The Water Polo Champions League season got its picture following the preliminary round draw, performed in Dubrovnik for the second straight year, on Tuesday. It saw the pair of groups composed so that the guessing on the different roads to the Final Six, for the second and final time to be held in Budapest, can start off. Compared to last season it’s Szolnok who now run with the title of ‘technical host’ so that the Hungarian champion is automatically qualified leaving open just two spots in group A. Here the current European vice-champion Olympiacos is a fellow favourite while Spandau and wild card newcomer Olympic Nice will have to battle two winners of the 3-round qualification phase for that final spot to Budapest.
In group B a different story. Obviously because of the 3 available spots instead of 2 in group A, but also since it has the potential of becoming the strongest group. Current champion Jug Dubrovnik saw Italian champion Pro Recco being drawn into group B which also includes former winner and Spanish champion Barceloneta, as well as Serbia’s best Partizan. The latter team though is expected to be even younger than the years before and is present for the learning curve. With two possibly strong teams coming out of the qualification (winners A and C) group B could turn into a good battle for the Final Six, which is to be held from May 25-27 next year.
The qualification phase kicks off with round 1 in four weeks’ time, on September 30th, in four groups across Europe. The first preliminary round is scheduled to be played on November 30th.
Champions League 2016-2017
– Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
– Szolnok (HUN)
– Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin (GER)
– Olympic Nice (FRA)
– Winner QR III D
– Winner QR III B
– Jug Dubrovnik (CRO)
– Pro Recco (ITA)
– CN Atletic-Barceloneta (ESP)
– Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB)
– Winner QR III A
– Winner QR III C
* Champions League Final Six 2017 in Budapest (HUN) from May 25-27.
* Top 3 teams of each group qualify to Final Six
* Szolnok is automatically qualified to Final Six in Budapest as technical host, just 2 teams out of group A qualify to Final Six
* Group winners qualify to Final Six semifinals directly, remaining teams play quarterfinals on day 1 of Final Six
Qualification Round I to be played between 30th September and 2nd October 2016
Group A to be played in Oradea (ROU) – VK Mornar SPLIT (CRO) – Galatasaray SK ISTANBUL (TUR) – CSM Digi ORADEA (ROU) – UZSC UTRECHT (NED)
Group B to be played in Budapest (HUN) – OSC BUDAPEST (HUN) Waspo 98 HANNOVER 1898 (GER) ZPB BARENDRECHT (NED)
Group C to be played in Valletta (MLT) – PVK Jadran HERCEG NOVI (MNE) – Steaua BUCHAREST (ROU) – VALLETTA (MLT) – KS Arkonia SZCZECIN (POL)
Group D to be played in Porto (POR) – BPM Sport Management VERONA (ITA) – ENKA Sport Club (TUR) – Sintez KAZAN (RUS) – Clube Fluvial PORTUENSE (POR)
The first two (2) classified teams from each group of the Qualification Round I will be qualified to the Qualification Round II.
As per LEN regulation the best ranked teams of the 8 Federations having a wild card are directly qualified for the Champions League Qualification Round II to be played on 14th – 16th October.
According to the entries received the teams are: VK Primorje Erste Bank RIJEKA (CRO) – ASC DUISBURG (GER) – VOULIAGMENI NC (GRE) – CN MARSEILLE (FRA) ZF–EGER (HUN) – AN BRESCIA (ITA) – Crvena zvezda BELGRADE (SRB) – CN SABADELL (ESP).
Also held in Dubrovnik on Tuesday was the draw for the qualification opener of the Euro Cup tournament.
The results are as follows:
Euro Cup – Qualification Round I
Mladost Zagreb (CRO)
Montpellier (FRA) Pays d’Aix Natation (FRA)
Shturm 2002 (RUS)
FTC Budapest (HUN)
Bayer Uerdingen (GER)
POSK Split (CRO)
Canottieri Napoli (ITA)
Primorac Kotor (MNE)
Hornets Kosice (SVK)
Kinef Kirishi (RUS)
Posillipo Napoli (ITA)
OSC Potsdam (GER)
CN Terrassa (ESP)
First two seeded teams from each group will go through.