Crowd of twenty thousand expected at new Duna Aréna
Photos: Dávid Madar
Hungarian Water Polo Federation President Dénes Kemény declared at Wednesday’s opening Final Six press conference that with Hungary once again hosting Europe’s most prestigious club water polo event, it shows how much good work is being done for the sport. He also spoke about the feeling of pride being amplified with it being the first large event to take place at the newly built Duna Aréna.
LEN Treasurer and organising committee member for the World Championships in July, Tamás Gyárfás emphasised that he was all for the Final Six being the first large international event to be held at the Duna Aréna.
MVLSZ Secretary General Balázs Nemcsik said that he considers the most important task to be that of filling the Duna Aréna. Based on ticket sales so far it would appear that there will be more spectators present for the opening day than the five thousand who where were for last year’s final at the Hajós pool on Margitsziget, whilst more than nine thousand briefs have already been sold for Saturday. The Duna Aréna has a capacity of 12,800.
Thursday’s opening match sees a re-run of last year’s final with Olympiakos taking on title-holders Jug Dubrovnik. Jug sporting director Ognjen Kržić spoke of his side achieving a miracle last year and that it will be exceedingly hard for them to repeat last year’s success.
Olympiakos head coach Theodoros Vlachos declared that it felt fantastic to once again be appearing in the capital city of water polo. He said that his team were extremely close to triumphing last time round and that they’d be taking it step-by-step this year. He remarked that the game against Jug would likely be decided by the finer aspects.
Thursday’s other match sees Eger take on Brescia. Head coach Norbert Dabrowski said that he was “extremely proud that his team is once again among the top six sides”, and that even though Szolnok are probably bored of meeting them, his side was looking forward immensely to meeting their largest domestic rivals in the semi-final. Opponents Brescia weren’t represented at the press conference.
Pro Recco were represented by Vice-president and Italian water polo legend Eraldo Pizzo. A gold medal winner at the 1960 Rome Olympics, Pizzo said that an earlier injury to goalkeeper Stefano Tempesti had affected the team recently, but with Tempesti fit once more the team was looking good in winning the Italian championship, which has a similar structure to the Final Six.
Zoltán Kosz, assistant coach of Hungarian champions Szolnok, spoke confidently about the team playing every week in the world’s strongest league against opponents such as Eger and OSC, and said that the players were simply itching to go.
The Duna Aréna will be officially opened as part of Saturday’s programme, prior to the 3rd place play-off which commences at 15:15.
Tickets for the Final Six are still available, and can be purchased online at jegyed.hu.
LEN Champions League Final Six, Duna Aréna, Budapest
Thursday 25 May – quarter-finals:
Olympiakos–Jug Dubrovnik, 19:00
ZF-Eger–AN Brescia, 20:30
Friday 26 May – semi-finals
5th place play-off, 17:30
Olympiakos/Jug Dubrovnik-Pro Recco, 19:00
ZF-Eger/AN Brescia-Szolnoki Dózsa-Közgép, 20:30
Saturday 27 May
3rd place play-off, 15:15