The semi-finals of the 2015 CEV Volleyball Champions Final Four are already history. 9,300 spectators saw an expected 3:1 (26:24, 21:25, 25:22, 25:15) win by Zenit KAZAN and a thrilling match between the Polish teams with the luckier end for Asseco Resovia RZESZOW which made the final surprisingly in straight sets (25:23, 25:23, 25:22).

Kazan and their stars, Wing Spiker Wilfredo Leon (26 points) and Opposite Maxim Mikhailov (20 points), had during the first three sets their problems with BERLIN Recycling Volleys. The favourites’ tactics were too foreseeable, they made just a few points through the middle and little by little Berlins’ defence geared up for the Russian attacks. Only in the fourth set BR Volleys lost their power and therefore their concentration and Leon scored irresistible with his serves (in the end six aces) and attacks. Kazans coach Vladimir Alekno said: „We won, and that’s the only thing that matters. Everybody expected us to win, that is why Berlin could play without any pressure.“

In the final they will meet up with Asseco Resovia RZESZOW who already showed their great condition in the last weeks. Five Polish World Champions belong to the team, setter Fabian Drzyzga, middle blocker Piotr Nowakowski and libero Krzysztof Ignaczak played the whole time and were supported by the captain of Germanys national team, Jochen Schöps, the Bulgarian Nikolay Penchev, the Serbian Marko Ivovic and American Russell Holmes. In the semi-final against their arch-rival PGE Skra BELCHATOW was affected by nervousness (33 mistakes in serve). Rzeszow played great as team (five players achieved seven up to eleven points) and was always in front. Schöps had the same opinion: “We saved the most important balls in defence, and stayed calm in crucial situations. I’m surprised that we won in straight sets.”

But what will come on top in the final (March 29 at 3.45pm)? Will it be the attacking power of Kazan or the team spirit of Rzeszow? It would be Kazans’ third title in the Champions League after the achievements 2008 and 2012. Rzeszow might crown themselves at their first final participation in the most important club competition directly. Kazan counts on Leon and Mikhailov, Rzeszow on their team and the fans. The red white dressed followers from Rzeszow caused goose skin. One can be curious whether the Belachatow fans will support the archival.

An achievement in the Champions League might be for both teams a step closer to the sought-after triple composed of the national Championship, the national Cup and the Champions League. Kazan already won the Russian Cup and is with 2:0-wins ahead in the semi-final of the Russian Championship against Moscow. Rzeszow already made the final of the Polish Championship and furthermore stays in the semi-final of the national Cup.

One thing is sure: the spectators in the German „Volleyballtemple“ can look forward to  two enthralling duels (both matches live on SPORT1+ and www.laola1.tv). But before that the BR Volleys want to make their dream of a medal come true in the classification match (1:00 pm) against PGE Skra BELCHATOW.

Match Schedule for Sunday:

1:00pm | BERLIN Recycling Volleys vs. PGE Skra BELCHATOW

3:45pm | ZenitKAZANvs. AssecoResoviaRZESZOW

 

All information about the CEV Champions League Final Four from March 28-29 in Berlin:

Website | www.berlin2015.br-volleys.de

Facebook | www.facebook.com/CLfinal4

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Matthias Klee

PHOTO: www.facebook.com/CLfinal4