Germany scores victory over Bulgaria after true Volleyball rollercoaster
2013 CEV VELUX Volleyball European Championship - Men
Gdynia, Poland, September 21, 2013. On Saturday Bulgaria lost to Germany in a thrilling five-setter (34-36, 25-20, 25-21, 21-25 and 9-15) in the second day of the VELUX EuroVolley 2013 in Gdynia. After edging 2012 Olympic champions Russia on Friday, Germany caused another sensation as they slipped past the fourth-ranked side from London 2012 as well as from this year’s World League Finals. Russia, on the other hand, was back to its usual standards and easily downed the Czech Republic in straight sets (25-22, 25-17, and 25-10) to display their real power and potential.
In the first match of the day Bulgaria’s Tsvetan Sokolov topped all scorers with 28 points, while Denys Kaliberda paced Germany in their winning effort with 25.
Both team had scored 3-point wins the previous day, and were determined to prove who was the true no. 1 in Pool D as they started the match very fiercely, staying neck-to-neck. The Germans were the ones slightly ahead at the first technical time-out, but Bulgaria stayed closely behind, not letting the rivals take control over the play. The Bulgarians tied the score at 12 and then for the first time took the lead at 15-13. The Germans remained concentrated and the set continued on a point-by-point basis. The Bulgarians defended eight set-points, but in the end were unable to stop György Grozer’s powerful serve and lost the set 34-36.
Bulgaria recovered from the loss in the previous set and began the next one very well – they quickly jumped ahead to 6-2 and Germany’s coach Vital Heynen called a time-out. It did not help his team and the opponent got even further away (8-2 at the first mandatory break). Bulgaria maintained a safe distance up until 21-12, when the Germans seemed to wake up and scored six unanswered points (21-18 for Bulgaria). Nevertheless, Bulgaria did not let Germany flip the charts around and picked it up at 25-20.
Set 3 was another tight one as the score stayed pretty close from the beginning, with Bulgaria slightly ahead (8-5, then 12-10). However, after a controversial decision and a long discussion with the referees, the Germans lost focus and Bulgaria jumped ahead to a four-point lead at 18-14. They finished the set 25-21 with Viktor Yosifov's strong hit to set the overall score at 2-1.
As the fourth set unfolded, it was obvious that the Germans were determined to stay in the game, which they proved with better serves and spikes. Bulgaria, on the other hand, had some troubles and made more unforced errors. Germany remained on top, piling up a five-point advantage at the second technical time-out. The rest of the set continued under Germany’s command and they claimed it 25-21, forcing the fifth and final set.
The Germans carried the momentum from the previous set in the tie-break and took the lead 3-0, then 6-2. They dominated on the court and it was just a matter of time for them to take the set 15-9 and the entire match 3-2.
“We had the chance to win in the first set, but we didn’t take it. After that it was a completely different match,” said the captain of the Bulgarian team, Todor Aleksiev. “I regret only the last set, when we were unable to play till the end,” added his coach, Camillo Placi.
Germany's coach Vital Heynen found the way to stay in the game longer. “We try not to give the points to the opponent,” he said during the press conference. “We try not to serve into the net, we try not to put the ball in the block”.
After their shocking defeat to Germany on Friday, 2012 Olympic champions Russia got back on track as they beat the Czech Republic in straight sets (25-22, 25-17, and 25-10) to claim third place in the provisional standings of the group. Russia’s Dmitry Muserskiy topped all scorers with 12 points, while the best scorer for the Czech Republic was Jan Stokr (8).
Unfortunately for the Czech Republic their opposite David Konecny injured his left ankle right at the beginning of the match and was replaced by Michal Finger. The unlucky event threw them off and Russia took the lead 12-8. They maintained the advantage throughout the set, eventually taking it at 25-22. In the beginning of the second set both teams fought very fiercely, but the Russians were again on top at the first technical time-out (8-5). The Czechs clearly lost focus and made quite a few mistakes, sent a lot of balls off the bounds and soon they were trailing by seven points (11-18), later even by nine (12-21). The Russians were out of their reach as they easily picked up the set 25-17 and took the lead in the match 2-0. The third and final set was just a formality and a display of the Russian power – they jumped ahead in the beginning and stayed in the lead till the end. When Dmitry Muserskiy went to the serving spot at 7-3, he left it at 11-4, not letting the Czechs do much. Later their advantage only increased (16-7, then 22-9) and the Czech Republic were helpless. The Russians romped into victory 25-10 to finish it off in straight sets.
“We had problems with our attack,” said Steward Bernard, the head coach of the Czech Republic. “In the first two sets we were able to play well against Russia, but in the last set we had very bad reception, we made too many direct mistakes”.
“We really thought about last night’s loss a lot,” said Russia’s head coach Andrey Voronkov. “And I tried to take as much from it as I could”. “In the third set finally our serves were good and we came back to our usual level of play,” added his captain, Sergey Makarov.
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