WL: Final 6 without Russia? It is possible!

Germany overcame Russia after exciting five sets match in Frankfurt and may deprive “Sborna’’ Finals participation. As Russia has already finished its competition in Pool B and Germany still has two games remaining against Iran next weekend, so if only Vital Heynen’s wards collect 6 points in Teheran, they will fly to Argentina at the expense of Russia. The first spot ,so far, is reserved for Italy despite Azzurri lost 4 points playing against Serbia.




Germany – Russia 3 – 2 (25-21, 25-21, 18-25, 23-25, 18-16)

Germany: Kampa 3, Kaliberda 24, Bohme 12, Schops 17, Froom 17, Collin 6, Tille (L) and Hisch, M. Steuerwald, Broshog, P. Steuerwald
Russia: Makarov, Sivozhelez 6, Apalikov 8, Pavlov 22, Spiridonov 21, Muserskiy 16, Verbov (L) and Grankin 1, Zhilin 11

It was a tight game the 3,200 spectators saw in the first set. Both teams played at an equal level in the early phase as they tied (7-7). However, the German players were better in response to the ball and took a three point lead (21-18) in crunch time. For the Germans it was the key to success. The Russian Team wasn’t able to catch the advantage and lost the first set. Lukas Kampa decided the set with a block (25-21).

In the second set, Russia started strong and claimed a 8-7 advantage until the first time out. However, Germany wasn’t impressed and fought back, as Denis Kaliberda scored five points in the second heat. Russia had no response, so the German team seized the second set (21-19), to get ahead 2-0.

The score matched Friday’s after the second set, in the third set, the Russians moved to the front with a brilliant start (9-2) and increased their performance. They pressured the host with strong attacks and their serve. Germany could not compensate the disastrous opening, allowing Russia to secure the win (25-18).

Russia became better in block and attack, and the German players offered problems in the defense (16-12). A four-point run (16-16) couldn’t prevent the equalizer (25-23). In the tiebreak, both teams tried to set the killing shot. It was Denis Kaliberda who cared a two-point advantage (7-5). However, Germany wrapped it up to 18-16 and finished a dramatic set after three failed match balls.

For Germany, Denis Kaliberda was top-scorer of the game with 23 points. On the Russian side, Nikolay Pavlov scored 22 times.

Team Stats:

         Actions     Germany       RussiaSpike points            58           63Spike %            43%           42%Block            13           13Serve             9            9Dig            28           43Reception            35%           41%Running Sets Note           8.80          8.60Unforced Errors            31           23


Serbia – Italy 3 – 1 (28-26, 17-25, 25-23, 25-19)

Serbia: Jovovic 2, U. Kovacevic 15, Rosic 13, Starovic 18, Petric 13, Podrascanin 1, Rosic (L) and Atanasijevic 3, Stankovic 6
Italy: Travica 4, Parodi 11, Birarelli 10, Zaytsev 19, Savani 14, Beretta 2, Giovi (L) and Piano 5, Vettori 3, Rossini

Despite their win, Serbia is officially out of the FIVB World League finals, allowing coach Kolakovic to shuffle the squad a little bit. Sasa Starovic got the chance to play instead of Atanasijevic on the opposite side, Petric got introduced to change a weary Nikola Kovacevic, and young Nikola Jovovic substituted the experienced Vlado Petkovic on the setter position.

Early in the first set, Italy earned a 3-point advantage, but after the first technical break Serbia managed to tie the result at 9-9. However, Italy wouldn`t let go and immediately got back in front by 2 points (11-9). By the second technical break a 3-point lead was restored and Italy went to the pause leading 16-13. At 18-16 to Italy, Aleksandar Atanasijevic, the best scorer of the competition, got back into the game, and help Serbia reach the tie at 19-19 lifting the team’s spirit with couple of good serves and forcing coach Berruto to ask for a break. After an exciting finish, Serbian youngsters prevailed and concluded the set at 28-26 with a powerful killing block by Milan Rasic and Uros Kovacevic.

Italy came back with a vengeance in the beginning of the second set taking an early 8-2 lead. Serbia recuperated several points after the break on Stankovic’s serve to reach 3 points of deficit at 5-8, but Italy wouldn`t let this one slip away. They restored a 6-point lead at 12-6 and routinely wrapped up the set at 25-17 to tie the match 1-1.

Italy started the third set better, taking an early 3-1 lead, but Serbia soon regained momentum and turned the score in their favour at 6-4. However, it was Italy leading 8-7 at the first technical break. An exciting battle was seen through the second technical time-out and neither of the teams could gain some tangible advantage. Italy managed to augment the lead to 2 points of advantage after the break (21-19), but Serbia with Jovovic behind the service line managed to turn the score around and get in front at 23-22. Coach Berruto’s time-out helped Italy tie the score, but it was Serbia who reached the first set point and convert it with a powerful serve of Aleksandar Atanasijevic for 25-23 and 2:1 in sets for the home side.

It was an even match in the beginning of the fourth set, but after 3-3 on the scoreboard, Serbia stormed to the first technical break with 5 consecutive points (8-3). After the second technical time-out Serbia managed to preserve the lead, which was reduced just by one point (16-12). Italy tried with a final push after the break reducing the gap to just 2 points at 14-16, but Serbia immediately answered with two consecutive points of their own to restore a 4-point lead at 18-14. Italy fought back once again at 16-20 winning 2 points in a row (18-20) and forcing coach Kolakovic to ask for a time-out. Serbia reacted well and went up 21-18. Atanasijevic’s ace made it 22-18, and the final outcome was already in sight. Coach Berruto tried to turn the game around with a time-out, but Italy could not find strength to push once again.

Team stats:

        Actions         Serbia         ItalySpike points             53          47Spike %             48%          44%Block             11          15Serve              7           6Dig             17          12Reception             40%          41%Running Sets Note             8.5           9Unforced Errors             24          25


Pool B Standings:

RankTeamPlayed gamesMatches won/lostPoints1.Italy107/3192.Russia107/3193.Serbia105/5164.Germany84/4145.Iran84/4126.Cuba101/94

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