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11/02/2020 19:20
CLVolleyM - Zaksa continue their perfect record, Roeselare maintain hope
CEV Champions League Volley 2020 - Men

Luxembourg, February 11, 2020. The opening of the fifth leg of this year's CEV Champions League was exciting as many squads could still hope for a spot in the quarterfinals. A few, including Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE, had already punched in their ticket for the next round, but the Poles were looking to extend their perfect record -- four straight 3-0s -- against Vojvodina NS Seme NOVI SAD in Serbia at 6pm. The stakes of the other match of Pool E were quite higher since both VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN and Knack ROESELARE had five points before Tuesday's determining game. After sweeping the Germans 3-0 in Germany in leg 1, the Belgians were hoping to repeat the feat two months later in order to try and reach for a qualifying second place in the rankings.

Are they invincible? Five matches, five wins, zero set conceded, what a pool round for Zaksa! The Polish champions have apparently made it a number one priority to win the Champions League this year, and do not seem willing to tone it down, even when qualified. Indeed, before Tuesday's match against Novi Sad, Nikola Grbic's men already had their tickets for the quarterfinals in their pockets, but the Serbian strategist opted for the usual starting line-up before eventually allowing his starters to rest a little at the end of this once again completely domineering victory. With 16 points in three sets, Piotr Lukasik, showing strong signs of recovery after his long injury, topped the scoring tables. A small group of Polish fans travelled to Serbia on the occasion, exchanging small gifts and souvenirs with the young supporters of Vojvodina before the match, in a true spirit of fair play.

In the second match of the evening, Roeselare kept their chances of qualifying for the next round by beating Friedrichschafen 3-1. The game was tight at first but the hosts managed to be more incisive in the last two sets with a great Hendrik Tuerlinckx (24 points). Also pushed by the three aces of Matthijs Verhanneman, Steven Vanmedegael's men now have three wins and 8 points in Pool E and can still hope to claim a spot in the quarterfinals, but the other best second-placed teams, i.e. Trentino, Novy Urengoy, and Zenit Kazan, already have three or two wins with one game less; it will be hard for the Belgians but who knows what can happen! 

Match by match


Vojvodina NS Seme NOVI SAD (SRB) vs Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE (POL) 0-3 (11-25, 22-25, 18-25)

"Zaksa is a better team than we are, but I think we could have a little more resistance to give, and we had chances in the second set."
Sinisa GAVRANCIC, Novi Sad's head coach

"We had already made it to the quarterfinals, so it was hard to focus and play as much as possible from start to finish. But we won and we are satisfied."
Nikola GRBIĆ, Zaksa's head coach


Knack ROESELARE (BEL) vs VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN (GER) 3-1 (28-26, 26-28, 25-19, 25-17)

“We had some chances but lost the first set because the home team put a lot of pressure with their services.  We were not focussed enough after the second set. I do not know what happened but we lost the flow we were in, whilst the home team played very well in block and defence. This European campaign finishes now for us. Next week we meet Zaksa and we will use that match to be prepared for our own Bundesliga.”
Jakub JANOUCH, setter of VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN

“We took a bad start with too many serve errors. We had difficulties to bring our regular play but started playing better in set three and four. We created better opportunities in attack and scored a lot in block and service. In sets 3 and 4, we controlled the game completely. Now we look forward to the match against Novi Sad next week.”
Brett WALSH, setter of Knack ROESELARE

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