Injury-plagued Zenit KAZAN takes on Russian arch-rivals for another clash of the titans
2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men
October 28, 2013. Europe’s Volleyball family can’t wait for the “clash of the
titans” coming up on Wednesday in Kazan where the hosts of Zenit – winners of
Europe’s elite club competition in 2008 and 2012 – will be crossing the ways of
their countrymen and titleholders Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK. The team of Vladimir
Alekno, which wrecked the start of the season, will try to make amends to their
fans, as well as take vengeance on the Siberian team for the humiliating 2-3
defeat they suffered in the semi-final game of the 2013 edition played last
March in Omsk.
are only three teams that have managed to win the CEV Volleyball Champions
League at one dash: Lube Banca Marche MACERATA, Zenit KAZAN and Lokomotiv
NOVOSIBIRSK. All of them are now playing in one pool – “the group of death”.
And there is another flash fact: only twice in the tournament history, the CEV
Volleyball Champions League was won by a team that hadn’t claimed its respective
national championship before – Lube Banca Marche MACERATA (2002) and Lokomotiv
The mentees of the
national team head coach – Andrey Voronkov – ended up only in fifth place in
the last season’s Russian Superleague, but were fortunate enough to get a wild
card for the 2014 edition of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League.
That’s exactly why the two strongest Russian clubs are now competing in one and
the same Pool.
In early October
Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK represented Europe at the FIVB Club World Championship,
but the Siberian team failed to strike gold in Brazil. Zenit KAZAN participated
in that same Championship three times, and twice settled for bronze. Another
Russian team, Dinamo MOSCOW, had to be content with fifth place in the 2010
weekend Zenit KAZAN and Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK started the national league on a
high note but as for the other tournaments, KAZAN has been suffering a streak
of bad luck. The club from Tatarstan was unable to break into the Final Six of
the Russian Cup, lost in the match for the Super Cup of Russia against Belogorie
BELGOROD (2:3) and was defeated by Lube Banca Marche MACERATA (0:3) in the
opening game of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League.
the players took our defeat in the match against Lube Banca Marche MACERATA in
Italy as a total disaster. My career in Russia began with two losses, but I’m
not falling into despair and I understand that we need time to make a good
ensemble, need to get to know each other better. I am sure that in the match
against Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK we can cheer our fans up playing better, more
efficient Volleyball” says the Serbian setter of Zenit KAZAN Nikola Grbic (pictured), who
has urgently replaced the seriously injured Lukasz Zygadlo thereby leaving his former
club from Italy, Bre Banca Lannutti CUNEO.
of Zenit KAZAN are desperately out of luck this season. Captain Alexander
Volkov and the best libero of the 2013 CEV VELUX Volleyball European
Championship Alexey Verbov are now suffering from previously picked up injuries
that aggravated after the first matches of this still young season. Their
participation in the match against Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK is still to be