Jastrzębski Węgiel secured a spot in the quarterfinals of the 2020 CEV Volleyball Champions League. At the same time, they pushed Zenit Kazan to the abyss!
The Polish side made another sensational victory in the competition, beating 6-time winners Zenit for the 2nd time in the Pool C. Russian vice-champions now have a negative record (2-3) and just a theoretical chance of progressing to the Playoff! For this, they need to sweep Turkish Halkbank Ankara in the last round and hope that several more results will go into their favor in order to be in the top 3 of the best runners-up across all pools. Zenit missed converting 4 set points in the 2nd set, failing to tie the match at 1-1 in sets: 3-1 (25:18, 30:28, 19:25, 25:23). Tomasz Fornal was the top scorer for the winners with 15 points, just as many points as the Frenchman Earvin Ngapeth scored for Zenit for which Artem Volvich added 5 winning blocks.
Lukas Kampa, Jastrzebski Wegiel setter: “It was for sure one of the most beautiful evenings in Jastrzebie since I began playing here. Beating Kazan twice in the pool stage is something big. It shows that in was not by chance that we won in Kazan. And we have some good level on our team. Today it was a big team effort.”
Tomaso Totolo, Zenit Kazan assistant coach: “Jastrzebski played very well today. They started very aggressive in service and put us in very big difficulties. They were also better at managing difficult situations and their siding out. Now we have very little chance to advance to the next round.”
In the all-Russian duel in Pool B, Fakel Novy Urengoy took revenge on the national champions Kuzbass Kemerovo for a defeat in the opening round and took over the top spot from them. However, both sides have the chance to advance to the quarterfinals prior to the last round.
Camillo Placi, Fakel head coach: “We were completely successful today. It’s like we celebrated a birthday and gave ourselves a gift. Today we played great in all the components and did everything to win.”
Igor Kolodinskiy, Fakel captain: “Today we showed the game that we should always show at home. And at the moment, this is our best game of the year. We did a lot of things in defense and on the block. And we made very few mistakes on the court. All this led to a natural result.”
Gheorghe Cretu, Kuzbass head coach: “This was a bad game, of course. We didn’t do much in attack. We didn’t start the first set very well and it lasted the whole game. It is very difficult to play with so many mistakes. Fakel had a very strong attack and we did not have the opportunity to pass with a good reception. It was very difficult to hold and endure the onslaught of our opponent.”
Igor Kobzar, Kuzbass captain: “We are in bad shape at this stage of the season. We will look for ways out of this hole. In the home match against Berlin, we hope to win and go through to the next stage of the Champions League.”
In the same pool, the victory of the German titleholders Berlin Recycling Volleys that came after a comeback from 0-2 to 3-2 against Slovenian ACH Volley Ljubljana was only for the sake of prestige as both teams said goodbye to the Playoff earlier.
Matic Videcnik, ΑCH Volley Ljubljana middle blocker: “Before the game probably no one believed in us, but we did in ourselves. We knew that with our game we can be dangerous. Maybe it didn’t look like it in the first match, but first two sets at home I think we showed our quality. The Germans kept fighting and at the end managed to win. I think if we could have made less mistakes in the fourth set, things could maybe have turned out differently.”
Samuele Tuia, Berlin Recycling Volleys outside hitter: “I think they played amazing in the first two sets. They started really good and we had a lot of troubles in our reception. It was a nice fight, luckily at the end we managed to push them down. To be honest, we came to Ljubljana to win 3-0 or at least 3-1 and we were really disappointed that we started with 0-2. This win is good for our mind, but not so good for our position in Pool B.”
In Pool D, Tours VB from France dominated the Polish powerhouse Verva Warszawa Orlen Paliwa.
French titleholders are still alive in the competition after wrecking the leaders of the PlusLiga at home: 3-0 (25:21, 25:21, 25:20). Thanks to this victory, they can still fight for the 2nd place in Pool D and retain a chance of qualifying for the quarterfinals as one of the best 3 runners-up across all pools. At the moment, the team coached by Hubert Henno is tied in Pool D standings with Warszawa at 2-3 and 6 points. Italia Sir Sicoma Monini Perugia secured a spot in the Playoff as pool leaders earlier. Latvian Hermans Egleskalns was the top scorer for Tours with 17 points. Belarussian Artur Udrys scored 11 points for the side from the Polish capital.
Nathan Wounembaina, VB Tours outside hitter: “I think we played a very good game in serving. It was one our best serving performance. Our opposite and middle blockers also did a great job. We are looking forward the three points against Benfica next week.”
Antoine Brizard, Verva Warsaw Orlen Paliwa setter: “It was a real tough game. We struggled so hard, but I think it’s the worst game we played so far.”
VC Greenyard Maaseik had to beat Halkbank Ankara to stay in contention for the Playoff from Pool C. Now, the Belgian gained an upper hand for the 2nd place in the pool in relation to Zenit Kazan prior to the last round.
Just Dronkers, Maaseik libero: “This was not an easy win, because Ankara were very strong in defense, especially in the first two sets. Everyone told me we still have a chance to qualify for the quarterfinals, but that will be a hell of a job. Therefore, we have to beat Jastrzebski next week and you know, Jastrzebski proved to be stronger than Zenit Kazan twice. I needn’t tell you more.”
Jan Zimmermann, Maaseik setter: “What a beautiful way to celebrate my 27th birthday. You know, last year, I was here too on my birthday, but then I was still playing for Berlin. But we won 2-3. So, Maaseik is a good place for me.”
Taner Atik, Halkbank Ankara head coach: “We played two really good sets with a very good block and we should have won them both. But from the third set on Maaseik started serving very well and they prove to be a strong contender for a spot in the quarterfinals.”
2020 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Round 5
• Itas TRENTINO – Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA 1-3 (26:24, 29:31, 17:25, 22:25)
• Jihostroj CESKE BUDEJOVICE – Fenerbahçe HDI Sigorta ISTANBUL 3-0 (25:23, 25:23, 25:21)
• Fakel NOVY URENGOY – Kuzbass KEMEROVO 3-0 (25:21, 25:16, 25:20)
• ACH Volley LJUBLJANA – BERLIN Recycling Volleys 2-3 (25:22, 25:19, 16:25, 22:25, 12:15
• JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel – Zenit KAZAN 3-1 (25:18, 30:28, 19:25, 25:23)
• VC Greenyard MAASEIK – Halkbank ANKARA 3-1 (25:22, 34:36, 25:21, 25:18)
• Benfica LISBOA – Sir Sicoma Monini PERUGIA 1-3 (24:26, 21:25, 25:22, 17:25)
• TOURS VB – Verva WARSZAWA Orlen Paliwa 3-0 (25:21, 25:21, 25:20)
• Vojvodina NS Seme NOVI SAD – Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE 3-0 (11:25, 22:25, 18:25)
• Knack ROESELARE – VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN 3-1 (28:26, 26:28, 25:19, 25:17)
Source and Photos: CEV