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21/11/2020 17:00
Champions League 2021 Women Pool D Preview
CEV Champions League Volley 2021 - Women

Luxembourg, November 21, 2020. With the CEV Champions League Volley 2021 fast approaching and 20 teams competing from several different national leagues, it can be tough to keep up with all the moving parts of professional volleyball. That's why we are sharing previews for every pool of the Champions League 4th round with the key transfers and the most important questions clubs are facing heading into the competition. Here it is for Pool D in the women's competition.

Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul (TUR)
In:
Jordan Thompson, OPP (USA), Chiaka Ogbogu, MB (USA)
Out: Lauren Gibbemeyer, MB (USA), Natália Pereira, OH (BRA), Kim Yeon-Koung, OH (KOR), Carli Lloyd, S (USA)
Key Question: Can they replicate their elite block-defense from last season?

As one of the three Turkish teams of Istanbul that seem to dominate the Champions League every season, it is win or bust for Eczacibasi this season. However, while rivals like Conegliano and VakifBank have kept their roster almost entirely the same, Eczacibasi has turned over most of their starting lineup, including star outside hitter Kim Yeon-Koung. New signee Jordan Thompson will have to switch from her natural position of opposite to outside hitter in order to play alongside Tijana Boskovic, but if that experiment pays off, the duo will be unstoppable on offense. 


Lokomotiv Kaliningrad Region (RUS)
In:
Laura Dijkema, S (NED) 
Out: Ana Cleger, OPP (CUB) 
Key Question: Who will score points for Kaliningrad?

For a relatively new club, Lokomotiv Kaliningrad has had lots of success, finishing in second place in the Russian Superleague twice and qualifying for Champions League twice. One of the keys to their early wins has been the sensational play of outside hitter Irina Voronkova, who scored 2.95 points per set for the club in last year’s Champions League season. Replacing the production of Cuban opposite Ana Cleger will be difficult, but picking up experienced Dutch setter Laura Dijkema will be a step in the right direction. 



Allianz MTV Stuttgart (GER)
In:
Maria Segura, OH (ESP), Mira Todorova, MB (BUL)
Out: Celine Van Gestel, OH (BEL), Alexandra Lazić, OH (SWE) 
Key Question: The quarter finals are in reach for Stuttgart, can they do it three years in a row?

Only 8 teams have made the quarter-finals since the CEV switched the format to reduce the number of playoff teams, and Stuttgart counts itself as one of them. They have been the strongest team in Germany the past several years, and at their best can compete with any team in Europe, as evidenced by their 3-1 win over Novara last season. The offense will still be carried by American opposite Krystal Rivers this season, but hopefully Bulgarian middle blocker Mira Todorova will be able to improve the block. 


Dinamo Moscow (RUS)
In:
Natália Pereira, OH (BRA), Ekaterina Orlova, MB (RUS)
Out: Lauren Carlini, S (USA)
Key Question: Will Brazilian star Natália Pereira make them a contender?

Despite being one of the most successful teams in Russia over the past several seasons, Dinamo Moscow has not been able to capture the same dominance in the European Cups. They have won the Russian League in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 but only reached the CL semifinals once in that timespan. This year, they made one of the biggest moves in all of volleyball, bringing in Olympic gold medallist Natália Pereira to bolster their already strong lineup. 

 

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Pool C
 
 
20:30Local Time
VC Maritza PLOVDIV
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18:00Local Time
ŁKS Commercecon ŁÓDŹ
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Pool E
 
 
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16th Finals
 
 
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16th Finals
 
 
18:00Local Time
Sanaya Libby`s LA LAGUNA
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VK Pirane BRUSNO
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