FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour

Sao Paulo Grand Slam | 23 - 28 September 2014

#SaoPauloGS


Press release

Last-minute invite leads Popp to fifth place at FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam


Germany's Marcus Popp, a two-time German Olympian for his nation's indoor volleyball team, enjoyed his last minute offer from Sebastian Dollinger and the duo finished fifth in this week's FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam.

Sao Paulo, Brazil, September 27, 2014 - The FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam has had its fair share of surprises, especially in the men's draw, but probably none more so than the last-minute partnership of Sebastian Dollinger and Marcus Popp from Germany.

Dollinger, who has played eight FIVB World Tour events with Lars Fluggen in 2014, asked Popp - a two-time Olympian in 2008 and 2012 with Germany's indoor volleyball team - just before the tournament if he was interested in partnering with him temporarily on the Sao Paulo sand.

"He (Dollinger) asked me last week and I said yes," said a surprised Popp. "I don't have an indoor club so far, so I said 'yeah, why not', it was a big chance for us to play well and we did and I'm very happy about that."

The pair made it out of the pool phase as Pool C winners when results in the final round of matches turned their way, first with the surprise three-set victory of fellow German team Markus Bockermann and Mischa Urbatzka over number three seeds Pedro Salgado and Alvaro Filho of Brazil, then when they fought off match points to take the tie-break 21-19 in their own match against the Grimalt cousins of Chile.

With a bye into the second elimination round with pool head, they then cleaned up their own higher-ranked Brazil pair, Victor Felipe and Evandro Goncalves 2-1 (28-26, 13-21, 16-14) to move into the quarter-finals, Dollinger's best result of the season and Popp's best beach result in his entire career.

"We didn't train together because we didn't know we would play together," said Popp about their tournament preparation. "I played on the German tour, so I didn't come from nothing, but this was an amazing experience."

The pair had played just one FIVB World Tour event together before, losing in the qualification stage of the Stare Jablonki Grand Slam in Poland more than four years ago in 2010, but Popp wasn't sure what the right chemistry was on this occasion.

"Maybe two good athletes together make a good result," he said. "I don't know what happened, it was nice, it was fun and we just took every point as it was."

The dream run of Dollinger and Popp finally came to an end Friday night on centre court against the 2004 Olympic champions, Brazil's Ricardo and Emanuel, who are playing their first Grand Slam event together since re-forming their successful partnership after a five year separation.

It was another close match however, with Germany coming back from a set behind to force a tie-break where Ricardo and Emanuel had to dig deep into their vast reserves of experience to win 15-13.

"The whole match was very even," said Popp. "I think some small details they made better, and of course they played together a long time so they know each other very well, for us it was the first tournament together, but it was a very big honour to play against them."

Popp is still waiting for a good offer to play club volleyball in Europe, but has also considered concentrating his attentions solely on beach and the FIVB World Tour. His results here in Sao Paulo could well have pushed his mind in the direction of the sand.

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