Cucine Lube Civitanova returned to the CEV Champions League throne after 17 years, beating in four sets the titleholders Zenit Kazan in Super Final in Berlin (16:25, 25:15, 25:12, 25:19)! OUR COMPLETE GALLERIES ARE AVAIBLE! MATCH — AWARD CEREMONY.
Lube did not make the same mistake from the last season, when they had 2-1 advantage against Zenit, but allowed Zenit to make a comeback and win the title. This year was a different story: in the Super Final that was held in front of the packed stands in the Max-Schmeling-Halle in Berlin (9,200 spectators), Lube converted a 2-1 into a great victory, winning the European title after 17 years, the second in the club history. So, they take the two major trophies in only five days: the Italian Championship and Champions League! For Zenit, they were firstly dethroned in Russia after five years and now in the most elite club competition in Europe after four years.
About the match, the things did not start well for Lube today: the russian side win the opening set without any difficults 25-16.
Lube came back with a great style, making a 7-1 advantage in the second set (from 3-4 to 10-5) and extended it until 9-2. Great performance in the block: Lube neutralized the rivals in the attack, and the set end 25-15!
The third set was another walk for Lube who made a 10-2 advantage (from 4-4 to 14-6) by using the same story: reading Zenit’s attacks very well, making lot of kill block. The head coach of the Kazan team Vladimir Alekno switched places to Maksim Mikhaylov and Matthew Anderson, trying to hope a reaction to the attack of his team but it was useless. Yoandy Leal was incredible, making 8 points only in this set. On the other hand, Zenit players made only 5 points by themselves during the entire third set, that end 25-12!
Lube start well also the fourth set, made an 8-2 advantage (from 8-6 to 16-8). However, at 23-12, Ngapeth stepped on a service line and destroyed Lube’s reception: Zenit make a 7-0 run, coming only four points behind the rivals on 19-23. But Leal interrupted this moment of glory, with an attack and Tsvetan Sokolov closed the match in the next point: 25-19, and Lube is the European Champion!
The Bulgarian opposite Tsvetan Sokolov was the best scorer for Lube with 17 points (including winning blocks) while new Brazil national team member Leal added 15 points (including 5 aces). In Zenit, Ngapeth scored 14 points including 3 aces and Anderson added 12.
“Is this a dream come true? Absolutely. Last year we lost, so this year it was extremely important to beat Zenit Kazan. Zenit is one of the best teams in the world and dominated the last seasons of the Champions League, so to win against them feels extremely good. The atmosphere was great and I hope we can come back to the final next year,” Tsvetan “Tsetso“ Sokolov said after the match.
Zenit’s opposite Maksim Mikhaylov said: “No one could produce anything in any of the elements. Such a difference in the score occurs when one team is playing and the other one – just stands. We hit the rock bottom, we can’t fall any further than this.”
Zenit head coach Vladimir Alekno was critical to his players as he rarely was before: “Silver medal in the Champions League – it’s a normal result, it isn’t so terrible. I was most concerned and worried about the manner of losing these two finals. I’m not pointing fingers to specific players, but to the team and to the understanding of the word ’team.’ – I am. Have you seen the faces of my players? We played two finals with such faces as if someone was buried.”