as an excellent opportunity to those who had to suffer a defeat on day 5. More particular, in the anticipated national derbies that marked the final day of the first half of the prelims, three weeks ago. On Wednesday the sides will get their shot at revenge. In the highlights Brescia plays host to Pro Recco to whom they lost two times in recent times falling 8-5 on day 5 in the Champions League and more recently, with the same final score, in the Italian cup final last weekend, also at Recco's home pool in Sori. Apart from the rivalry the points could be another welcome feature for Brescia who currently hold the 4th spot in group A but realise who quickly things can change in the close and highly competitive group. For Recco, they virtually have already secured their participation in this year's Final Six tournament in Barcelona, late May, as they are still perfect after 5 rounds thus far. 

Another anticipated match-up is the one in Dubrovnik, Croatia where Jug, and their newly appointed head coach Vjekoslav Kobescak will be looking to make up for the 10-5 loss to Primorje in Rijeka on day 5, this time facing their domestic rivals in front of the home crowd. But the Champions League evening gets underway in Belgrade where Partizan will also be trying to shake off the memory of a disappointing 8-6 loss to Spandau three weeks ago. The young Vladimir Vujasinovic coached side looks to be undergoing a unsuccessful streak and perhaps a win over the German record champion could turn things around for the Serbs. Another cracker is being played in Hungary as ZF-Eger takes on Radnicki, the current 2nd seed and 3rd ranked side of group A squaring off. Both are in pretty good form recently with Radnicki coming off a nice 7-7 draw with Jug Dubrovnik in the regional league last weekend. Eger meanwhile won their last two domestic league games but in mid-February fell to fellow competitors OSC 4-5 so now hold 3rd place on the table. In the Champions League however things still look good for the Hungarian champions who are up for what is likely to turn out to be a pivotal match-up at home hosting Radnicki. A win could very much get them in a beautiful position to make it to the Final Six, despite still 4 more rounds are to be played after Wednesday.

Elsewhere Szolnok enjoys the favourite role visiting Istanbul to take on Galatasaray. Even the slightest underestimation by the Hungarians will be kicked out their minds after the sides' last meeting where the Turkish squad played along nicely in the first half before a furious rally in the third period by Szolnok decided the outcome but once again confirmed that Galatasaray holds enough talent on its roster to make life hard for any team, especially when playing in Istanbul.

And finally Barceloneta, coming off a nice Spanish cup victory over the weekend, face Olympiacos at home in what is particularly an important game for the Greek powerhouse who, after two straight losses on day 4 and 5, are in need of a victory to stay alive in the group. And with the 7-9 loss to the reigning champions in Piraeus still in their minds, it remains interesting to see what the possible revenge feelings will bring them in Wednesday's critical match-up.

Champions League 2014-2015
Preliminary round

Day 6

Wednesday, 4 March:

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

The current standings are:

Group A
1. Pro Recco 5 - 15 pts
2. ZF-Eger 5 - 7
3. VK Radnicki Kragujevac 5 - 6
4. AN Brescia 5 - 5
5. C.N. Atletic-Barceloneta 5 - 5
6. Olympiacos Piraeus 5 - 4

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

N.b.: times mentioned are local time.

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