Champions League

Red Star and Mladost get wild cards for Champions League

Milos Cuk
Milos Cuk signed for Mladost in June Photo: David Damnjanovic.

LEN announced a list of clubs which got wild cards for the 2018/19 Champions League Preliminary round.

According to the regulations, established in 2017, the 12 teams which have the wild cards are directly qualified for the Preliminary Round. There are two newcomers in the circle of the 12 clubs. Their debuts in the current format of the Champions League (introduced in 2013) will make two former European champions Crvena Zvezda (Red Star) from Serbia and Mladost Zagreb (Croatia). They will replace Partizan, the champion of Serbia, and AZC Alphen (The Netherlands)

Partizan, the seven-time winner in the Champions League (named Champions Cup earlier) will miss the strongest water polo club competition for the first time since 2006. The club withdrew from the Champions League and it will enter the Euro Cup. Partizan is the most decorated Serbian club of all times. It has seven European titles (1963/64, 1965/66, 1966/67, 1970/71, 1974/75, 1975/76, 2010/11), two trophies in the LEN Super Cup, one Cup winners’ cup and one LEN Trophy. But the club has had a lot of financial and some other troubles in the last few years. Partizan ended the 2018/19 Champions League with no points.

The 2012/13 Champions League winner Red Star has similar problems. Six players have left the club since the end of the previous season, but Red Star decided to compete in the hard and strong Champions League,

Mladost was in the big crisis a few years ago, but it overcame troubles and returned on the right track.The seven-times European champion, has brought several excellent players this summer.

AZC Alphen didn’t manage to win a single point in the 2017/18 Champions League, as well as Partizan. The Dutch will start from the Qualification Round 1.

Besides Red Star and Mladost, wild cards have: title holder Olympiacos (Greece), Jug (Croatia), Pro Recco (Italy), Szolnok (Hungary), Eger (Hungary), Barceloneta (Spain), Dynamo Moscow (Russia), Spandau 04 (Germany), Hannover 1898 (Germany) and Steaua (Romania).

The draw for the qualifications for the 2018/19 Champions League and for the LEN Euro Cup was staged in Glasgow today.

Eleven teams, split into two groups, will compete in the Champions League Qualification Round 1. The first four classified teams from each group of the Qualification Round I will advance to the Qualification Round 2.  According to the competition rules, the best-ranked teams of the 9 federations having clubs with wild cards are directly qualified for the Qualification Round 2. These clubs are Jadran Split (Croatia), Sabadell (Spain), Potsdam (Germany), Vouliagmeni (Greece), Ferencvaros (Hungary), Brescia (Italy), CSM Digi Oradea (Romania) and Sintez Kazan (Russia). Serbia didn’t sign up its second club for the Champions League (it should be Sabac).

2018/19 LEN Champions League

1st Qualification Round (September 14th – 16th )

Group A (Brasov, Romania): Sport Management (Italia), Corona Brasov (Romania), Pays D’Aix (France), Tbilisi (Georgia), Enka spor Istanbul (Turkey), Dynamo Lviv (Ukraine).

Group B (Strasbourg, France):Terrassa (Spain), Jadran Herceg Novi (Montenegro), Alphen (The Netherlands), Strasbourg (France), Valletta (Malta).

2nd Qualification Round (September 28th-30th)

16 teams will be split into 4 groups. Teams ranked 1 – 4 in the groups of the 1st round will join Jadran Split (Croatia), Sabadell (Spain), Postdam (Germany), Vouliagmeni (Greece), Ferencvaros (Hungary), Brescia (Italy), CSM Digi Oradea (Romania), Sintez Kazan (Russia).

3rd Qualification Round

Teams ranked 1st and 2nd in each group of the 2nd Round will advance to the 3rd Qualification Round. Winners of four home-away encounters will qualify for the Preliminary Round.

Preliminary Round (Starts on October 17th)

Jug Croatia Osiguranje Dubrovnik (Croatia)
HAVK Mladost Zagreb (Croatia) – newcomer
Club Natacio Barceloneta (Spain)
Wasserfreunde Spandau 04 Berlin (Germany)
Waspo Hannover 1898 (Germany)
Olympiacos SF Pireaus (Greece) – title holder
ZF Eger (Hungary)
Szolnoki VSC (Hungary)
Pro Recco (Italy) – as a tehncical host already qualified for the Final Eight
Steaua Bucharest (Romania)
Dynamo Moscow (Russia)
BVK Crvena Zvezda Belgrade (Serbia) – newcomer
4 clubs from the Qualification Round 3


Qualification Round 1 (September 28th – 30th)

15 teams enter the 2018/19 LEN Euro Cup. In the first phase they are split into four groups.

Group A (Rijeka): OSC Budapest (Hungary), Partizan Belgrade (Serbia), ASC Duisburg (Germany), Primorje Rijeka (Croatia).
Group B (Savona): Savona (Italy), Marseille (France), Mornar Split (Croatia), Neukolln Berlin (Germany).
Group C (Barcelona): BVSC Budapest (Hungary), Olympic Nice (France), Barcelona (Spain) .
Group D (Ydra): Ortigia (Italy), Nais (Serbia), Primorac Kotor (Montenegro), Ydriakos Ydra (Greece).

The first two teams from each group will qualify to the Round 2. They will be split into two groups. The teams which won places 1 and 2 in each group will advance to the Round 3 where they will face the losers of duels in the Champions League Qualification Round 3.

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