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21/03/2016 14:52
Volero ZÜRICH poised to fight to keep alive their dream of first Final Four appearance since 2007
2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women

Zurich, Switzerland, March 21, 2016. Multiple Swiss champions Volero ZÜRICH are thrilled to bounce back in the ‘Match of the Week’ in order to qualify for the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League Final Four for the first time since they hosted the event in 2007.

Two weeks ago Volero ZÜRICH came back from two sets down and were close to upsetting Turkey’s giant VakifBank ISTANBUL but the Turks eventually claimed a hard-fought tie-break home win. The multiple Swiss champs and the 2011 and 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League winners are without doubt two of the real giants in European Volleyball.

The breath-taking clash between Avital Selinger’s and Giovanni Guidetti’s squads contested ten days ago in Istanbul was the proof of that. The Turkish team from the shores of the Bosporus edged the Swiss elite squad in a very hard-fought five-setter to keep a clean sheet in Europe’s most prestigious league.

The “Ladies in Purple”, on the other hand, had once again to accept a defeat in the first leg of the 2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League second elimination stage as it happened in the previous round with Azerbaijan’s Lokomotiv BAKU.

Volero ZÜRICH coach Avital Selinger, however, is confident after the game in Istanbul: “I think that we can build up on our performance at VakifBank. Now, we want to learn from that game. I am confident that we can make it with the fans in our back.”

1992 Olympic silver medallist Selinger most of all emphasises the big comeback his team made after having been with their backs to the wall: “It is never easy to keep on fighting when you are trailing by 0-2, but our players proved a tremendous commitment. This is the result of a huge mental strength and unbreakable desire to win.”

Furthermore, Selinger is convinced that this special comeback against one of the strongest women’s Volleyball teams in the world is the proof of the evolution his squad have been living through the last few months: “We want to improve ourselves as team. I do not ask my players to win every game – because that is impossible. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Nevertheless, you have to give your very best every second of the game. That is the reason why despite the defeat, I can say that we can be proud of our performance. Now we have to learn from the defeat and bounce back. Because I know that my players can make it.”

For opponents VakifBank ISTANBUL, on the other hand, the away game will be a very special one too as they have fond memories of Zurich. The last time the Turks came to the Saalsporthalle, Giovanni Guidetti and his players crowned one of the best years in their club history with the gold medal at the 2013 FIVB Volleyball Women’s Club World Championship.

On Thursday, both teams can make history. While Giovanni Guidetti and his VakifBank ISTANBUL attempt to secure their fourth consecutive appearance in the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League Final Four, hosts Volero ZÜRICH are aiming to make it to their first semis since 2007.

Avital Selinger, however, does not spare a thought about the Final Four before the game: “A lot of journalists are talking about the Final Four and what would happen if we qualified. But I want my team to be 100% focussed on the game at the Saalsporthalle on Thursday – nothing else, because you cannot win such a crucial game if you already start speculating about future matches.”

Unsurprisingly, once again all eyes are going to be on the Saalsporthalle in Zürich at 8pm (CET) this Thursday. Volleyball fans around the world can follow the warm-up live on Periscope and Twitter (@VoleroZuerich) at 7.35pm (CET) and then watch the ‘Match of the Week’ live on LAOLA1.tv

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