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23/02/2016 21:03
STUTTGART bid farewell to European arena, Dinamo KRASNODAR continue to vie for second straight CEV Cup crown
2016 CEV Volleyball Cup – Women

Stuttgart, Germany, February 23, 2016. Although the visitors were having a little trouble with some injuries, Dinamo KRASNODAR edged Allianz MTV STUTTGART for the second time in two weeks (3-0; 25-16, 25-15, 25-21) to secure a spot in the semis of the 2016 CEV Volleyball Cup – Women as the Russian heavyweight try to retain the crown they claimed last year when edging Poland’s PGE Atom Trefl SOPOT in the finals.

After a crystal-clear 3-0 loss two weeks ago in Russia, Allianz MTV STUTTGART challenged last year‘s gold medallists much more in their home stadium, the SCHARRena. However, after 71 minutes it was the Russian team to celebrate another straight-sets victory to prolong their journey through Europe, while the players of the hosting team could nevertheless be happy with their European campaign this season, being a CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League rookie and having reached the Challenge Round in the CEV Cup by coming out of the League Round as one of the best third-ranked teams.

“Everyone expected us to be an easy prey for the top teams. But we were not,” said Guillermo Naranjo Hernandez, the Spanish-born mentor of Allianz MTV STUTTGART. “In the last two years we only lost seven games in the SCHARRena, two of them being those we have played with top European teams such as Dinamo KAZAN and Dinamo KRASNODAR. Allianz MTV STUTTGART have gained a good reputation, both in Germany and in Europe,” he continued.

This coming Sunday his team has the chance to win the national cup for the third time in the club’s history. As for the Bundesliga, Allianz MTV STUTTGART have reached a perfect situation, sitting currently in third place and having still two irons in the fire for further gold medals. “We were able to compete with the best teams of the world and this was an honour for us,” said Hernandez. “But our budget is smaller, our coaching staff is smaller and of course our players are smaller. All we could rely on were our morale, our hearts and our souls.”

For STUTTGART’s team manager Bernhard Lobmüller the European trip was also a very instructive time. “Unfortunately we had to discover that the product Volleyball on a European level has no specific market in the greater industrial region of Stuttgart,” he says. The Champions League matches during the week did only attract around 1,400 fans on average, “which is a lot more than we counted on our away games, but this does not meet the necessary economic requirements to compete on such a high level.”

As they sit in third place in the Bundesliga, the chances are excellent for Allianz MTV STUTTGART that their farewell to European competitions will be lasting for a short time and they can come back next year.

Guillermo Naranjo Hernandez, coach of Allianz MTV STUTTGART, said about the re-match with Dinamo KRASNODAR: “We did what they let us do, but hey, they are the titleholders. And I am very happy that our performance was better at home than there.”

Kim Renkema, team captain of Allianz MTV STUTTGART: “What can I say: they are a way better than us. As we speak our focus shifts on the cup final on Sunday. Now, the past is not important anymore.”

Liubov Shashkova, team captain of Dinamo KRASNODAR: “We prepared very well for this game and it turned out to be very easy for us, because our block was perfect.”

Konstantin Ushakov, coach of Dinamo KRASNODAR: “I am very happy that it only took three sets to win because we have a very difficult calendar and a busy schedule awaiting us.”

Click here for more info including detailed stats of the match

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