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17/12/2018 09:00
An emotional journey to the past for Baptiste Geiler
2019 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Men

Friedrichshafen, Germany, December 17, 2018. On Tuesday, December 18, Germany’s VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN and France’s CHAUMONT VB 52 HM will meet for their second game in the pool stage of the 2019 CEV Volleyball Champions League. On the French side, we can spot a player who played for the ‘Häfler’ from 2013 to 2016. Baptiste Geiler has a very close relationship with the city on the shores of the Lake of Constance, not only because of competitive reasons.

On the morning of December 3, 2013, Geiler boarded the plane to Istanbul terribly tired. He had to travel alone. His teammates had already gone to Turkey the day before, for the Champions League match against Galatasaray. At that moment, Baptiste did not waste even a single thought on Volleyball. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. A few hours before, his girlfriend had given birth to their daughter Jana at the Klinikum Friedrichshafen. “It will be very special for me to come back to this place,” Geiler says. “There are so many good memories connected to this city. It was a very special time for me.”

It was for VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN as well. Geiler won the German cup and the championship with players like Maarten van Garderen and Benjamin Toniutti. His roommate was none other than Jénia Grebennikov who started his international career at the Lake of Constance. “That is why I really do miss Friedrichshafen,” Geiler says. “I hope to have time to go through the city, to see the mountains and to have a walk at the lake.” There should be time to do so when Geiler and CHAUMONT travel to Germany on January 30, 2019. However, before that, the French team will welcome the German cup winners on December 18.

Baptiste Geiler playing for VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN back in the 2013-2014 season.

After Geiler left Friedrichshafen in 2016, he went to Italy and France, where he played together with BERLIN’s current setter Jan Zimmermann. This season, CHAUMONT VB signed the outside hitter. VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN was already qualified for the pool phase of the 2019 CEV Volleyball Champions League, but CHAUMONT had to make a detour through the early rounds. “When I saw the chance to face FRIEDRICHSHAFEN in the pool phase I was really excited,” Geiler remembers. “And after the drawing of lots I was just like ‚wow‘.”

Geiler still knows three players from the current VfB roster. Thilo Späth-Westerholt and Adrian Aciobanitei played together with the Frenchman back in 2016. Jakob Günthör was on his way from the youth team, VolleyYoungstars, to be part of the Häfler professionals. For more information, Geiler may ask his teammate Martin Atanasov. The Bulgarian was part of Vital Heynen’s team until May 2018.