venerdì 1 maggio 2015

Battle for group B top spot, last Final Six ticket

The long ten-round Champions League preliminary phase will come to its conclusion on Saturday when the final day of competition will be played. And an exciting finish it is promised to be with two major focus points. The battle for the top spot in group B, and direct Final Six semifinal qualification, between current leader Szolnok and Croatian 2nd seed Primorje who lost the first match-up in Hungary on day 1 with a narrow margin (13-12) so know what to do on Saturday at home in the battle between two title contenders. But in the field of participants for the Final Six, late may in Barcelona, still one more spot is at stake. And with the Hungarian champion ZF-Eger as main candidate to take it out of group A, Greek powerhouse Olympiacos still have a chance if the Hungarian squad will be unable to beat or draw level with Final Six hosts Barceloneta in their head-to-head match. The Greek side meanwhile host Italian runners-up Brescia who, although eliminated from the Final Six race, showed their class in a 12-4 blowout win over Barceloneta in the penultimate round two weeks ago. 

The winner in group A though is already determined in Italian giant Pro Recco who takes on Radnicki at home to close out their prelims capaign and complete a successful unbeaten run so far going on to the Final Six race; the stage to erase the disappointing memory of last year's Final Six where Recco lost a quarterfinal match-up to a young Partizan team on penalties only to finish the tournament 6th and last. This time though the expectations are rather higher as the team is showing off a dominancy that reminds back to the 2012 season where the Italian champion cruised to the European championship at the Final Four which was played in Oradea, Romania.

Elsewhere on Saturday Jug Dubrovnik, currently placed 3rd in group B, host German competitor Spandau who scared the Croatian favourites in their previous match-up, in Berlin, Germany on day 1 when Jug came away with a late but close 8-9 victory. No such thing is expected to happen on Saturday though as Jug is proved to be a more and more solid group of players gearing up for the anticipated finals series of the domestic play-offs while seemingly comfortable beating Partizan 13-6 two weeks ago on day 9 of these prelims. In Istanbul home side Galatasaray takes on Partizan in an attempt to finish this year's Champions League campaign with two wins, while Partizan is looking for its third. The Serbian side is in the midst of a heavy battle with rivals Red Star for a spot in the Serbian play-offs finals with the all-decisive third game to be played next Wednesday at home so will know where their priorities are at this moment with the qualification race for the Final Six already decided in group B a long time.

Champions League 2014-2015
Preliminary round

Day 10

Saturday, 2 May

16.15: ZF-Eger (HUN) vs. CN Atletic-Barceloneta (ESP)
17.00: Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO) vs. Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin (GER)
17.15: Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) vs. AN Brescia (ITA)
18.05: Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO) vs. Szolnoki VSK (HUN)
20.00: Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR) vs. Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB)
20.30: Pro Recco (ITA) vs. VK Radnicki Kon Tiki Kragujevac (SRB)

N.b.: time mentioned is local time.

The current standings are:

Group A
1. Pro Recco 9 - 27 pts
2. ZF-Eger 9 - 13
3. C.N. Atletic-Barceloneta 9 - 11
4. Olympiacos Piraeus 9 - 10
5. VK Radnicki Kragujevac 9 - 9
6. AN Brescia 9 - 8

Group B
1. Szolnoki VSK 9 - 24 pts
2. Primorje EB Rijeka 9 - 21
3. Jug CO Dubrovnik 9 - 19
4. Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade 9 - 6
5. Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin 9 - 6
6. Galatasaray Istanbul 9 - 4

* Hosts Barceloneta automatically qualified for Final Six (28-30 May in Barcelona)
* Top 2 (ex Barceloneta, group A) and top 3 (group B) qualify for Final Six.
* Group winners advance to Final Six semifinals directly.

Final Six tickets available here.

Pictured: Szolnok's Tamas Mezei and Primorje's Petar Muslim battling for a good position during the teams Champions League prelims day 1 match-up.

0 commenti:

Posta un commento