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16/12/2019 22:00
Jelte Maan goes for 100th cap in European Cups against JATRZEBSKI Wegiel
CEV Champions League Volley 2020 - Men

Maaseik, Belgium, December 16, 2019. It was a special moment for Jelte Maan, this Monday at the end of a training session back home in Maaseik. His coach Joel Banks and his teammates from VC Greenyard MAASEIK took him by surprise with a special gift: a personalised cover of the local newspaper with his name and the script “100x European” on it plus a bottle of champagne. Indeed, it will be a very special Thursday this week in Jastrzebie Zdroj for the 33-year-old Dutchman. “Do I already have 100?” he wondered. “I really did not know that. This is a very nice surprise.”

Maan has collected his 100 caps in the European Cups wearing the shirt of only two teams: from 2004 until 2008, he played for the Dutch side Dynamo APELDOORN, in the following 12 seasons for Belgium’s Noliko/Greenyard MAASEIK. With Apeldoorn, he first collected eight caps in CEV Cup qualification rounds and six more in the 2008 edition of the CEV Champions League. For MAASEIK, he has appeared in 81 Champions League and 4 CEV Cup games.

“Even though it was 15 years ago, I still remember my first European game very well,” says Maan. “We played a tournament at home in Apeldoorn, and the first game was against Isku Volley TAMPERE from Finland. We fell down 0-2, but we came back and won the game 3-2.”

That scenario sounds very familiar to Jelte Maan. “Indeed. It is exactly what happened in my 98th game two weeks ago in Ankara and in my 99th game last week against Zenit KAZAN. In both games, we made a miracle happen. I would be fine with the same scenario in Poland against JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel. However… I prefer a simple 3-0 win.”

However, that is not the only reason why Jastrzebie Zdroj means something special to Jelte Maan. Indeed, one year after his European debut in his home arena, he played his first European game on the road in the Polish city. The result was a 3-2 win, this time after being down ‘only’ 1-2.

Jelte Maan erupts in joy following the victory of his team against heavy favourites Zenit KAZAN last week in Maaseik.

When asked about his most memorable games, Maan picks two: “Two home matches. First there is last week’s victory against Zenit KAZAN, because they are a real super team with four Champions League gold medals in the last five years.” Maan received the award for the MVP of that match. “And secondly, I still recall our victory in 2010 against the big Bre Banca Lannutti CUNEO, with Noliko’s icon Wout Wijsmans standing on the other side of the net. These are my most memorable evenings.”

What about the biggest deception? “I have never reached the Final Four of the Champions League, even though we were very close in 2011: after a 2-3 away loss in Poland, we won the return 3-0 at home. Yet we had to play a Golden Set, and we lost it. That was a huge blow.”

The name of that Polish team? Indeed, JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel! “So, you can imagine why I want a revenge this Thursday,” Maan concludes.

News nr. 1674 of 23547
17/12/2019 12:00:00
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SCHWERIN hope for early Christmas present on Tuesday night
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