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31/01/2018 09:21
Six classy Champions League fixtures highlight exciting Volleyball night
2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men

Luxembourg, January 31, 2018. As many as six Champions League matches highlight a busy Volleyball night on Wednesday, including the ‘Match of the Week’ featuring PGE Skra BELCHATOW and Dinamo MOSCOW with some 10,000 fans expected at the iconic Atlas Arena in Lodz. Last year’s silver medal winners Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA, titleholders Zenit KAZAN, 2013 gold medallists Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK and VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN will be vying for their fourth straight victory in as many matches in an effort to secure their progression to the Playoffs of Europe’s elite club competition.  

Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA (ITA) vs. Knack ROESELARE (BEL)


•    Last season, PERUGIA already hosted Knack ROESELARE at PalaEvangelisti and claimed a 3-0 victory.
•    Many fans will attend the match, especially as their favourite team returns home after claiming Italy’s national cup on Sunday in Bari following a closely contested match with Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA.
•    The opposite hitter of Knack ROESELARE, Hendrik Tuerlinckx, spent a year in Perugia back in the 2007-2008 season.
•    If they claim their fourth straight victory in Pool A, PERUGIA will secure their spot in the Playoff round.



Lorenzo Bernardi, head coach of Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA: “This match is very, very important as another victory would secure us a spot in the Playoffs. Nevertheless, we are playing against a good team, which we do not know that well. This match comes only a few days after our victory in the national cup, but we should forget this success quite quickly and remain focussed once we take to the court.”  

Fenerbahce SK ISTANBUL (TUR) vs. Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA (ITA)


•    Fenerbahce SK ISTANBUL are still waiting for their first victory in the competition.
•    Two weeks ago, Cucine Lube claimed a 3-1 home victory to improve their win-loss record to 2-1 in Pool A.



Guillaume Quesque, player of Fenerbahce SK ISTANBUL: “Lube is one of the best teams in Europe. They have some of the world’s best players and they are one of the favourite teams in this competition. We should play with our soul in order to achieve a good result. I invite all our fans to this game, if they want to watch a good match. This is the right game to do so. We will take to the court determined to show our best.”
 
Alen Sket, player of Fenerbahce SK ISTANBUL: “We know Lube. It is a good team. We need to prepare for this game as well as we can. We are not good enough right now but we need to play our best and put pressure on them. We invite all our fans to Burhan Felek Volleyball Hall to support us.”

VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN (GER) vs. PAOK THESSALONIKI (GRE)


•    A record-breaking start to the season for VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN as the Germans have recorded 22 consecutive victories so far – seven of them in January 2018.
•    Nothing can stop the “Häfler”, even not a norovirus infection. Five players suffered from illness before VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN beat reigning German champions BERLIN Recycling Volleys 3-1. Actually, setter Tomas Kocian had to spend a short time in hospital for observation due to the persistent infection.
•    There are two “Greek experts” in the German team. Athanasios Protopsaltis will meet many friends from the Greek national team on the other side of the net. Team captain Simon Tischer played in Thessaloniki from 2007 until 2009 - not for PAOK but for their city rivals Iraklis.
•    There are a few familiar faces on PAOK’s side. Alexander Shafranovich played for VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN in 2004/2005 and won the German cup and the national championship with his Häfler teammates.
•    Two weeks ago, VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN beat PAOK 3-2 after a strong comeback. They were two sets down but the Germans turned the match around and won at the tiebreak.



Simon Tischer, team captain of VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN: “We could not deliver our top performance in Thessaloniki for the first two sets, but we learned our lesson and changed our tactics. PAOK have to win against us to keep their chances alive. We are focussed to stay on top of Pool B.”

Vital Heynen, head coach of VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN: “Beating PAOK and making it to the next round would be great for the team’s mind. I always had this goal to top Pool B after six games. Now we can try to achieve this goal.”

Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK (RUS) vs. CHAUMONT VB 52 Haute Marne (FRA)


•    Lokomotiv lead the way in Pool C with three wins in as many matches and another victory would virtually guarantee the Russian side a spot in the Playoffs.
•    Lokomotiv starting setter Arslan Eksi has recovered from injury – but substitute Sergei Andrievskii has been doing a good job in his absence.  
•    Lokomotiv claimed the previous match in France 3-2 with György Grozer top scoring with 23 points, as Iliyas Kurkaev and Aleksey Rodichev contributed 18 and 10 points, respectively.
•    Lokomotiv just claimed two straight wins in the Russian national league against strong opposition.



Plamen Konstantinov, head coach of Lokomotiv: “We understand that we really need a victory over CHAUMONT because this way we would secure our progression to the Playoffs. However, I would like to leave the group stage from the first place to get a good draw for the Playoffs 12.”  

