NEWS

Date: 10 April 2019, 08:00
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D-Day has come in #CLVolleyM!

It is ‘THE’ night Volleyball fans have been waiting for since a couple of weeks already – with two mouth-watering matches to determine the eventual finalists of this year’s CEV Champions League – Men.

Zenit KAZAN and Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA will go for another ‘Clash of the Titans’ after last week the first round ended in a dramatic 3-2 away victory for the Russian armada. On the other hand, Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA need to take at least two sets from their home match with PGE Skra BELCHATOW to secure their trip to the Super Finals in Berlin and vie for Europe’s most coveted crown for the second year in a row. Make sure you follow the matches on EuroVolleyTV, with English commentary available for both!

Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA (ITA) vs. PGE Skra BELCHATOW (POL)

•    Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA are searching for their second Champions League final match in a row, the third in their club’s history.
•    PGE Skra BELCHATOW can make it to the Super Finals in Berlin only by winning 3-0 or 3-1 in Civitanova and taking the eventual Golden Set that would follow.
•    Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA must win at least two sets to secure the ticket for the Super Finals in Berlin, after recording a comprehensive 3-0 victory last week in Lodz.
•    Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA and PGE Skra BELCHATOW are playing against each other in the CEV Champions League for the fifth year in a row: before the match, the two teams will exchange shirts to celebrate this record and their friendship.
•    Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA have just made it to the semis of the Italian national league after two straight wins over Calzedonia VERONA in the best-of-three quarterfinal series.

Dragan Stankovic, middle blocker and captain of Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA: “Even if we won 3-0 in Lodz, showing a great game, the semi-final is still not over. We know that we must win at least two sets to make it to the Super Finals in Berlin, but our goal is to win the match, not the single sets, in order to continue our winning streak in the tournament. Our opponents will give their best to turn the tables and have a chance to go to Berlin: therefore, we must take great care of our game in every aspect in order to achieve the desired result.”

After their 3-0 victory last week in Lodz, Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA have set their sights on the CL Super Finals in Berlin.

Zenit KAZAN (RUS) vs. Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA (ITA)

•    In the first match, held on March 3, the team coached by Vladimir Alekno claimed a dramatic 3-2 victory in Perugia. The outside hitters of Zenit KAZAN – Earvin Ngapeth (22 points, including four aces, excellent reception, a solid performance in defence) and Matthew Anderson (20 points, 83% of attack efficiency) – were undoubtedly the main heroes of the match.
•    Zenit KAZAN has been systematically preparing for the return match throughout the whole week. As for PERUGIA, last Sunday they clashed with Vero Volley MONZA in the second match of the Italian national league quarterfinals, surprisingly losing 2-3 to the silver medallists of the 2019 CEV Challenge Cup. In the first match, the squad of Lorenzo Bernardi outclassed the opponent (3-0) and now everything will go down to the wire in the third and last match of the series.
•    Wednesday night will be the first time Wilfredo Leon returns to the capital of Tatarstan after leaving Zenit KAZAN, under whose colours he played 199 matches in four consecutive seasons (2014-2018) and eventually captured 16 out of 19 possible trophies. To remember, the spectacular farewell from Zenit and their fans to one of the best Volleyball players of our time took place in the Basket-Hall on May 13, 2018 right after Zenit KAZAN claimed the Champions League title for a fourth straight time.
•    Zenit KAZAN have got the upper hand in all three matches against PERUGIA this far: in the final of the 2017 Champions League (3-0), in the semi-finals of the 2018 edition (3-0) and last week in the first match of this season’s semi-final series (3-2). Zenit is the only rival PERUGIA have never managed to beat in the Champions League.
•    Zenit are currently on a ten-match winning run in the CL against Italian opposition since a 0-3 defeat against Cucine Lube CIVITANOVA in the 2013/14 group phase.
•    All tickets to the super match Zenit KAZAN vs. PERUGIA are gone. It is going to be a big night of Volleyball with 5,000 spectators coming to witness a historic battle in the Saint Petersburg Arena.
•    Zenit KAZAN have won at least two sets in each of their last 53 CL matches, since a 1-3 defeat against JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel on 23 March 2014 in the bronze medal match.

Tomaso Totolo, assistant coach of Zenit KAZAN: “PERUGIA did not serve in the first match as well as it could and as they usually do. Powerful serves are their main weapon. They usually score many aces or masterfully perform in a rally with ball transition. On the other hand, we were quite good at ball reception. We managed that element well enough, the boys played well and it was the key to success. I think the second match will be another tough fight just like it was a week ago.”

Lorenzo Bernardi, head coach of Sir Colussi Sicoma PERUGIA: “The semi-final of the Champions League is not over yet, isn’t it? In Italy, there was a tough game. A game of teams that are among the top three in the world, and in Kazan there will be a similar match, and we should be ready for a battle. One single point, one successful defence, and not just the attack, can determine the result of this match.”