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08/04/2016 13:00
Italians Abbondanza and Bosetti back on home soil for Champions League Final Four
CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Women

Montichiari, Italy, April 8, 2016. Fenerbahce Grundig ISTANBUL coach Marcello Abbondanza is hoping it will be third time lucky he attempts to win the CEV Volleyball Champions League – Women, having reached the Final Four on two previous occasions.  

Three years ago he guided Azerbaijani side Rabita BAKU to the silver medal in the 2012/13 edition in Istanbul and a year earlier, he took fourth place with Italians MC-Carnaghi VILLA CORTESE in Baku.  

There will be certain home comforts for the Italian this time around at PalaGeorge in Montichiari, but having coached in Lombardy in the past with Real Volley Mazzano, this will be the first time he has coached a team at this venue.  

Reigning Turkish champions Fenerbahce face rivals VakifBank ISTANBUL in the semi-finals, in what will be a derby on a neutral court. However, Abbondanza claims his previous experiences will not help him this year with Fenerbahce, who reached the Final Four after defeating Dinamo MOSCOW in the play-off six round.  

“This is my third Champions League Final Four, but it’s totally different,” Abbondanza explained. “We reached the finals in my first year with VILLA CORTESE and it was in the second year with Rabita BAKU. It’s really different this time.  

“Maybe this is the season where a team of mine arrives a little bit stronger and a better focussed. Some players have already won the final in previous years and some haven’t. I think this is a very high level final because there are four strong teams. Anything can happen.   “We need to relax as possible and our good volleyball has to arrive to win this cup.”  

In a typically tight match, Fenerbahce defeated VakifBank 3-2 when the teams last met at the start of February in the Turkish league and Abbondanza knows there are many different aspects to winning the match.

“VakifBank is going to be a very hard game, we have played them a lot of times,” he said. “There have been a lot of tiebreaks in the past and we know each other very well. There is also a physiological component inside this match.”

Also back in her own country is Fenerbahce outside spiker Lucia Bosetti, who was part of Abbondanza’s squad that finished fourth in 2012. She is delighted that she will play in front of friends and family this weekend.  

Her team played a friendly against local side Promoball on Thursday and Bosetti said it was important to get used to the court as much as possible.

“For sure it’s good and I like playing here again,” she said. “I am sure it will be a great event so I am proud to be here. I have never played in this hall so it’s the first time for me, but I think it’s good. I’m happy we came before for a practice match and we tried it for an extra day before competition starts.” With games often going the distance when the two Istanbul sides meet, Bosetti is under no illusion about how hard the match is likely to be.  

She said: “Our semi-final will be very hard because it’s not only our semi-final, but also our derby. We know them very well and know how strong they are. The semi-final is 50/50 and after that we will see.”   

Share your CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League predictions with us on social media using: #CLF4Montichiari

Click here for further information about the Final Four or visit the official website

A live gallery of the Final Four will be available right here

Picture: Abbondanza coached Bosetti at VILLA CORTESE when they finished fourth in the 2011/12 edition of the Champions League

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