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11/04/2017 17:44
Neighbours from Greece and Turkey to lock horns for Challenge Cup crown
2017 CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup - Women

Piraeus, Greece, April 11, 2017. Olympiacos PIRAEUS will host on Wednesday the first leg of this year’s CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup women’s Finals – with the ‘Reds’ from Greece playing 2015 Challenge Cup gold medal winners BURSA BBSK of Turkey. A press conference took place on the eve of the much-anticipated match featuring two teams from neighbouring countries – thus adding one extra chapter to their long-lasting rivalry in many sports.

Voices from the Greek camp…

Branko Kovacevic, Olympiacos PIRAEUS head coach: “The two best teams from this year’s Challenge Cup have made it to the final. Our continental campaign started in Bursa and it will end there with the second round of the finals. The result does not depend solely on us, but also on our opponent. I believe that the fans that will come tomorrow as well as those who will attend the return match in Bursa will enjoy top-level Volleyball; and this is very important for our sport.”

In reply to a question on the BURSA BBSK players who stand out in his opinion, Kovacevic commented: “It is not just about one or two players, but the entire team that performs. There are no secrets between us two. We know each other very well; however, it will be a single moment of inspiration or an individual player that will make the difference in the end.”

Styliani Christodoulou, team captain of Olympiacos: “We are really happy with our campaign so far; it’s the first time in the club’s history that we will play in a European final. Tomorrow and on Saturday, we are going to face a strong opponent that competes in a really strong and competitive league. I do not know if they are the favourites. In any final, ones goes for the win and the title. We will give 100%. I am sure the fans will provide us with this extra bit, this additional boost required and we are happy to be able to perform tomorrow in a full house.”

“We are all quite happy. This European final is what Olympiacos have been aiming for since several years. We feel all great on the court, the chemistry amongst us is great and, combined with the club’s sound organisational performance we have made it so far. We believe in the team and once one reaches the final, then one goes for the trophy,” Christodoulou added.

“BURSA BBSK are a strong outfit, experienced in Europe, and the title winner from two years ago. It is very important that we have the first match at home, but no matter what happens, it will be just the first step. It is in Bursa where everything will be decided; we shall give everything we have and play the best we can,” she concluded.

Voices from the Turkish camp…

Jan De Brandt, head coach of BURSA BBSK: “Firstly, we are pleased to be in the final and play against Olympiacos. We hoped, in their tie against Yenisei KRASNOYARSK, that Olympiacos would win it, because not only Greece is closer than Russia, but also because we know this team better. We have already played against them. We hope to deliver a fine match and thus increase our chances for the return match on home court.”

When asked if there are any secrets between the two teams, he said: “Our team is complete, we have no injured players. At this stage, there are no secrets. Olympiacos played against Turkish CANAKKALE, Belgium’s Asterix Avo BEVEREN, and so did we. They are no strangers to us and we are no strangers to them as well, but this might also be a problem. In theory, coaches may think they have already won, but things are different on the court.”

On the atmosphere to be created by the Olympiacos fans: “No, I am not stressed at all; on the contrary, I do enjoy it. I have been a player myself and I always enjoyed a full venue. During the match, even if they shout against you, you feel as if they cheer for you. I wish it will be a beautiful atmosphere both in Greece and Turkey and that the crowd will enjoy some great Volleyball.”

Last, as a comment to his team’s elimination from the Turkish championship, De Brandt said: “This year, we had had three goals. First, to make it to the Final Four of the Turkish national cup, and we made it; second, to reach the Challenge Cup final and we attained that as well. Sadly, we were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the national league, but surely, the Turkish league is a very competitive one. Galatasaray is an amazing team and they were in their best shape when we played against them. Certainly, we are disappointed since one always wants to go as far as possible, but sometimes you have to acknowledge a loss and move on.”

Ipek Soroglu, team captain of BURSA BBSK: “We are really happy to be here. We have lots of respect for Olympiacos, but our objective is to win the trophy for the second time in our club’s history. Certainly, the fans of Olympiacos are likely to create an amazing atmosphere. But our fans are far from… easy to handle; you will witness the atmosphere they create in Turkey, for sure.”

News nr. 3 of 27
12/04/2017 22:12:00
Olympiacos come from behind to claim first round of Challenge Cup Final
02/04/2017 21:00:00
Finalists known for Challenge Cup as CHAUMONT VB 52 face Fakel NOVY URENGOY and Olympiacos PIRAEUS takes on BURSA BBSK

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