Dubrovnik, home of Jug, one of the most decorated clubs in European water polo, hosted the draw for the Champions League preliminaries. This time the eight wild card- holder sides waited the outcome in excitement. Before the draw was made, representatives of the clubs gathered for a meeting where they discussed how the world’s most prestigious water polo club competition can be further improved. LEN Sports&Office Manager Marco Birri has praised the joint efforts of the clubs and LEN to lift the level of the Champions League and its environment.

Live TV-coverage of almost each game in the prelims, special branding in the pools, dedicated website with live scoring and better media services were all contributed to the growing popularity of the Champions League. “These parts have all become essential in the League, now we have a firm base to move forward and to make the Champions League even more successful” Marco Birri said.

The third season, run in the new format, will again see 10 rounds in the preliminaries with the Final Six tournament at the end, this time hosted by Budapest, again in the Mecca of water polo, on the Margaret Island (where last year’s European Championships were also staged). This year Hungary’s wild-card holder Eger enjoys the benefits of automatic qualification for the F6, however, they insisted on attempting to make the finals by finishing in the top 3 of their group.

In fact they face a tough but manageable task: just as in the last occasion, they will meet Barceloneta (ESP) and Olympiacos (GRE) and this time Spandau is also part of this group. The other has Pro Recco (ITA), Jug (CRO), Partizan (SRB) and Galatasaray (TUR) – that last three also battled hard for the qualifying spots in the previous season.

There was a change among the wild card-holder sides: Brescia gave up the opportunity to start in the prelims as they are building a brand new team with plenty of youngsters. Italy’s wild card was offered for the Champions League title-holder Pro Recco which accepted it, this is why Recco already appears in the draw.

The Champions League season kicks off in the first weekend of September with Round 1 of the qualifications. Two more stages will follow, the four winning sides of Round 3 will join the eight wild card-holders. The first round of the prelims is due on 28 October while the Final Six is scheduled for 2-4 June 2016.

The draw for the Euro Cup’s first qualification round was also made in Dubrovnik. Interestingly, the two Hungarian participants and the two Russian sides were drawn together in the respective groups.

Champions League – Draw for the Preliminaries

Group A

CNA Barceloneta (ESP)

ZF Eger (HUN)

Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE)

Spandau 04 (GER)

Winner of QF1

Winner of QF3

Group B

Pro Recco (ITA)

Jug Dubrovnik (CRO)

Partizan Belgrade (SRB)

Galatasaray Istanbul (TUR)

Winner of QF2

Winner of QF4

Euro Cup – Qualification Round 1

Group A (to be played Budapest)

Acquachiara Naples (ITA)

SSV Esslingen (GER)

Primorac Kotor (CRO)

FTC Budapest (HUN)

ASPTT Strasbourg (FRA)

Diapolo Szeged (HUN)

Group B (to be played in Split)

Mornar Brodospas (CRO)

Sintez Kazan (RUS)

Olympique Nice (FRA)

Donk Gouda (NED)

Canottieri Napoli (ITA)

Kinef Kirishi (RUS)

The first four seeded teams from each group will qualify for Round 2.


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