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Champions League: Zaksa is the first team to ensure a spot in quarterfinals – Fakel and Lube ok.

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Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle is officially the first team to secure a spot in the quarterfinals of the 2020 CEV Volleyball Champions League.
In the first round of the second half of the pool stage in the 2020 competition, Round 4, the polish side took advantage of the first chance to step into the quarterfinals.
The Polish champions made another sweep, 4th in as many games, beating Belgian side Knack Roeselare in straight sets (25:19, 25:18, 25:20). Zaksa haven’t lost a single set in their 4 victories, firmed themselves at the top of Pool E with 12 points and can’t be removed from this position even if they lose the remained 2 matches in straight sets (which is difficult to expect that might happen).
The Hungarian opposite hitter Árpád Baróti was the top scorer for Zaksa with 12 points, while Matthijs Verhanneman scored 13 points for Roeselare.

Piotr Łukasik, Zaksa’s outside hitter: “I waited a long time for the match in the Champions League (because of an injury) and I am glad that I could come into the game and help my team win. We expected more resistance from the Belgians but we all managed to play at a good level and managed to present a pretty good performance tonight.

Steven Vanmedegael, Roeselare’s head coach: “We were unnecessarily scared of a dangerous rival at the beginning of the match and did not use our chances in the second part. Such an experienced team as ZAKSA does not forgive weaknesses and therefore we have not won even a set. Nevertheless, I don’t blame my players because they fought to the end for every precious point.

Fakel Novy Urengoy came back against Berlin Recycling Volleys in Pool B.
Even though they played without one of the main stars of the team, Egor Kliuka (briefly entered in the 1st set), the Russian side prevailed over German champions to take over the provisional lead in the Pool. Berlin had 2-0 lead in sets but succumbed to the Fakel’s trio Denis Bogdan, Hungarian Krisztián Pádár and Dmitriy Volkov (16 points all) and rivals team’s blocking (16 winning blocks). Interestingly, the team from Novy Urengoy didn’t serve a single ace in the match! American Benjamin Patch was the top scorer for Berlin with 19 points. The Bundesliga titleholders will have to be perfect in the remaining 2 games of the pool stage to keep their hope of advancing to the quarterfinals.

Erik Shoji, Urengoy’s libero: “BR Volleys were playing amazing the first two sets. They made perfect plays and we could not stop them. After the second set we startet to fight back. Pressure on service, spike and block increased. Coming back to Berlin felt very special for me. The whole day I was nervous and excited. It is always fun to play here and it feels good to get the win on the opposing team.

Moritz Reichert, Berlin’s captain: “First two sets we performed very well in service, defense and attack. We showed what we are able to play. The Russians helped us by making too many errors. We did not expect that. Afterwards we struggled and Fakel came back in a strong way. Reaching the quarter-final is now far away for us, but we will keep on fighting.

Close the picture the defending champions Cucine Lube Civitanova who recorded their 4th success in as many games in Pool A to stay at the top of the standings and come 2 points away from securing a spot in the quarterfinals. Lube played against the Czech side of Jihostroj České Budějovice without as many as 4 starters. In addition to Iranian Ghafour (injured for quite some time), Cuban-Brazilian Leal (since recently), the head coach De Giorgi rested Brazilian Bruno and Juantorena. Jiří Kovář was the top scorer for Lube with 20 points, while Fabio Balaso made 88% reception (17 digs, 59% excellent). As for České Budějovice, who lost all chances to advance to the elimination stage, Marek Šotola scored 20 points.

2020 Volleyball CEV Champions League, pool stage – Round 4


January 28
Cucine Lube Civitanova (ITA) – Jihostroj České Budějovice (CZE) 3-1 (25:21, 25:19, 21:25, 25:19)

January 30
Fenerbahçe HDI Sigorta Istanbul (TUR) – Itas Trentino (ITA) 1-3 (17:25, 25:22, 29:27, 25:20)


January 28
Berlin Recycling Volleys (GER) – Fakel Novy Urengoy (RUS) 2-3 (25:21, 25:15, 20:25, 22:25, 10:15)

January 29
Kuzbass Kemerovo (RUS) – ACH Volley Ljubljana (SLO) 3-0 (25:19, 25:23, 25:21)


January 29
Halkbank Ankara (TUR) – Jastrzębski Węgiel (POL) 0-3 (18:25, 18:25, 15:25)
Zenit Kazan (RUS) – VC Greenyard Maaseik (BEL) 3-0 (25:14, 25:10, 25:22)


January 29
Verva Warszawa Orlen Paliwa (POL) – Benfica Lisboa (POR) 3-0 (25:21, 25:13, 25:22)
Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia (ITA) – Tours VB (FRA) 3-0 (25:21, 25:15, 25:21)


January 28
Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle (POL) – Knack Roeselare (BEL) 3-0 (25:19, 25:18, 25:20)
January 29
VFB Friedrichshafen (GER) – Vojvodina NS Seme Novi Sad (SRB) 3-2 (23:25, 25:18, 17:25, 25:20, 15:13)

Source and photos: cev.eu

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