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02/05/2018 12:30
Facts and figures to know ahead of #CLF4Bucharest semis
2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Women

Luxembourg, May 2, 2018. It is finally time for the most highly anticipated weekend of this Volleyball season with four teams taking to the court at Sala Polivalenta in Bucharest to fight for Europe’s most coveted crown – the CEV Volleyball Champions League. Titleholders VakifBank ISTANBUL will be chasing their fourth title in eight years but they first will have to claim the repeat of last year’s gold medal match with Italy’s Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO when taking to the court for Saturday’s semi-finals. Hosts CSM Volei Alba BLAJ will be trying to make history for Romania after their sensational campaign in the League Round – with their opponent in the semis being another Turkish team, Galatasaray SK ISTANBUL. Here are some interesting facts and figures you should know before Saturday’s semis.  

Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO (ITA) vs. VakifBank ISTANBUL (TUR)

•    Titleholders VakifBank ISTANBUL are making a record sixth straight appearance in the Final Four of the CEV Volleyball Champions League.
•    VakifBank became the first team from Turkey to claim Europe’s most coveted Volleyball crown as they did so in 2011. They are three-time winners of the CEV Volleyball Champions League (2011, 2013 and 2017). If they retain their crown in Bucharest, they will equal the all-time record of Volley BERGAMO, with the Italians boasting four titles to their name (2005, 2007, 2009 and 2010).
•    VakifBank’s record in Europe’s elite competition includes also a bronze and a silver medal from the 2015 and 2016 editions, respectively.
•    Turkish teams have won five of the last seven Champions League titles – VakifBank in 2011, 2013 and 2017, Fenerbahce in 2012 and Eczacibasi in 2015.
•    In the semis, VakifBank will play Imoco Volley CONEGLIANO in a repeat of last year’s gold medal match and in a game featuring the 2018 national champions of Turkey and Italy.
•    Imoco Volley have a silver medal from the 2017 edition to their name. The last Italian team to stand on top of the CEV Champions League podium were Pomí CASALMAGGIORE back in 2016.
•    Kelsey Robinson and Kimberly Hill are not only long-time teammates from the USA national team – they even switched positions and team ahead of the 2017-2018 season, with Robinson moving from Conegliano to Istanbul and Hill doing just the opposite.
•    Chinese national hero Zhu Ting, an Olympic champion from Rio 2016, will be vying for her second straight Champions League crown and possibly for another MVP award to go with the one she took last year in Treviso. She is the top scorer in this year’s CEV Volleyball Champions League on 190 points. As for Imoco Volley, Hill and Samanta Fabris have been their most prolific players this far on 139 and 137 points, respectively.
•    The team captain of VakifBank, Gözde Kirdar, will retire from competitive sport after the Final Four. She will be trying to add a fourth Champions League crown to her resume and a fourth title this season to go with the Turkish national league, Supercup and national cup.
•    Imoco Volley will have to make do without their starting middle blockers – Robin de Kruijf and Raphaela Folie are nursing injuries and will be missing the event in Bucharest. It is the second time in a row that this happens to De Kruijf – she had to sit out last year’s event in Treviso due to injury as well.

CSM Volei Alba BLAJ (ROU) vs. Galatasaray SK ISTANBUL (TUR)

•    Hosts CSM Volei Alba BLAJ are making this season their third straight appearance in the CEV Volleyball Champions League. They won five out of six matches they contested in Pool A – losing to Volero ZÜRICH in the sixth leg when they had already secured the top spot in their group.
•    CSM Volei Alba BLAJ are the first Romanian team to contest the Final Four since the establishment of the CEV Volleyball Champions League in the 2000-2001 season. The event at Sala Polivalenta in Bucharest coincides with the first Volleyball event of this profile to take place in Romania in decades. Romania previously hosted the 1955 and 1963 editions of the European Championships.
•    Ana Cleger of CSM Volei Alba BLAJ was the top scorer of this year’s League Round on 140 points, 10 clear of the Chinese superstar of VakifBank ISTANBUL, Zhu Ting. Tijana Malesevic, on the other hand, is a reigning European champion with the Serbian national team while Aleksandra Crncevic will contest her second Final Four in a row after doing so last year with Dinamo MOSCOW.
•    Galatasaray SK ISTANBUL are returning to the Champions League Finals for the first time since they hosted the event in 2013. Back then, they had to be content with fourth place.
•    Their superstar Neslihan Demir Güler won the CL title in 2015 while wearing the shirt of Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL. She was instrumental to her team’s qualification to the Final Four as she scored 38 points in the re-match with Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA in the Playoffs 6 to secure a 3-1 away win after Galatasaray had previously lost 2-3 at home. Similar to the captain of VakifBank, Gözde Kirdar, Neslihan will also be retiring from competitive sport after the Final Four.
•    Tatiana Kosheleva, one of the star players on the roster of the Turkish team, will be missing the Final Four in Bucharest due to injury.
•    Galatasaray’s record in the European Cups includes: bronze from the 1997 CEV Cup, bronze from the 2010 Challenge Cup, silver from the 2012 and 2016 CEV Cup, bronze from the 2015 and 2017 CEV Cup.  

News nr. 11 of 100
02/05/2018 16:15:00
Galatasaray confident they have a shot at CL crown
02/05/2018 10:29:00
Chinese fans travel all the way to Bucharest to support VakifBank and Zhu Ting

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