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30/10/2013 21:46
Zaksa celebrates hard-fought five-set victory in Friedrichshafen
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men

Friedrichshafen, Germany, October 30, 2013. After losing to Knack ROESELARE a week ago in Belgium, Germany’s VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN lost also its second game in preliminary Pool G of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men to last year’s fourth-placed Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE of Poland (22-25, 25-15, 18-25, 25-19, and 20-22).
VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN played their first home game at the ZF Arena against Zaksa surrounded by a great atmosphere and cheered by 1,800 fans. The best scorer in the end for the likes of VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN was Valentin Bratoev with 27 points while Grzegorz Bociek registered 24 for Zaksa in their winning effort.

VfB started the game as good as possible. Baptiste Geiler got Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE in trouble with an ace (1:0). However, after that good start FRIEDRICHSHAFEN struggled to find their best play. After mistakes by his side and an excellent serving turn by Jurij Gladyr for Zaksa home head coach Stelian Moculescu had to take his time-outs early in the set (1:4, 4:10) to try to change things for VfB. The home guys fought their way back into the game (20:22) serving strong and showing good blocks but Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE could keep their early lead and finished the set at 22-25.  

Both teams started out very strong in the second set. At the first technical time-out (8:7) the score was still very close. It was Geiler again to put pressure on the Polish defense. KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE couldn’t attack as hard as they had done in the first set whereas VfB showed a lot of good actions in defense and forced Zaksa mentor Sebastian Swiderski to call a time-out (12:9). Rallies with good plays on both sides followed but mostly with a happy end for the home side. With aces from Baptiste Geiler and Viktor Yosifov combined with a brilliant defense work by their libero Jenia Grebennikov, the “Häfler” cashed the second set with a comfortable 25-15.  

The match was very close also in the early phases of the third set (6:8). However, after the first technical time-out VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN suffered a drop of concentration. A few mistakes brought KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE back into the leading position (7:12). Ventceslav Simeonov came in for Christian Dünnes but without any effects (10:16). KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE improved in attacking and blocking, while the home guys kept fighting but didn’t find the right way to stop the run of their opponents (18:23), so that Zaksa cashed this set with a margin of seven points (18-25).  

In the fourth set KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE started out with a lot of self-confidence but the home side this time was ready to respond. Especially Simeonov showed his desire to win with a lot of good serves and attacks (8:5). Even though Zaksa setter Pawel Zagumny searched for many different options in attack, Grebennikov and his teammates were always ready to answer (18:11). Grzegorz Pilarz came in for Zagumny, KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE served strong but VfB didn’t stumble. They were able to stay ahead until the end of the set. Captain Max Günthör with a big block on the Polish setter and an attack by Valentin Bratoev called for the tie-break (25-19).  

VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN hardly was to stop in the beginning of the deciding set (4:1), but Zaksa didn’t capitulate (8:7). After changing sides of the court a thriller started. The lead changed from Zaksa to VfB back and forth until the guests from Poland had their first match point at 13:14. However, VfB could survive this match point and after that another three. Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE eventually cashed their fourth opportunity for an away victory (20-22) and got two points from this game.  

“It was hard to play against VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN because they lost their last game against ROESELARE and wanted to win today. They serve really well. We are not used to that in Poland. In the end we were a little bit luckier” said Zaksa head coach and former international star Sebastian Swiderski after the game.

On the other hand VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN coach Stelian Moculescu said: “I’m very sorry for the team. But 80% of what we did tonight was very good. In the end we had less self-confidence. We still need time.”  

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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