Bulgaria shatters Germany’s dreams of glory to play Italy in the semis
2013 CEV VELUX Volleyball European Championship - Men
Gdansk, Poland, September 25, 2013. On Wednesday evening in the second quarterfinal at ERGO Arena in Gdansk Bulgaria beat Germany 3:1 (28-30, 27-25, 25-22, and 25-20) to make the semis of the 2013 CEV VELUX EuroVolley coming up this Saturday at Parken stadium in Copenhagen. Bulgaria was hence able to take their revenge from the 2:3 defeat they had suffered to Germany this past Saturday in Gdynia in what was the second round of action in prelim Pool D. On Saturday Bulgaria will play Italy in the second semifinal scheduled for 6 pm local time, a match that will prolong the rivalry that got started last year in the bronze medal match of the London Olympics and continued this past July at the World League Finals in Mar del Plata, Argentina.
For the first time in this tournament, Jochen Schöps, the captain of the German team, was among the 12 players nominated for the match after struggling for some days with an abdominal muscle injury.
The play was very fierce from the first balls of the match. The teams stayed neck-to-neck and were very well leveled, which was exactly what had been expected. At one point the Germans lost their focus, though, and Bulgaria quickly used that opportunity to jump ahead to a five-point lead at the second technical time-out. Germany managed to get closer at 16-17, with the help of György Grozer’s excellent serves, but a second later Bulgaria was up three points again at 19-16. With an impressive block and an ace from Sebastian Schwarz, the Germans tied the score at 23-23. Another great serve this time by Patrick Steuerwald gave them their first set point. But – like in the Pool Round, when they fought up to 36-34 – these teams needed a few more rallies to finish the set and the Germans did so – 30-28 – with a great play in block.
In the beginning of the next set Bulgaria was leading slightly, by two points, until the Germans tied at 7-7, and with four unanswered points they were the ones leading at the first technical time-out. They remained in the lead, but Bulgaria did not let them get too far ahead and the play continued on a point-by-point basis. The teams gave the spectators in ERGO Arena another thrilling ending of the set, this time won by the Bulgarians 27-25.
The Germans recovered from the loss in the previous set and quickly took the lead 6-3 in the next one. When Bulgaria scored three unanswered points, coach Vital Heynen called time-out for team Germany. Nevertheless, Bulgaria was able to tie the score at 12-12 and from that moment the score stayed close. Bulgaria regained control over the play and picked up the set 25-22, setting the overall score at 2-1.
In set 4 the Germans were determined to stay in the game and gained the advantage at 8-6, but were quickly once again overpowered by the Bulgarians, as they regained control and scored four points in a row. They remained on top, increased the advantage to even six points (24-18) and won the set 25-20 and the match 3-1.
“What I am disappointed about is the fact that we did not keep the level from the Pool Round,” said Jochen Schöps, the captain of the German team.
“We had played very well during the previous game against Germany,” said Camillo Placi, Bulgaria’s head coach. “And today we played good enough to win, but not as good as last time.”
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