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07/04/2016 10:08
Zenit KAZAN crowned Russian champions before heading to Final Four
News from the National Federations

Kazan, Russia, April 7, 2016. Just one week ahead of their participation in the Final Four of the 2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men, Zenit KAZAN were crowned Russia’s national champions following their 3-1 home victory over arch-rivals Dinamo MOSCOW. No Playoffs are contested this season in the Russian Superleague and even though there are still two rounds to play, Zenit’s clear-cut leadership in the current standing can’t be threatened by any other team.

This domestic success bodes well for the Final Four coming up next week in Krakow where Zenit KAZAN will be vying for their fourth crown in Europe’s elite club competition after topping the charts in 2008, 2012 and 2015. Zenit KAZAN will open the programme of the much anticipated Final Four weekend in Poland’s second largest city playing hosts Asseco Resovia RZESZOW in a remake of last year’s gold medal match.

Zenit KAZAN setter Alexander Butko said: “It feels kind of strange that we were crowned national champions even without contesting play-off matches but today’s game with Dinamo MOSCOW was some kind of a final anyway. We were prepared accordingly and I am happy that this victory came before the home crowd here in Kazan. Still we have to keep on working hard if we want to achieve more success this season. Being crowned national champions at the end of a play-off round is probably fairer and gives you more satisfaction, at least in my opinion. After all, the regular season is marked by ups and downs whilst the strongest team always comes out on top at the end of the Playoffs.”

Next week Butko will be hunting his second Champions League title after back in 2013 he claimed Europe’s most coveted crown while wearing the shirt of another Russian powerhouse, Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK.

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