Hungarian water polo team to play host to world’s best in 2017
2017 promises to be a busy year for Hungarian water polo. Already in January club sides will be playing European matches, the men’s and women’s OB I championships also recommence this month, in May Budapest will play host to the Champions League Final Six for the second year running, and then in the summer the World Aquatics Championships are coming.
The most prestigious event taking place this year is the FINA World Aquatics Championships, to be held in Budapest and Balatonfüred between 14th and 30th July. The water polo competition will be held at the Hajós Swimming Complex. Margitsziget will thus play host to the world’s best with men’s Olympic champions Serbia and women’s champions USA among the competitors. The water polo will take place between the 16th and 29th July with the women’s final being held on the 28th and the men’s final one day later. Both Hungary’s men and women are in with a shout of a medal, and the atmosphere promises to be electric.
The Masters World Championship follows (between 7th and 20th August), with recent greats taking to the water, whilst in late May the Champions League Final Six will take place in Budapest, not at the Hajós complex but at the brand-new Dagály Swimming Complex which will also play host to the World Championship swimming events. There may well be as many as three Hungarian sides taking part, whereas last year’s Final Six at the Hajós Complex saw Croatians Jug Dubrovnik victorious, Szolnok come third and Eger sixth.
There are still seven rounds to go in the Champions League group stage with some tough matches ahead for Szolnok, Eger and OSC. Ferencváros have made the last four of the Euro Cup and take on Montenegrins Jadran Herceg Novi in January and February and have one eye on the final which will be held on 22nd March and 5th April with Verona or Oradea providing the other finalists.
Three women’s sides are also still involved in European competition, UVSE, Dunaújváros and BVSC all playing in the Euro League qualifying round between 13th and 15th January for a place in the last eight. The winning quarterfinalists will compete in the Euro League Final Four whereas the four losers will go forward into the Euro Cup Final Four. UVSE are among the favourites but Dunaújváros and BVSC could also make it into the last eight.
The Women’s OB I championship recommences on 7th January and the men’s on the 14th, with the play-offs scheduled for April and May as we find out if Szolnok (in the men’s)and UVSE (in the women’s) can retain their titles.
Tamás Märcz will make his debut as coach of the Hungarian national team at the Volvo Cup (10th-12th February), whilst Attila Bíró’s women’s start the year with against Italy in a key World League qualifier.
Provisional fixture calendar for 2017
January 13–15: Women’s Euro League qualifiers
Group A (Sabadell): Sabadell (Spain), Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia), BVSC, Vouliagmeni (Greece)
Group C (Piraeus): Olympiakos: Olympiakos (Greece), Dunaújváros, Utrecht (Holland), Lille UC (France)
Group D (Messina): UVSE, Padova (Italy), Leiden (Holland), Messina (Italy)
January 18: Eger–Hannover (Germany), OSC–Brescia (Italy), Szolnok–Nice (France), Men’s Champions League, group-stage matches
Jadran Herceg Novi (Montenegro)–Ferencváros, Men’s Euro Cup, semi-final 1st leg
January 24: Hungary–Italy, Women’s World League
February 8: Barceloneta (Spain)–Eger, Olympiakos (Greece)–OSC, Szolnok–Spandau (Germany), Men’s Champions League, group-stage matches
February 10–12: Volvo Cup (men’s international tournament)
February 18: Eger–Barceloneta (Spain), OSC–Olympiakos (Greece), Spandau (Germany)–Szolnok, Men’s Champions League, group-stage matches; Ferencváros–Jadran Herceg Novi (Montenegro), Men’s Euro Cup, semi-final 2nd leg
February 21: Hungary–France, Women’s World League
February 25: Women’s Euro League, quarter-final 1st leg
March 1: Hannover (Germany)–Eger, Brescia (Italy)–OSC, Nice (France)–Szolnok, Men’s Champions League, group-stage matches
March 11: Women’s Euro League, quarter-final 2nd leg
March 22: Recco (Italy)–Eger, OSC–Spandau (Germany), Szolnok–Brescia (Italy), Men’s Champions League, group-stage matches
April 5: Eger–Partizan (Serbia), Olympiakos (Greece)–Szolnok, OSC–Nice (France), Men’s Champions League, group-stage matches
April 14–15: Women’s Euro Cup Final Four
April 19: Italy–Hungary, Women’s World League
April 26: Eger–Dubrovnik (Croatia), Szolnok–OSC, Men’s Champions League, group-stage matches
April 28–29: Women’s Euro League Final Four
May 25–27: Men’s Champions League Final Six, Dagály Swimming Complex, Budapest
June 6–11: Women’s World League, Super Final
June 20–25: Men’s World League, Super Final
July 14–30: 17. FINA World Championship, Budapest
August 7–20: 17. FINA Masters World Championship, Budapest
August 20–27: Women’s Junior European Championship, Belgrade
September 3–9: Women’s Junior World Championship, Volos
September 10–17: Men’s Junior European Championship, Gzira, Malta