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02/03/2020 10:59
Two unpredictable match-ups in this week’s #CLVolleyW quarterfinals
CEV Champions League Volley 2020 - Women

Luxembourg, March 2, 2020.  Eight teams survived the challenges of the pool stage in the CEV Champions League Volley 2020 - Women. Four of them are ready to continue their quest for continental honours in Europe’s top-tier club competition as the first unpredictable clashes in two of the quarterfinal match-ups bound to spark excitement among Volleyball fans all over the world are set to be played this week. The other two have been postponed in regards to the recent spread of the coronavirus on the continent. That includes the encounter between Italy’s Savino Del Bene Scandicci and Turkey’s Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul, which had been selected Match of the Week, as well as the game between Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul and 2019 gold medallists Igor Gorgonzola Novara of Italy, who were supposed to close the competition week on Thursday in Turkey.

The only German team in the quarterfinals, Allianz MTV Stuttgart, will entertain reigning club world champions A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano of Italy on Wednesday at 19:00 local time at the SCHARRena. While Imoco achieved the best record among all participants in the pool stage – six wins, 17 points and 18-2 sets in Pool D, Allianz finished just above the cut-off line as the third-best among the runners-up on a 4-2 win-loss record in Pool C. However, the German squad already experienced an encounter with an Italian standout and even managed to defeat defending continental champs Igor Gorgonzola Novara in four sets at home in Stuttgart.

Ioannis Athanasopoulos, head coach of Allianz MTV Stuttgart: "Imoco is a dream team and the big favourite to win the Champions League trophy. We are very excited that we will play this top team, and I would like to invite all Volleyball fans to fill the SCHARRena, support us and watch some top Volleyball. We want to enjoy the game and try to make them feel uncomfortable at our arena."

Celine Van Gestel, outside spiker of Allianz MTV Stuttgart: "Imoco play like a team from another planet. It is my first year in the Champions League and I feel honoured to meet such an impressive team. I know we all are going to give our best and we want to enjoy every moment of playing against the club world champions in front of our amazing fans."

Jennifer Geerties, outside spiker of A. Carraro Imoco Conegliano: "Of course, a strange trip to Stuttgart! I can't say anything to the German fans because I don't know what the situation in the city is! It will be nice if a lot of people come, but I understand the whole situation and they have to decide by themselves! It will be a great atmosphere at the gym if a lot of fans come. This is for sure... For our team it has been a long time without games (the last game we played was on February 18 against Nantes VB), but we kept the focus on us and tried to keep the rhythm during training. Now the focus is on Allianz MTV and we had more than one week to prepare for this match. I only know the opposite from last year and the second setter, but she has had an injury for a long time. I can't say a lot about them, but playing in Stuttgart is always difficult because of the great atmosphere at the arena. We have to keep our eyes on the opposite Krystal Rivers and play our fast game as usual."

There is potential for an all-Italian duel in the semifinals. Should both Imoco and Savino Del Bene Scandicci manage to overcome their quarterfinal opponents, they will meet face to face for a spot in the Super Final in Berlin.

On the other end of the bracket, there is potential for an all-Turkish battle in the semis, which will happen if VakifBank Istanbul and Fenerbahce Opet Istanbul emerge victorious from their quarterfinal series with Dinamo Moscow and Igor Gorgonzola Novara, respectively.

Dinamo and VakifBank, the only quarterfinal encounter between two pool winners, will open the competition week on Tuesday at 19:00 local time at the Dvorets sporta Dinamo in Moscow. The Russian champions managed to win the toughest of the five pools claiming four victories in Pool E and becoming the only pool winner to concede two defeats. They find extra motivation in their upcoming clash with the squad from Istanbul as they will have to face ex-Dinamo setter Maja Ognjenovic. VakifBank topped Pool B after losing their campaign opener at home, but winning the next five matches to finish on 15 points, two clear of Italian rivals Savino. In the pool, the Turkish team took two victories over another Russian side, Lokomotiv Kaliningrad Region, 3-2 away and 3-0 at home.

Zeljko Bulatovic, head coach of Dinamo Moscow: "If we want to be the best in Europe, of course, we should beat every team, and VakifBank is not an exception."

Nataliya Goncharova, opposite of Dinamo Moscow: "I believe that the game of Maja is really very interesting. She is able to use the attackers masterfully, making the game very unpredictable. VakifBank, among other things, is a team with a strong overall game and a good organisation. It will not be easy to play with them, but we will do our best!"

All Champions League games are streamed live on EuroVolleyTV.
For more info on the competition, go to the CEV Champions League Volley 2020 - Women section.

News nr. 6 of 66
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