Volleyball at its very best in Omsk!
2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men
Omsk, Russia, March 15, 2013. Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK and Zenit KAZAN will be playing on Saturday the first semi-final for a Russian derby that will set the tone for a memorable Volleyball weekend at “V. Blinov” sports and concert complex in Omsk.
Click here for a comprehensive gallery of the press conference
Though they play away from home, the “hosts” of this final four can’t wait for that showdown and possibly cause a sensation by edging the star-studded side from Tatarstan. “We have been waiting for this final four to come right since that day where we were informed that our club was chosen to host it” team captain and 2012 Olympic champion Alexander Butko says. “I do hope we can play our best as many of our fans will be traveling by train for some 8 hours to make it to Omsk and cheer on us”. After a good start of the season, Lokomotiv has not performed that well in the past few weeks. Their head coach Andrey Voronkov is nevertheless convinced that his side is well-prepared for the much anticipated match with Zenit. “We have put together a group of great players but some have suffered injuries and this is evidently something you can’t foresee. We have tried to make the best out of this situation; I still have to determine the starting six for tomorrow and will make my final decision only upon completion of the last training”.
Though Alexander Volkov has missed the complete season due to injury, Zenit KAZAN were on a class of their own by sweeping all of their matches in the prelims – with a terrific series of six wins in straight sets – before they were confronted by one of this year’s real sensations, Germany’s BERLIN Recycling Volleys, in the Playoffs 12. After a couple of much contested matches there, Zenit literally routed their compatriots of Dinamo MOSCOW in the Playoffs 6 and is now ready for the next all-Russian affair. “We know that all matches will be tough here as this is the quintessence of any final four. However, we have worked hard and we evidently wish to retain our title from last year” team captain Maxim Mikhailov stresses. A good omen for the Tatars stems from the three matches they have claimed this year while playing their compatriots of Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK, but head coach Vladimir Alekno prefers to stay down-to-earth: “We shall not forget that they will be playing before thousands of fans and they do enjoy some kind of home advantage. And we also do not know for which players they will opt in the end. Anyway, the three wins we scored earlier this year do not count at all as here we all start from the scratch”.
In the second semi-final Italy’s Bre Banca Lannutti CUNEO will be playing Poland’s Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE. The guys from Italy are celebrating their first appearance in a final four as they finally completed their quest after missing out on that spot for the past few years. “If you just look at the players and coaches who came together for this press conference you can easily get to feel the quality and value of this final four. There will be world-class Volleyball all the way through up to Sunday night and only those capable of scoring back-to-back wins will eventually celebrate” Italian mentor Roberto Piazza points out. Team captain Wout Wijsmans did not hide his joy for having accomplished the goal to be among the top four, but he does not want to be content with this. “Once you are here you definitely want to go for more and we would love to add something up to our first participation in the very last act of the Champions League”.
On Saturday afternoon at 7.30 pm local time (1.30 pm CET) Bre Banca Lannutti CUNEO will play Zaksa, with Poland’s heroes having found their way to the final four for the first time in ten years. Argentinean-born head coach Daniel Castellani said his group is well ready after traveling to Siberia a couple of days ago to properly adjust to the time difference while team captain Pawel Zagumny stressed out the importance of what may turn into the opportunity of a lifetime to go for European glory.
Schedule of the semi-finals (local time, CET +6)
16:30 Zenit KAZAN (RUS) vs. Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK (RUS)
19:30 Bre Banca Lannutti CUNEO (ITA) vs. Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE (POL)
All matches of the final four weekend in Omsk will be streamed live and for free by LAOLA1.tv while a comprehensive live gallery will be available here
Click here to visit the official website of the final four (available in English and Russian)
The games will be televised in 103 countries worldwide including Asia, Oceania and the Middle East as per the detailed TV schedule available in the attached PDF document
TV Schedule- 2013 CEV Champions Leage_League_Final 4 Men.pdf