PRESS RELEASE 26.03.2005


Thessaloniki and fans defeat defending champion Belgorod

Thessaloniki, Greece, March 26, 2005 - In the Final Four of the men's Indesit European Champions' League 2004/05, which is taking place in the Greek port city of Thessaloniki, Tours Vb (Fra) will meet Iraklis Thessaloniki (Gre) in the final.

Tours Vb was the first team to qualify for the final of the men's Indesit European Champions' League 2004/05, defeating German Vfb Friedrichshafen 3:0 (25-18, 25-22, 25-19). Best scorer was Vladimir Nikolov (Tours Vb) with 20 points followed by Jochen Schoeps from Vfb FRiedrichshafen (12 points).

"The experience of our players compared to the mostly young players from the German team was the deciding factor for our victory", commented Tours head coach Roberto Serniotti after the match, "Even though the German team served very strong, our reception was very stable." "We didn't expect to win this match so easy", added Tours team captain Loic De Kergret, "but we did expect to win." The head coach from Vfb Friedrichshafen Stelian Moculescu congratulated the French team, stating "We are happy to have reached the Final Four and wish all the best for Tours for the final."

However, the more than 8'000 spectators in the sold-out Paok sports arena of Thessaloniki were anxiously awaiting the second semifinal between their local team from Iraklis and two-time defending champion Lokomotiv Belgorod from Russia. Sharing the first two sets the tiebreak was dominated by the home team who gave away most points through serve errors (4-3, 10-7). Although Russian top scorer Sergey Baranov managed to defend the first match point against them (14-13), Iraklis' team captain Andrej Kravarik smashed his home team into the final.

Men's Indesit European Champions' League 2004/05 Final Four in Thessaloniki (Gre)

Semifinal results
Vfb Friedrichshafen (Ger) - Tours Vb (Fra)
0:3 18-25, 22-25, 19-25 78 mins
Iraklis Thessaloniki (Gre) - Lokomotiv Belgorod (Rus)
3:2 22-25, 25-23, 18-25, 25-19, 15-13 120 mins

Further match schedule (local time)
Sunday, 27 March 2005
16.00 Vfb Friedrichshafen (Ger) - Lokomotiv Belgorod (Rus)
19.00 Tours Vb (Fra) - Iraklis Thessaloniki (Gre)

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