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31/01/2017 09:47
Zenit KAZAN braced to take on long-time German rivals
2017 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men

Kazan, Russia, January 31, 2017. VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN are the most frequent visitors to the capital of Tatarstan among Europe’s top Volleyball clubs. It is the fifth time in history the Häfler and Zenit KAZAN cross their ways in the group stage of the CEV Volleyball Champions League. These two teams once locked horns even in the Playoffs 6. On Tuesday night, the fans in Kazan will witness another chapter of the Russian-German rivalry with an unequivocal dominance so far by the home side – with 10 wins out of 11 matches.
 
Two weeks ago, Zenit KAZAN recorded a 3-1 victory in the away match, and the Belgian-born head coach of VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Vital Heynen was quite happy that his team claimed set two in the clash with the allegedly strongest club in Europe. On that occasion, he treated his players and the local fans offering a beer to all those in attendance.
 
“In the last match against the Germans we simply let them gain momentum. Despite having claimed the first set with a wide margin, we lost concentration in the second one. No doubt, we will try to stay focussed and not play too relaxed anymore,” says Zenit KAZAN setter Alexander Butko.
 
VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN arrived in Kazan being rather upbeat after Sunday’s victory when the team outplayed their rivals BERLIN Recycling Volleys (3-1) in the German Cup final. They repeated their success from last autumn when they outclassed the club from the German capital also in the Super Cup where VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN pocketed a comprehensive victory in three straight sets.
 
Zenit KAZAN have claimed both the Russian Cup and Super Cup this season, and have won 17 matches in a row in the national championship – and by taking into consideration last season as well, their winning streak has lasted for as many as 39 games! However, in their last match with Dinamo LENINGRADSKAYA OBLAST, which they still won 3-0, they faced some problems with their line-up.  
 
“Vladimir Melnik twisted his ankle, Evgeny Sivozhelez has just started to train at full pace, and Igor Kobzar got ill. Nevertheless, I am happy with the result and with the attitude shown by my players. The last match was some kind of a preparation for the forthcoming home game against VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN,” said the head coach of Zenit KAZAN, Vladimir Alekno.

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