This weekend a new season of Europe’s top-tier club competition gets underway with the first qualification round, played in four groups across Europe. As the top 2 teams of each group will advance to the second round fireworks are only expected in few cases this weekend. A young Galatasaray squad, who saw foreigners goalie Milos Scepanovic, center Slobodan Nikic, driver Vjekoslav Paskovic and shooter Mladjan Janovic saying goodbye this summer, will be curious to see what it can do in Oradea, Romania where the home side and two-time Euro Cup semifinalist Mornar are the favourites. In a small group B, with only three teams, host OSC (Hungary’s number three) and German top team Waspo 98 Hannover (with the addition of Darko Brguljan) are eyeing preliminary phase participation, with Dutch runner-up ZPB having to face both sides in Budapest this weekend. The final match of the weekend, with OSC facing Waspo promises to be a good encounter, though.
Meanwhile, in Porto, Portugal the Russian squad of Sintez Kazan and Italy’s BPM Sport Management are to battle it out for the top spot in the group, that is completed by ENKA Istanbul and home side CF Portuense. Both favourites will be looking past the qualification phase to display their ambitions in the Champions League, and especially the Italians look to have the roster that can make it happen this season. In Malta, it also looks to be pretty clear which teams are likely to advance with Montenegro’s Jadran Herceg Novi and Romania’s top side Steaua Bucharest in the role of favourites. For Poland newcomers Arkonia Szczecin and a selection from Malta playing in front of the home fans, it remains to be seen what they’re capable of playing the established sides of Jadran and Steaua.
Champions League 2016-2017
Qualification Round 1
Day 1 – Friday, September 30:
Group A (in Oradea, Romania)
17.30: VK Mornar Split (CRO) vs. Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR)
19.00: CSM Digi Oradea (ROU) vs. UZSC (NED)
Group B (in Budapest, Hungary)
19.00: OSC (HUN) vs. ZPB Barendrecht (NED)
Group C (in Porto, Portugal)
18.30: Sintez Kazan (RUS) vs. ENKA (TUR)
20.00: CF Portuense (POR) vs. BPM Sport Management (ITA)
Group D (in Valletta, Malta)
18.00: Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) vs. Steaua Bucharest (ROU)
19.15: KS Arkonia Szczecin (POL) vs. Valletta (MLT)
Day 2 – Saturday, October 1:
17.30: UZSC vs. VK Mornar Split
19.00: CSM Digi Oradea vs. Galatasaray Istanbul
19.00: ZPB Barendrecht vs. Waspo 98 Hannover (GER)
17.00: BPM Sport Management vs. Sintez Kazan
18.30: CF Portuense vs. ENKA
18.00: Steaua Bucharest vs. Valletta
19.15: Jadran Carine Herceg Novi vs. KS Arkonia Szczecin
Day 3 – Sunday, October 2:
10.00: Galatasaray Istanbul vs. UZSC
11.30: CSM Digi Oradea vs. VK Mornar Split
11.00: OSC vs. Waspo 98 Hannover
10.00: ENKA vs. BPM Sport Management
11.30: CF Portuense vs. Sintez Kazan
09.30: KS Arkonia Szczecin vs. Steaua Bucharest
10.45: Valletta vs. Jadran Carine Herceg Novi
N.b.: time mentioned is local time.
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).
– 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.
Follow the scores and results throughout the weekend here.