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14/04/2016 23:19
Drzyzga hopes 15,000 fans can help hosts Resovia rise to the occasion
2016 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League - Men

Krakow, Poland, April 14, 2016. Fabian Drzyzga is expected to carry the hopes of the home team, Asseco Resovia RZESZOW, as well as of thousands of Volleyball fans across Poland as the hosts of this year’s Final Four hope to improve on the silver medal they won in the 2015 edition of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men after losing to Zenit KAZAN of Russia in the gold medal match. This is the same opponent Resovia will be playing on Saturday in the first semi-final taking place at TAURON Arena, with the match set to start at 16:30 local time following a spectacular opening ceremony that will get the Volleyball weekend of the year finally started.

This is your first Final Four in front of your home crowd. Does it motivate you or does it maybe put more pressure on the team?

I hope pressure won’t tie our legs, but the support of the fans will rather help when the game will be going as we planned. The fans’ trust in us can help rise to the occasion. It’s always better when almost 15,000 people support you than your opponent.

Your fans are known for creating tough conditions for opponents at your home venue in Rzeszow. Do you think they can do the same thing at TAURON Arena?

I remember the Final Four in Berlin last year when only a small group of our fans came to support us and created an amazing atmosphere during the semi-final against PGE Skra BELCHATOW. I think they will create the same ‘heat’ over here in Krakow. Our rivals won’t have an easy time, but we also know that Zenit KAZAN, Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA and TRENTINO Diatec are experienced enough and are used to play in hectic conditions created by their opponent’s fans.

Having already won a silver medal in the Champions League, what are your expectations for this final?

Of course our expectations are to win gold, otherwise my club wouldn’t want to host the Final Four. Our form gets better with every day, I’m really happy with the way we have been progressing for the last six weeks, because in the beginning and throughout this season our condition wasn’t the best. I’m very optimistic ahead of this tournament and I hope we will win it. We know who will be waiting for us on the court. Sometimes one of the teams advancing to the Final Four is relatively on a lower level than the others, but this year we are meeting the best teams in Europe. I wish that, if it does not go well for us, at least we won’t finish fourth, which is the worst result for a professional athlete to end up with.

Last weekend the hosting team, Pomì CASALMAGGIORE, won the CEV Women’s Champions League Final Four. Their coach admitted he was concerned about missing the Playoffs and high-level matches that can prepare the team for the final games. Do you think this could affect your team?

We will know after the tournament, all of us will be smarter then. I have to admit that the playoff phase – if you win it and get through to the finals – can really build the team. I remember from our experience last season, how motivating those victories in the playoff phase were. Since that moment we were unstoppable in the Polish League and finished second in the Champions League. The playoff phase gives a lot, but being a host doesn’t mean we are in a worse position. After all we avoided travels – longer or shorter – and with the tight schedule of our national league this actually allowed us to catch some breath.

Your semi-final on Saturday will be a remake of the final with Zenit KAZAN from last year. What do you remember the most from that match?

I remember that we wasted our chances. We did lose in straight sets, but in each of them we had chances to turn the match in our favour, but wasted them. I think the reason behind it was the lack of experience in playing a final. For many of the players this was the first Final Four in their careers. Now, with a little more experience we will play it differently if we have a chance for it.

Zenit KAZAN’s squad hasn’t changed much. Are you going to be better prepared for the match against them?

We will definitely be prepared. Our coaching staff has been working on them for a while now. We will watch two videos and discuss specific details of our tactics, but everything is almost clear already. This is only one match and we can’t be afraid of it. We played against many of these players before, we won and lost against them. We have to play wiser, with less euphoria about being in the final and with cool heads. We have to be brave and respond to the good play of Zenit, which they will definitely show.

How would you explain the Volleyball ‘mania’ going on in Poland? Where does it come from?

It’s hard to explain it in one sentence. I think our nation loves sport and attending any sporting events. If a team just wins one or two games, this drives people to come back and support it again. The same thing happened lately to our football and handball teams. People enjoy the atmosphere of the sport event and want to come back to support their players. In Volleyball the fact that we play matches in venues smaller than stadiums allows speakers to interact with the crowd even more. This only improves the experience for the spectators and that’s why they come back to watch us play.

Do you agree with the opinion that if the setter plays bad, the whole team will play bad?

I think we all depend on other players to some extent. I rely on good passing of my outside spikers. Without it it’s hard to play what I have in mind, take risks or fool the blockers on the other side of the net. When I end up chasing the ball, my job is to set it precisely to the attacker so he can score the point. My spikers rely on me as I rely on my passers. I don’t think you can say about any position that if this player will play bad, the whole team will lose. Any weaknesses can be covered with the help of other players, that’s why this is a team sport. Whether the setter has a chance to play his style or just set the ball from really bad passing, if the spiker scores, this is what really matters at the end of the day.

Click here for further information and visit the official website

A live gallery of the competition will be available right here; on social media please use the official competition hashtags #CEVChampionsLeagueM and #CLF4Krakow  

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