Iliyas Kurkaev, player of Lokomotiv: “We have a few days to thoroughly prepare for the match with CHAUMONT. We had a five-set duel in France, and this will give us a lot of material for the analysis of the opponent. We will analyse our mistakes as well. Physically we are ready, we only need to prepare tactically. I think that at home we will play better than we did on the road.”

PGE Skra BELCHATOW (POL) vs. Dinamo MOSCOW (RUS)


•    There has been a very long history in the rivalry between PGE Skra BELCHATOW and Dinamo MOSCOW. Wednesday’s clash in Lodz will be the seventh match featuring these teams and an opportunity for the Polish vice-champions to beat this opponent for a fifth time.
•    Two weeks ago, the last match in the capital city of Russia lasted 126 minutes and gave PGE Skra two crucial points in Pool C.
•    It will also be another chapter in the long history of Polish-Russian Volleyball battles in Lodz, both in club and national team competitions. It will be an unforgettable evening for Agata Twarog, the PGE Skra fan, who auctioned staying with the team during preparations and during the match for over 1,500 euro, for a charity.
•    Both teams played in Lodz five years ago and nearly 10,000 spectators witnessed a spectacular win for PGE Skra.
•    On Sunday, Skra played their 30th game of the season, losing the Polish cup final to Trefl GDANSK 0-3. Now the PGE Skra players need to forget about this disappointing result.



“We look only ahead. Before the trip to Moscow two weeks ago, we lost the league game and we were not the favourites. Now the situation is similar. We just need to clear our heads and believe in our power,” says head coach Roberto Piazza. The mentor of PGE Skra has to trust Marcin Janusz, his second setter, as Grzegorz Lomacz suffered an injury to the cruciate ligament just before the Final Four of the Polish Cup. Janusz received the award for the best setter of the tournament, but the match versus Dinamo will be another new experience for him.

Mariusz Wlazly, PGE Skra team captain: “The five-setter in Moscow let us come back in the fight for the qualification to the Playoffs but our situation is still difficult. The players of Dinamo are in the same position as we are, and for them this match is a must-win game too. However, we are ready for that challenge. We are happy that we will play in Atlas Arena in Lodz, where we experienced so many good moments. The support of the fans may be crucial for us.”

“I believe that none of the fans will forget this great evening. We decided to come back to Lodz once more to give more fans from all over Poland the opportunity to support us from the stands, and they did not disappoint us. It is going to be a great match and a spectacular show and I hope we will win it,” says Konrad Piechocki, PGE Skra President.

JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel (POL) vs. Zenit KAZAN (RUS)


•    This match will mark the debut of Ferdinando De Giorgi at the helm of JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel in front of the home fans.
•    Grzegorz Kosok, captain of JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel, will not be able to play against Zenit KAZAN because of injury. The middle blocker of the Polish team broke a bone in his left hand in the last PlusLiga match against PGE Skra BELCHATOW.
•    Tomaso Totolo, coach and analyst in Vladimir Alekno’s staff, was the head coach of JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel in the 2006/2007 season. Under his guidance, the Polish team claimed silver in their national league.
•    Igor Yudin, outside hitter of Zenit KAZAN, is a former player of JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel. He played for the club from Upper Silesia for five years (2006-2011).
•    JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel have a positive record of three wins in the five matches they have contested with Zenit KAZAN this far.



Ferdinando De Giorgi, coach of JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel: “I was a player myself and I know that for such matches like the one against Zenit KAZAN the players are waiting impatiently. My philosophy is simple: in each game, there are three points to win and regardless of who is standing on the other side of the net, you have to fight for it.”  

Igor Yudin, outside hitter of Zenit KAZAN: “I am really happy that I will have the opportunity to come back to Jastrzębie-Zdrój. I expect a much more difficult match than we had in Kazan. I invite everybody to Wednesday’s clash. See you in the hall.”  

How to follow the matches...


Watch them live: http://cev.laola1.tv/

Click here for a comprehensive TV schedule.

Live score, statistics, reports and photos: all available on www.cev.lu  

Social Media: Follow via the official event hashtag (#CLVolleyM) with the most regular updates coming on our competition Twitter account @CEVolleyballCL

News nr. 59 of 117
31/01/2018 22:42:00
Lokomotiv, Zenit, PERUGIA and ‘Häfler’ through to Playoffs 12 after fourth straight win
31/01/2018 00:44:00
Noliko MASEIK surprise Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE, BERLIN Recycling Volleys without any serious problems vs. Spacer’s TOULOUSE

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