Germany prove their domination in Pool D with another victory
2013 CEV VELUX Volleyball European Championship - Men
Gdynia, Poland, September 22, 2013. On Sunday Germany completed their duties in Pool D by beating the Czech Republic in straight sets (25-13, 25-23, and 25-20) to secure first place in the group and advance directly to the 1/4 finals coming up on Wednesday. The Czech Republic, on the other hand, with no points and after three consecutive defeats says goodbye to the VELUX EuroVolley 2013. Russia finished second in the group after edging Bulgaria 3:1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-14, and 25-19) to continue their campaign in the Playoffs and play Slovakia. Bulgaria was also promoted to the next round scheduled for Tuesday in Gdansk and cross there the ways of hosts Poland.
The Germans started their match very strong and they quickly gained the lead (8-4). They scored four unanswered points and their leading increased to seven points (11-4). The entire set was strictly under German command. They were better in every element of the game and won 25-13. The Germans destroyed the opponent mostly with their powerful serves.
The Czechs recovered from the painful loss in the previous set as they took the lead 9-7 in the next one. They managed to maintain a safe distance of two or three points for the majority of the set, but Germany drew level at 18 and the Czechs’ coach Stewart Bernard called a time-out. In the critical moments the Czech Republic was unable to stay focused and the victory got out of their reach. The Germans won the second set 25-23 for the provisional 2:0.
In set 3 the Germans took control in the beginning and did not let the victory slip through their fingers. They were leading 8-5 at the first technical time-out and the Czechs could tie the score only for a moment at 12-12 and at 17-17, but at the end of the day Germany celebrated the victory (25-20) finishing pool play in first place with 8 points.
“The Germans played great this weekend, they absolutely deserved the first place in the pool,” said Stewart Bernard, the coach of the Czech Republic. “I think the key problem of my team was the reception, we made a lot of mistakes in that element.”
“I am very proud of my team for being able to concentrate throughout the match,” said Simon Tischer, the captain of Germany, after the game. “We struggled in the second set, that was the crucial moment, but we managed to come back on track and win.”
Russia beat Bulgaria 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-14, and 25-19) in the last match of Pool D to finish second in the group as both teams made the Playoffs of the EuroVolley 2013. Dmitry Muserskiy topped all scorers with 21 points, followed by his teammate Nikolay Pavlov and Bulgaria’s Tsvetan Sokolov with 20 apiece.
The starting line-up of Bulgaria differed from the one people got to see on Friday and Saturday – Todor Skrimov and Nikolay Nikolov were replaced by Valentin Bratoev and Teodor Todorov. The Russians started the game with their strongest players and it paid off – they quickly gained a 9-5 lead, in spite of Bulgaria's spectacular blocks. The Russians dominated throughout the set, increasing the advantage to even eight points (21-13) and took it 25-19.
Bulgaria showed some impressive skills in defense, but Russia was unstoppable. The Bulgarians started the second set highly concentrated and took the lead at 3-0. The Russians tied the score at 6-6 and then gained advantage with three of Dmitry Muserskiy rocket-like serves. The play continued on a point-by-point basis afterwards, as both teams struggled to get ahead. Eventually Bulgaria did (20-17) and Russia's head coach Andrey Voronkov called a time-out, after which his team took the next three points, levelling the score once again. After a thrilling finish the Bulgarians came out on top (25-23) and set the overall score at 1-1.
Set 3 belonged to the Russians, who left the opponent five points behind right in the beginning. Bulgaria tried to catch up, but the rivals were out of reach. They kept a safe distance and did what they do best – spiked strong, served even stronger and picked up the set 25-14, taking the lead in the match 2-1. In the fourth set both teams were very concentrated – Bulgaria needed to win to stay in the game, while Russia wanted to finish the match as quickly as possible – so the score was close from the start. It was not until the second mandatory stop when the Russians finally got a bigger – four-point – advantage. The Bulgarians fought hard to regain control, but were unable to do so. Russia took the set 25-19 and the whole match 3-1.
“They overmatched us with their serves,” said Todor Aleksiev, the captain of Bulgaria after the game. “We struggled with our reception, we made too many mistakes in this element”.
“When I think about this match as a whole, I am happy with the result,” commented Russia’s head coach Andrey Voronkov. “But there are some things that we had troubles with and that we have to improve on.”
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