Modena, Italy, October 9, 2010 – Vladimir Nikolov scored 25 points to carry Bulgaria to a straight-set victory (26-24, 26-24, 25-21) over Germany that secured the eastern Europeans seventh place at the 2010 FIVB Men's World Championship on Saturday.
The amazing Nikolov compiled four aces and two blocks among his impressive total while Matey Kaziyski and Nilolay Nikolov contributed nine and eight points respectively. For Germany Robert Kromm charted 19 points and Bjorn Andrae and Jochen Schops 11 apiece. Although the Germans had the edge in blocking (10-9), the Bulgarians won out in the aces department (5-2).
FIVB Men's World Championship 2010 official page
Bulgaria coach Silvano Prandi selected a starting lineup of setter Konstantin Mitev, opposite Vladimir Nikolov, outside hitters Kaziysky and Todor Aleksiev, middle blockers Viktor Yosifov and Nikolay Nikolov and libero Teodor Salparov. His Germany counterpart Lozano opted for setter Simon Tischer, opposite Schops, outside hitters Andrae and Kromm, middle blockers Christian Dunnes and Max Gunthor, and libero Ferdinand Tille.
The 5,000 spectators in Modena saw the match unfold with an impressive level of intensity. Bulgaria opened up a 10-5 lead thanks to a display of aggressive attacking and serving by captain Vlado Nikolov. With Germany guilty of too many errors, Bulgaria extended their advantage to 19-12, before Lozano's men embarked on a comeback. Patrick Steuerwald served to even the score at 23-all but Bulgaria responded and Kaziysky's attack from the second line wrapped up the first set at 26-24.
Germany's setter Tischer and opposite Schops were on court again to start the second set and the latter, with Kromm's support, helped their team take a 15-12 lead. As Mexican waves rolled around the arena, the Germans profited from Tischer's smart setting to move 19-15 in front, but Bulgaria fought back. With Vlado Nikolov's powerful serving, they drew level at 19-19 before a block from Nikolay Nikolov put them 23-21 ahead. In an exciting finish, Schops made it 24-all only for excellent defensive work by Kaziysky and a powerful attack by Vlado Nikolov to clinch the set for Bulgaria.
Bulgaria now had the bit between their teeth, forcing Germany on to the back foot with some impressive attacking and blocking. Germany kept their focus and fought back to reduce the deficit to 19-17, thanks to blocks from Dunnes and Kromm. Yet Bulgaria made sure of victory – and seventh place – when a devastating block by Vlado Nikolv, the man of the match, completed their victory at 25-21.