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17/03/2021 17:00
Will they do it again? VakifBank Istanbul vs Unet e-work Busto Arsizio
CEV Champions League Volley 2021 - Women

Luxembourg, March 17, 2021. The CEV Champions League Volley Women semi-finals are here and the first of the two matchups sees the Turkish giants from VakifBank Istanbul hosting the Italians from Unet e-work Busto Arsizio at the Vakifbank Spor Sarayi in what is expected to be a highly entertaining encounter between two teams that know what it takes to make it into the Finals of the competition.

A good result for any of the two teams in this first leg of the semi-finals could prove extremely important going into next week’s second leg that will take place in Italy. Both matches will be streamed live on CEV’s EuroVolley.TV.

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Head to Head

Despite numerous previous participations on both sides, VakifBank and Unet e-work are now meeting for the first time in Europe’s premiere club competition, giving this encounter an increasing aura of unpredictability.

If previous record against opposition from the same country is anything to go by, VakifBank Istanbul will be quite confident going into this semi-final, boasting a record of 10 wins out of 13 matches against Italian teams, while Unet e-work Busto Arsizio have won 3 out of their previous 8 matches against Turkish opposition, last two recorded in this season’s quarter-finals against Eczacibasi.

At the same time, VakifBank Istanbul played Italian opposition in their two most recent semi-final appearances in the Champions League, when they defeated Imoco Volley Conegliano in 2017/18 (3-2), but were ousted by Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA in 2018/19 (0-3 home defeat, 3-1 away win, 0-1 golden set loss).


VakifBank looking to extend record

VakifBank Istanbul is the most successful team in the CEV Champions League Volley Women and is now looking to extend records as they hope to reach the Champions League final for a seventh time, while also having won the competition four times, a joint record they hold with Volley Bergamo.

From their side, Isabelle Haak (150) is the third-best scorer this Champions League season with only Magdalena Stysiak (209 for Savino Del Bene SCANDICCI) and Tijana Boškovic (179 for Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL) having won more points. In 2019/20, Haak finished as Champions League top scorer on 170 points.



Busto Arsizio looking to build on an already great season

The Italians are not new to this stage of the competition, having reached the finals once before in 2014/15, when they lost to the same team they eliminated in this season’s quarter-finals, Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul. Going into this semifinal, they are looking to build on a five-match winning streak, their longest winning run in the competition.

A good start in today’s match could potentially give us an indication of how the rest might go, with Unet e-work BUSTO ARSIZIO having won each of their last 13 Champions League matches in which they won the opening set, while losing each of their last five in which they lost the opening set.

If they are to win this match they will be looking at Camilla Mingardi (136) and Alexa Lea Gray (131) to lead them on the court as they are the players who have won the most points for Unet e-work BUSTO ARSIZIO this Champions League season.

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