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24/01/2017 10:41
Two worlds ‘collide’ as DRESDNER SC play Turkish powerhouse VakifBank
2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Women

Dresden, Germany, January 24, 2017. They both play in the 2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League, both are famous representatives for their country but still, when DRESDNER SC face VakifBank ISTANBUL on Wednesday, two worlds collide.

“The preconditions could not be more different: financial resources, infrastructure of the competition hall and the resulting equipment for the team staff and the environment, they all differ a lot,” says Sandra Zimmermann, CEO of DRESDNER SC.

Because the team of head coach Alexander Waibl beat opponents like Dinamo MOSCOW or Azerrail BAKU in the past, it sometimes sounds like an understatement when the coach celebrates the win of a single set. However, when you take a closer look at the two worlds, it becomes clear why.

It is a team with a 1.6 million EUR budget versus a team with about 15 million EUR. VakifBank sponsors the Turkish club since 30 years. The club is not only dominant on the national level. They also won the Champions League title in 2011 and 2013 and became club world champions in 2013. Speaking about the 2012/2013 season: VakifBank ISTANBUL did not lose a single match in all of the three competitions they entered.

German middle blocker Christiane Fürst, who played at DRESDNER SC during her youth and early years until 2007, was part of this legendary team that took 47 wins in 47 matches.

On top of this, there is Vakifbank Spor Sarayi, the brand new competition hall, which looks like a spaceship. It is miles ahead of Margon Arena and it was built by main sponsor VakifBank within only 15 months. It is a dream come true for a professional Volleyball team with not only a court but also two separate areas for practice, a well-equipped gym, swimming pool, steam bath, various rooms for physio, press and conference rooms and different offices covering an area of 30,000 sq. m. across nine floors.

Furthermore, the new sports centre houses the talent school of VakifBank ISTANBUL. The club is famous for bringing national talent to international Volleyball. Right now, the squad features some of the best Turkey-based players. That is especially important in Turkey as the league has a restriction on foreigners playing simultaneously. Therefore, it is no surprise that VakifBank are still unbeaten this season, as their closest competitor Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL, who also plays in Pool D of the 2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League do not have a single Turkish player in their starting six in Europe’s premier competition.

The German champions of DRESDNER SC can only dream of such preconditions. They play at Margon Arena since 1998 and even though it is a lovely competition hall, it is definitely not up to date. However, there is a bigger problem: it is too small. Every match of the 2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League was sold out and this catapulted the Germans to second place in the standings, as far as attendance to their home matches was concerned.

“Combining national and international competitions we achieved a sold out 93 out of 100 times. To compete at the highest level we have to grow further. We want to but unfortunately, we are limited due to our competition hall, which makes it harder to increase our budget, as we cannot offer conditions that are more attractive for sponsors. We are in a good spot right now, but we could do even better,” explains Zimmermann.

That is why the call for a new multifunctional arena gets louder and louder in Dresden, especially since it is not only DRESDNER SC looking for a new ‘home’. “We did our homework,” says DSC Chairman Jörg Dittrich and continues: “Many demand a new arena with space for 6,000 to 7,000 spectators, including promoters for cultural events and concerts. With that we could take the next step in our development.”

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