Kazan, Russia, November 13, 2012. Last year’s winners and provisional leaders of Pool A, Russia’s Zenit KAZAN, are ready to host Hypo Tirol INNSBRUCK of Austria for the third round of play in the prelims of the 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League – Men.
This past weekend Zenit played in Orenburg three matches for the semifinal stage of Russia’s national cup. Their campaign started with a surprising 0:3 defeat to Fakel NOVY URENGOI and in order to make it to the Playoffs 6, the group coached by Vladimir Alekno needed to edge – in straight sets – their next opponent, namely Guberniya NIZHNY NOVGOROD. They eventually could not achieve their goal, cruising past with the score of 3:1, and to make it to the next stage of the cup Zenit KAZAN can just hope to get a wild-card from the Russian Volleyball Federation.
“We played poorly at the Club World Championship in Doha and unfortunately did the same also this past weekend in the national cup” says US American spiker Matthew Anderson. “We really have to stick together, support each other and do our best for the upcoming matches, starting with the Champions League”.
Zenit is still unbeaten in the national league and has never played before against any Austrian club. However, the winner of the Middle European League played another Russian side, Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK, in last year’s prelims and could eventually take one point from that giant by suffering a 2:3 home defeat. Hypo Tirol does not have real stars in its roster but is capable of causing a sensation from time to time. The Austrians dissipated a 2:0 lead in their CL opening match with Germany’s VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN before losing there at the tie-break.