Nizhniy Novgorod, Russia, March 26, 2014. The men’s team of Guberniya NIZHNIY NOVGOROD has come very far in its rookie European Cups season, but whether or not it will go all the way and claim the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup - Men remains to be seen as the conclusion of the second most prestigious continental club tournament is taking place this week with the two legs of the final slated for Wednesday and Saturday.
Guberniya is about to face a team way more experienced in the European Cups. Indeed, the multiple champions of France PARIS Volley are a regular participant in Europe’s top club competition; the team came to the CEV Cup after being knocked out of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League, and also became club champions of Europe back in 2001 during the first edition of the Champions League. A year earlier PARIS Volley had won the Cup Winners Cup and the CEV Super Cup.
The team from Nizhniy Novgorod is currently playing only its third season in the top-tier Russian Superleague. It earned this promotion in 2011 after having played in the third division just a year earlier. Under the mentorship of Bulgarian head coach Plamen Konstantinov, who joined the club in 2012, Guberniya has shown tremendous progress. It finished fourth in Russia last season to earn its rightful place in the European Cups for the first time in history. Therefore, by reaching the final of the CEV Cup, the club is already writing a new bright chapter in its history, but is certainly keen on giving it a golden ending.
Despite these historical differences between the two clubs, the first leg of the final clash between them is taking place in the present, today at 19:00 local time (16:00 CET) at the Zarechye competition hall in Nizhniy Novgorod, and no clear pre-favorite stands out as two squads of very high volleyball level will face each other across the net.
Focused on this continental final, both teams are coming out of unpleasant domestic defeats and will be looking to make amends by winning the CEV Cup. Guberniya lost its away match to Dinamo MOSCOW by 1:3 (25-23, 18-25, 21-25, 20-25) and PARIS ended up with a similar result away at Arago de SETE – 1:3 (25-20, 17-25, 19-25, 22-25). So a tough battle is to be expected both today in Nizhniy Novgorod and on Saturday in Paris.
Click here for more details on today’s final and/or here to watch it live on LAOLA1.tv.