Munich, Germany, October 29, 2012. After an away win over ACH Volley LJUBLJANA to open the 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League Generali UNTERHACHING wants to follow up the precious two points taken on foreign ground with a "three" on home soil against Euphony ASSE-LENNIK of Belgium.
UNTERHACHING is still battling various injuries, however last week in Ljubljana (see picture with Dutchman Jan-Willem Snippe) the Germans showed they still could win despite their problems. Thanks to their fighting spirit Generali dug out a victory in Slovenia in the tie-break - a determination they think they’ll need again on Wednesday against ASSE-LENNIK. Head coach Mihai Paduretu says he won’t get fooled by the results to date from the Belgian club that currently sits only in seventh place in its national league.
“Our goal is to get three points, that means: a convincing victory”, Paduretu states, “but we won’t underestimate our opponent. There are no easy opponents in the Champions League. Though ASSE-LENNIK is going through some kind of overhaul and have a lot of young players on their squad they have a good team unity and are very good at serving”. Captain Christian Dünnes warns: “This will be no easy task, but we definitely have to come up with a win to get to the knockout stage”.
Generali will be missing its Belgian middle blocker Matias Raymaekers who is wearing a cast on his foot to protect an irritated sole. His part will be taken over by Roy Friedrich, who did so already last week in Ljubljana and again on Saturday when Generali UNTERHACHING beat CV MITTELDEUTSCHLAND (3-1) for its second win in three Bundesliga matches.
In addition, Paduretu hopes for a sold out Generali Sport Arena. “It would be great, if some of the people who came to see us at Olympic Hall would show up on Wednesday”, he says. 3’900 spectators got together to see Generali’s loss in Bundesliga play to another Champions League competitor and German champion BERLIN Recycling Volleys (2-3), so some of them should indeed stay at home this time: the Sports Arena in Unterhaching seats only 1’500.
UNTERHACHING’s opponent is having a tough season so far. In the 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League they lost their opening match against the clear favorites of the group, Lube Banca Marche MACERATA (0-3). Over the weekend they were beaten in the second round of the national cup competition by PUURS (0-3). Captain Tim Verschueren knows “that we still have a lot of work to do, but our level of play has been improving”. Coach Marko Klok recorded the defeat against the Italian champions as a lesson to be learned: “Of course there are things to improve. But through those games you can learn and improve”.
While ASSE-LENNIK lost its rehearsal for the match on Wednesday UNTERHACHING experienced only minor problems in its win over MITTELDEUTSCHLAND. Coach Paduretu even rested captain Dünnes. “I wanted to give him some time off with regard to the match in the Champions League”, Paduretu explained. Setters Patrick Steuerwald and the slightly injured Huib den Boer were given a rest as well but are expected to be back on Wednesday for the Champions League.