First duels of Champions League 1/4 finals brought interesting results. Belchatow and Macerata claimed home victory. Trento won in Czestochowa and Thessaloniki surprised Friedrichshafen.
10 000 spectators were watching duel between Belchatow and Odintsovo. Both sides played really well. At the end it was Polish team who could celebrate tight 3:2 victory. Iskra’s coach Zoran Gajic stated, “PGE Skra turned out to be a very strong team, one of the best in Europe. It is fantastic to compete with the Polish champion. I am looking forward to the second leg, in which our captain Pavel Abramov will be able to help us back. In Lodz I am happy with the score and our performance. We could have won the tie-break, but we could also have lost 0:3. We made too many mistakes, Skra did only a few“
“I am happy we always play at our best, we always give 100%, we do not give up. Of course, the first set might have been better, but later on our level was really high. We showed a top quality volleyball. Now, after we won the first match, the pressure is on the Russian team. We still have good chances to qualify to the Final Four,” said PGE Skra coach Daniel Castellani. “The Polish champion doesn’t make many mistakes, their players perfectly execute the tactics,” added Iskra’s captain Giba.
Trentino Volley overcame the injuries and AZS Czestochowa. It beat the Polish team 3-1 away, as it will play the return game at home next week. Radostin Stoychev´s players showed great character, struggling under the push from the fans only in the first set. The Italians had to face many difficulties during the game. Already without Leandro Vissotto, cautiously rested, they also had to make do without Matey Kaziyski (twisted his ankle after serve) and Dore Della Lunga, both injured at their right ankle. Second opposite of Trentino Stefanow did well, leading the team together with Riad and Winiarski to beat Czestochowa. In the fourth set, Kaziyski got back in even though not hundred percent fit, but it´s Nikola Grbic who stepped up with first-time spikes and blocks. The Polish team had no answer.
Macerata had a great game against Kazan. It totally dominated the Russians, the holders of the competition. Kazan used their strength and muscles firing hard from the serve but Macerata kept their composure and played their game. It was tight right till the end of the first set but De Giorgi´s team made less mistakes and snatched it 26-24. From the second set it was only one team playing, the Macerata. The second set was just one-way traffic for the Italians. Kazan´s coach vladimir Alekno, turned to his bench to find a solution but there was nothing to do. Macerata kept imposing their rhythm in the third set. The Russians tried to react but Macerata kept everything under control, winning the game 3-o and making a giant step towards the Final Four.
Nobody was expecting easy 3:0 victory of Thessaloniki in Friedrichshafen. In the first set German champion was in front but great services of Andrej Kravarik decided the end of set. From that time Greek champions was clearly better team. Friedrichshafen could not use middleblockers as they are used to because of the bad reception. “I did not expect that we were going to win this match in three sets”, said Simon Tischer.
“They played better, especially in serving and reception. After we lost the second set the frustration was too big”, said Friedrichshafen´s head coach Stelian Moculescu. Also Georg Grozer was really disappointed: “We had a black day. Today we did not show what we can. What a pity! Of course on the other side the pleasure about the victory was quite overwhelming.”