Revenge time?

Home and away in two weeks time, in the midst of the preliminaries. The Champions League 5th and 6th round will see the same teams meeting in a critical phase of competition. And after round 5 last week, the situation in group A is getting more tied and interesting, while in group B the favourites start to extend the gap with the other teams in the standings. Apart from looking for wins because they'll get you points and bring you closer to your ambition, certain teams will seek revenge on Wednesday. Revenge because last week's result did not reflect their potential or just did not resulted in a win where that was necessary to keep up in the standings.

It will lead to a couple of interesting return match-ups. To start in Barcelona where Barceloneta welcomes Primorje. The Spanish champs needed a late penalty by Francisco Fernandez to force a 9-9 draw in Rijeka last week. Both teams are tied in group A where just 2 spots are available for the Final Six in Budapest. Therefore a win over fellow contenders could prove vital in the race for the top 2 positions. Barceloneta are unbeaten at home, drw level with Olympiacos 7-7 in round 4 but could be up for one of the most important matches of these prelims. For Primorje the situation is more or less the same. The reigning Regional league and Croatian champs were dissapointed by the late draw but will get another shot on Wednesday.

Holding on to the lead in the group will be Olympiacos who defeated Jadran 10-4 at home and now travel to Herceg Novi, again as the high favourites. After last week they top group A and will be looking to continue doing so with another victory over Jadran while contenders Barceloneta and Primorje meet in Barcelona. For Eger, current 3rd seed, but already sure of the Final Six, the challenge is there as they visit Spandau in Berlin. The solid 10-7 win over the Germans last week will quickly be erased from the memories knowing Spandau is performing very well at home. Olympiacos and Primorje could not win in the Schöneberg pool so Eger know what they are up to, despite being the favourites.

Meanwhile in group B the focus shifts to Szolnok where powerhouses Pro Recco and Szolnok meet again. Another shot for the Hungarian champs in trying to stop Recco's unbeaten run and status. They looked well underway last week in Sori going up 0-5 in sharp-shooting opening period performance. It took the defending champions until late in the 3rd quarter before the score was turned around and the lead was grabbed before pushing through to a 14-11 victory. Now Szolnok will be at home in a sell-out Water Polo Arena. Another great ocassion for the neutral water polo fan to watch the world's best players, including 7 recent European champions, in action after last week's action was already mouth-watering.

For Galatasaray and Partizan, the key word will be bouncing back. The Serbs face favourites Jug Dubrovnik at home in Belgrade after a 12-4 defeat last week. Difference could be that top scorer Gravil Subotic missed on that action and is expected to return on Wednesday at home.
Galatasaray was controlled by OSC in Budapest last week falling 13-4 but will get their try to improve when matching up with OSC at home this time. Quiet nights from Mladjan Janovic and Slobodan Nikic (each scoreless) last week in Budapest will have to be bettered in order for the Turkish champs to stand up to the scoring of OSC, and especially Bence Batori who went for 4 goals last week.

Champions League 2015-2016
Preliminary phase

Day 6

Wednesday, February 10:

18.00: Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade (SRB) vs. Jug CO Dubrovnik (CRO)
19.00: Jadran Carine Herceg Novi (MNE) vs. Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)
19.15: CN Atletic-Barceloneta (ESP) vs. Primorje EB Rijeka (CRO)
19.30: Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin (GER) vs. ZF-Eger (HUN)
20.00: Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR) vs. OSC (HUN)
20.00: Szolnoki VSK (HUN) vs. Pro Recco (ITA)

N.b.: time mentioned is local time.

Current standings

Group A:

1. Olympiacos Piraeus 5 - 9 pts
2. Primorje EB Rijeka 5 - 8
3. ZF-Eger 5 - 8
4. CN Atletic-Barceloneta 5 - 8
5. Wasserfreunde Spandau Berlin 5 - 3
6. Jadran Carine Herceg Novi 5 - 2

Group B:

1. Pro Recco 5 - 15 pts
2. Jug CO Dubrovnik 5 - 12
3. Szolnoki VSK 5 - 9
4. Partizan Raiffeisen Belgrade 5 - 6
5. OSC 5 - 3
6. Galatasaray Istanbul 5 - 0

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