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26/07/2020 17:00
Poland men’s 2020 season in four matches
News from the National Federations

Warsaw, Poland, July 26, 2020. The unusual 2020 Volleyball season has turned international matches into a rare commodity, very much longed for by players and fans alike. Those in Poland had a chance to play and watch (albeit not in person) two friendlies between the women’s national teams of Poland and Czech Republic in Wałbrzych only a few weeks ago. Now time has come to “unfreeze” men’s competition as well.

Vital Heynen’s men faced Team Germany in Zielona Góra, where the neighbouring countries played two sparring games on July 22 and 23. Even though no ranking points nor medals were at stake, the matches received a full-fledged TV coverage and huge interest from the media and “fasted” volleyball fans alike.

As before, the matches took place under the required safety measures and without any audience, however, the fans could mark their presence by sending in their pictures, eventually reproduced as avatars placed in the seats at the arena. Those who wanted to be physically closer to the action could watch the game from a drive-in cinema outside the venue.

Andrea Giani, the head coach of Germany, travelled along a 16-strong squad of players, with some new young faces on board and, as agreed before the matches, was able to utilise all of them instead of choosing only 14. He did so to a very good effect, as in the first match Germany was able to keep Poland at bay for the first two sets with great defensive play. After a longer-than-usual break, coach Heynen replaced most of the initial line-up to give all of his players a chance to show up on the court. This also marked a turning point in the match, eventually won by 3-2 (18-25, 23-25, 25-17, 25-22, 15-10) by the home team.

The next day Poland showed their efficiency from set one, beating the visiting team 3-0 (26-24, 25-16, 25-21) before playing an additional, fourth set, agreed on prior to the match. Germany was happy to take home a small 1-0 (27-25) victory from that additional game, but more importantly, with the chance to play volleyball, appear on court for the first time this year and conclude their international season in that positive manner.