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11/06/2019 21:00
Exciting battle for spot in Silver European League Finals set to continue
CEV Volleyball European Silver League 2019

Luxembourg, June 11, 2019. There is no real break for the teams competing in the CEV Volleyball European Silver League 2019 as action resumes on Wednesday with a full set of eight matches with teams fighting hard for a spot in the finals. Greece and Austria battle for the top spot in the men’s Pool A while Romania will be trying to cement their supremacy in Pool B. Slovenia and Greece are vying for the no. 1 place in the women’s Pool B while Israel, Romania and Cyprus are all still in contention for the leadership in Pool A. The finals, due to take place later this month, will feature home and away matches between the eventual pool winners.


Pool A

Austria vs. Hungary

•    Austria’s Volleyball national team will host Hungary in Raiffeisen Sportpark Graz on Wednesday. It is the last match on home soil for Michael Warm’s squad in this year’s group stage.
•    After Leg 4, Austria currently top the charts of Pool A, followed by Greece. Both teams have the same win-loss record (3-1) and points (9). Hungary is in third place (1-3 win-loss). Only the group winners will qualify for the final.
•    In the previous round, Austria claimed an impressive straight sets victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Multiversum Schwechat, whilst Hungary suffered a 1-3 home loss to Greece.
•    The best scorer of these countries after the first four matches are Csanad David (Hungary) and Paul Buchegger (Austria) with 58 and 57 points, respectively. Only Nikos Zoupani from Greece has scored more points (82) this far.

Michael Warm, head coach of Austria: “We are the leaders in our group together with Greece. The door to the finals is now wide open. This should give us a boost of self-confidence for the next two matches against the Hungarian side.”

Alexander Berger, player of Austria: “Our goal is to take home three points. We want to reach the finals, therefore we need a 3-0 win. It is important that our performance remains on a solid level. We use each match to improve and want to win every match we play. I hope for a really supportive home crowd in Raiffeisen Sportpark.”

Greece vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina

•    Greece aim for a clean sweep of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the last two games of pool play, starting on Wednesday at home in the Piraeus suburb of Rentis before travelling to Lukavac at the weekend.
•    However, the set Greece dropped last weekend to Hungary has now given advantage to Austria who hold their fate in their own hands with a very slight lead in set ratios. Austria play their last two games against Hungary in Graz and Budapest.
•    Bosnia and Herzegovina, meanwhile, remain bottom of the table - their only win a four-set affair over Hungary at home.

“We still have ahead of us two matches against the theoretically weakest team of our pool,” said Greece’s libero Dimitrios Zisis. “We are obliged to pay due attention to these games and win both in straight sets, hoping that Austria stumble somewhere against Hungary.”

Pool B

Denmark vs. Romania

•    The Danish and Romanian national teams know each other very well, as it is the fourth time in six months that the two teams are playing each other. Romania is up with a 2-1 win-loss record, but the home-court advantage has proven to be pivotal in these matches.
•    Denmark have to win 3-0 or 3-1 against Romania to keep themselves in the position to win their pool and reach the final.

Kristian Knudsen, head coach of Denmark: “There is no doubt that we have our backs against the wall and need a win in this game to have a chance at getting to the final. Romania is a very good team with good players on all positions, so we will have to bring our best level and use the strength of all of our players to take the win.”

Danut Pascu, head coach of Romania: “This is a game that we must win. We expect a difficult game with a lot of Danish fans cheering for Denmark, but if we play up to our level, we can win this game.”

Azerbaijan vs. Georgia

•    This is a match featuring the teams sitting at the bottom of the charts in Pool B.
•    Azerbaijan have only one victory to their name this far and Georgia are still winless.
•    Azerbaijan claimed their only victory when they ousted Georgia 3-1 in Tbilisi in late May.

Farid Jalalov, head coach of Azerbaijan: “Our next match is with Georgia. Our main aim is not to repeat the same mistakes and try to show a better game but some players are not in such a good shape and this can account for a difficult match.”

Vugar Bayramov, player of Azerbaijan: “We are waiting for the next match. We will play at home and the only thing we want is a victory. We will fight for every ball. All we wait and hope for is a victory. I wish good luck to my team and we should not give up no matter what.”


Pool A

Georgia vs. Israel

•    Georgia are yet to record a victory in the competition.
•    Israel have a record of three wins and one loss this far.
•    Earlier this season, Israel beat Georgia 3-0 on home soil in Haifa.

Romania vs. Cyprus

•    Cyprus sensationally recorded two victories in a row over Georgia last week – their first ever wins in the European League.
•    Romania and Cyprus share the same record in the competition with two wins and one loss apiece.
•    They have played one match less than pool leaders Israel since Cyprus were busy with the Games of the Small States of Europe in late May. The match in Cyprus will be taking place on June 18 at University of Cyprus Athletic Centre in Nicosia.

Pool B

Greece vs. Estonia

•    With renewed hopes for a ticket to the final, after Portugal’s win over table leaders Slovenia over the last weekend, Greece host Estonia Wednesday afternoon in the northern Peloponnese town of Vrachati, just west of Corinth.
•    As things stand ahead of this penultimate match day of pool play, Greece need a win with any score, so as to go next weekend to Ljubljana to take on Slovenia in what should be a clear-cut match to determine the eventual pool winners.
•    Estonia, on the other hand, are looking for their second win in the tournament, after they edged Portugal in five sets at Portimao last month.
•    Last weekend Greece outplayed Estonia in Tartu in four sets.

"Our team is in very good condition and the ambiance within is great,” said Greece’s libero Maria-Eleni Artakianou. “We are improving with each game. Portugal’s win [over Slovenia] was an unexpected gift and we now have a great opportunity to qualify for the final. We will do our best as usual and take our last two games one at a time to try and reach our goal.”

Slovenia vs. Portugal

•    After three consecutive wins and a clean sheet against Estonia and Greece in Pool B, Slovenia had to accept their first loss on Saturday.
•    The Portuguese proved themselves too strong an opponent for Alessandro Chiappini’s team on Saturday in Paços de Ferreira, what for sure was a great boost ahead of the rematch in Slovenia.

Eva Mori, captain of Slovenia: “The match will not be easy, but if we show a solid performance, the win should be ours. We will fight for every ball and try to take back what we lost in Portugal.”

Alessandro Chiappini, head coach of Slovenia: “In Portugal, the level of our game was below the expectations. We will try to correct some elements until tomorrow. I think we learned a lesson and I am sure we will play much better than we did a couple of days ago.”

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