Three nations hold multiple chances for making the Final Six as two Hungarian, a German and an Italian team joined the main round after clearing the last hurdle in the qualification process. These three countries will have seven teams in the main round, featuring 12 clubs altogether.
Repeating their feat from last season, all three Hungarian entrants reached the main round: beside wild-card holder (and F6 host) Szolnok, Eger and OSC also made it as both went all the way in the qualifications.
The return matches in the third round didn’t generate real excitements, only OSC had some scary moments in Verona in the last minutes but the Magyars were never in real danger. They brought a four-goal advantage to Verona and held the lead throughout almost the entire game. At some stage, they were 7 up in aggregate and were still 9-11 ahead early in the fourth. Then Verona had a late 4-0 rush and was two goals away from forcing the duel into a penalty shootout. Still, despite netting seven in the last period, they couldn’t score any more in the last 1:27 minutes, and OSC could celebrate a second straight qualification to the main round.
The other three matches witnessed clean jobs from the big winners of the first leg. Eger (HUN) thrashed Primorje (CRO) two weeks ago in Rijeka, the return match was a mere formality and the Magyars rolled over the young Croats after a sluggish start.
Brescia enjoyed an easy cruise after its 9-goal demolition of Jadran in their first encounter. The two sides also met a year age in this stage, that time the Montenegrins ousted the Italian side, this time it was a totally different story, Jadran could only earn a consoling win.
Hannover reached the prelims for the first time in history. In the return leg Waspo didn’t let Oradea (ROU) smell blood at any stage of the return game. The visitors kept the happenings under firm control, they led a goal or two for most of the time before settling to a tie.
The losing sides can maintain their run at the European stage, though, the four teams will play in the Euro Cup quarterfinals.
Champions League, Qualification Round III – second leg
DiGi Oradea (ROU) v Waspo Hannover (GER) 11-11
Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) v AN Brescia 11-8
SM Verona (ITA) v OSC Budapest (HUN) 13-11
ZF Eger (HUN) v Primorje Rijeka (CRO) 11-5
Champions League – Main Round
Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
Szolnoki Dozsa-Kozgep (HUN)
Spandau 04 Berlin (GER)
Olympic Nice (FRA)
AN Brescia (ITA)
OSC Budapest (HUN)
Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO)
Pro Recco (ITA)
CN Barceloneta (ESP)
Partizan Belgrade (SRB)
Waspo Hannover (GER)
ZF Eger (HUN)
First round: 30 November 2016
Source and text: LEN Press Release.