May 23, 2003 - In preparation for meeting Brazil in their opening 2003 World League matches on Saturday and Sunday German coach Stelian Moculescu answered some questions.
After three years of competing in the World League, which resulted in no wins in 2001 and four wins in 2002, what can we expect this year?
"Italy aren't rarely known but it's going to be difficult for our team, we want to win against Portugal but against Brazil and Italy will have to wait and see. What is pleasing is that they are close teams. When we want to have a chance against them everything in the team must be perfect."
What are the strengths and weaknesses of your team?
"We are good in block and in serving, when we improve a bit in our reception and setting then we are going to have good team."
In which areas are teams like Brazil and Italy superior to Germany?
"Especially in areas of reception and defence,"
"That's a good question, partially because the education of the players is somewhat better, they also have the tradition. In other parts it's because they have harder competition conditions."
This year's World League is not the only high point, the men's European Championships takes place in Germany. Do you see the World League also as part of your preparation for the European Championships?
"Yes, it's forced to be. It's has to comprise some of the preparation of the season."
In the 18-man World League squad Bogdan Jalowietzki is missing. Why?
"Up until the World League, Bobby had really played a lot, he is a little older and he needs a quiet period."
Does he still have a chance to play in the European Championships?
"Certainly, I will look carefully at the results of this middle blocker and then I will make more planning for the European Championships.
Are there other players who have a chance to join the European Championship bandwagon or will the 12 players come from the 18 players at the World League?
"That will be difficult. There aren't really any other players. Those that are now not in the 18 man squad at the World League have to rely on themselves to keep fit and cover for injuries but we hope we don't encounter these problems. Then we could have to make a decision.
Wolfgang Kuck is again in the national team. What do you believe will be his contribution?
"Wolfgang is a really good technical outside hitter and a player with great experience. I think the areas where we have particular weakness will be where we see Wolfgang perform. He rounds of our top team and brings us together.
In the actual squad there are regulars like Kuck and Liefke and younger players like Björn Andrae and Jochen Schöps. Is this a mixture for success?
"There isn't any other way. Playing with 20 and 30 year-olds is an illustration volleyball doesn't end at the European Championships and we should think ahead including to the 2012 Olympics, which might be in Germany. That means that 17 or 18 year-olds of today have to be built up now.
With Marco Fenoglio you have an Italian co-coach. What do you hope from that?
"It's always important that you look beyond your own territory. For a long time he was an assistant-coach of the national Italian team under Anastasi. He works well and he is a good fitness trainer. I hope to have receive certain characteristics and principles that the Italian's find advantagous.
In the years 2001-2003 the German team want to and wants to especially learn other methods of coaching. When will Germany start going into the World League with the aim to make the final?
"I can't answer that question and we want to manage that this time but certainly at some time this will be the goal that we have to have our eyes on.
What is the other main goal for the 2003 European Championship?
"When we reach the final round in Berlin that is already for us.