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CEV Volleyball Champions League: 12 teams already qualified for Playoffs with one more round to go

 
Alexander Abrosimov in action Wednesday as last year's winners, Zenit Kazan, scored their fifth consecutive win in the CEV Volleyball Champions League preliminaries over Germany's VfB Friedrichshafen
Luxembourg, December 7, 2012 - After the fifth round of preliminaries for the 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League were completed on Thursday, the starting field for the next stage of Europe’s elite competition, the Playoffs 12, is nearly complete.

The drawing of lots for the Playoffs 12 will be held this coming Thursday, December 13 at 15:00 local time. There will also be an official announcement of venues to host the final four tournaments scheduled for next March.

In the men’s division, there is one more round of preliminaries still to play next Wednesday. Five teams have already secured leadership of their respective preliminary groups, thereby earning a ticket to the Playoffs. Last year’s winners, Zenit Kazan of Russia, won their fifth consecutive win in straight sets on Wednesday and will probably send their second team to Belgium for the last match in Pool A against Knack Roeselare. The other teams with perfect records of five wins in as many matches are four-time club world champions Trentino Diatec (Pool C), last year’s silver medallists PGE Skra Belchatow (Pool E), Belgium’s Noliko Maaseik and Italy’s Bre Banca Lannutti Cuneo from Pool F and G.

In Pool B, Germany’s Berlin Recycling Volleys are still in contention for first place after scoring a terrific home win against the current leader of the group, Lokomotiv Novosibirsk. This means the two two teams' last matches on Wednesday – with Lokomotiv set to play Budvanska Rivijera Budva in Russia and Berlin facing Jihostroj Ceske Budejovice in Czech Republic - will decide who advances to the next round.

A similar scenario is being played out in Pool D, where Lube Banca Marche Macerata's winning streak was ended on Wednesday by ACH Volley Ljubljana. After a poor start with two consecutive defeats, the squad from Slovenia’s capital gradually built momentum and now sit in second place with 10 points – just two less than the star-studded Italian team. ACH Volley is set to visit the third-ranked team in Pool D, Germany’s Generali Unterhaching, on Wednesday. Even the Bavarians still have a chance to make it to the Playoffs if they score a home win and end up being among the five second-ranked teams with the best records.

In the women’s competition, seven out of the 12 spots available for the Playoffs were already assigned following the fifth preliminary round.

Turkey’s Vakifbank Istanbul and Eczacibasi VitrA Istanbul prolonged their winning streaks to five matches and pocketed first place in their groups, as have the Azerbaijani silver medallists from the 2012 FIVB Club World Championships, Rabita Baku. The first and second ranked teams in Pool C (Galatasaray Daikin Istanbul and Unendo Yamamay Busto Arsizio) and E (Dinamo Kazan and Schweriner SC) are also already determined. The standings are extremely close in Pool F, however, with three teams – Lokomotiv Baku, Dinamo Moscow and Bank BPS Fakro Muszyna – still in contention for tickets to the next round.

Additionally, RC Cannes and Uralochka-NTMK Ekaterinburg are still fighting for second place in Pool A, as are AsystelCarnaghi Villa Cortese and Atom Trefl Sopot in Pool B, and Azerrail Baku and Tauron MKS Dabrowa Gornicza in group D.

The preliminaries of the 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League will be completed on Tuesday and Wednesday for women and men, respectively. As the starting field was extended this year to 24 women’s and 28 men’s teams, the tickets for the Playoffs 12 are assigned as follows:
-    First and second ranked teams of each preliminary group (women);
-    All first ranked teams plus the five second-ranked teams with the best records (men).

The drawing of lots for the Playoffs 12 will be preceded by the drawing for the Challenge Round of the 2013 CEV Volleyball Cup that will be joined by four teams coming down from the preliminaries of the 2013 CEV Volleyball Champions League.




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