Three games, all decided by one goal – Group B produced some real excitement in Budapest. Hanover came back from 3-6 to beat Dinamo Tbilisi 7-6 in the deciding game and joined the Final Eight field as the last on board. The Germans “returned” their guaranteed place when they had to cancel the organization of the event, now they are reserving their place in Belgrade on their own. After Brescia unexpectedly fell to Jadran, Barceloneta and Ferencvaros’ game decided Group B top spot and the Hungarians won at the end. In Group A, Olympiacos clinched third place after beating Marseille, while Jug restored some pride by forcing Recco into a big battle of prestige but couldn’t prevent the Italians from finishing with a 10 / 10 perfect.
Group A (Ostia), round 10: CC Ortigia (ITA) v Spandau 04 Berlin (GRE) 8-8, Olympiacos Piraeus (GRE) v CN Marseille (FRA) 11-7, Jug Adriatic Osiguranje Dubrovnik (CRO) v Pro Recco (ITA) 11-12
Final classification: 1. Recco 30, 2. Jug 19, 4. Olympiacos 14, 3. Marseille 13, 5. Spandau 6, 6. Ortigia 4
Group B (Budapest), round 9: Dinamo Tbilisi (GEO) v Waspo 98 Hannover (GER) 6-7, AN Brescia (ITA) v Jadran Herceg Novi (MNE) 6-7, Zodiac Atletic Barceloneta (ESP) v FTC-Telekom 7-8
Ranking: 1. Ferencvaros 21, 2. Barceloneta 21, 3. Brescia 18, 4. Hanover 9, 5. Dinamo 6, 6. Jadran 6
As the qualifications were determined before the last day of Group A, Round 10 had only one question to answer: who would finish third. Olympiacos came out on top in the decisive game against Marseille – the French were overwhelmed by their success while the Greeks at least tasted some success in this last tournament after a draw with Jug and a loss to Recco. The big blow came towards the end of the third when Olympiacos scored twice in 1:42 minutes for 8-5 and added a 9th early in the fourth to settle the score.
Previously, the two eliminated teams Ortigia and Spandau played a fine game that ended in a draw, while Jug did his best to throw the previous 3-18 into the shadows against Recco and the Croats now have showed their true quality. It was a big battle that could have gone both ways. Jug managed to take a 5-4 lead midway through the second, but Recco rebounded with a 0-3 push to go 5-7 at halftime. The Croats had some attacking problems in this phase, couldn’t score for 11:44 minutes, missed a few man-ups and a penalty in the third but at least they were able to neutralize Recco’s attacks too. Then all of a sudden they found the way to the net and used it three times in 63 seconds for 8-7. Recco was able to stop his scoreless run after 7:44 minutes, still in third so the final period started at 8-8.