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24/11/2017 09:30
Halkbank set the bar high as excitement mounts ahead of CL season opener
2018 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men

Ankara, Turkey, November 24, 2017. The silver medallists from the 2014 edition of the CEV Volleyball Champions League, Turkey’s Halkbank ANKARA will soon start their journey in the 2018 ‘run’ of Europe’s elite club competition, playing in Pool B along with Germany’s VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Greece’s PAOK THESSALONIKI and Finland’s rookies Ford Store Levoranta SASTAMALA. Halkbank’s campaign will start in less than two weeks with an away match on the shores of the Lake of Constance.

“If you look at the names of our opponents, we could say that we got an easy group,” said head coach Slobodan Kovac. “On the other hand, VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN have a rich history, Finnish Volleyball has developed tremendously over the last 10 years and PAOK can be an extremely dangerous opponent since they have many top players on their roster. Therefore, we must take every match as seriously as possible and try to play the best we can. We stand a real chance only as long as we play to the best of our abilities. We must respect these three teams and focus on each match.”

Team captain Burutay Subasi commented: “Halkbank has been participating in the Champions League for a number of years; we have set high goals for the coming season and we are very excited to start our journey in this competition. We always set the highest goals for any competition we take part in, however we know that each opponent can be a hard nut to crack. We will represent Turkey in the best way we can and prepare carefully for each match we play in the pool. We respect each opponent but we would like to qualify for the Playoffs without losing any match, so we feel ready to compete with our rivals.”

Vice team captain Nemanja Petric added: “Even though you may feel like we got an easy draw, it is a very challenging group. All teams competing in the Champions League play good and high-quality Volleyball. VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN have a winning mentality, especially since they can count on a good coach and interesting players, so I think they will be a serious rival! PAOK have a rich history and with the support they always get from their fans, it will not be easy to play in Thessaloniki. They also have many experienced players on their roster, so this is a bonus as well. The Finnish team is the one I know the least, but I know their top players Mikko Esko and Olli Kunnari. They are very experienced and quality players and the others are certainly eager for big victories too! I think there will be interesting games in our group and very difficult ones! I also think that we should accept the role of being the pre-favourites in the pool because we have a very good team!”

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