Stuttgart, Germany, June 29, 2011 - Following the announcement from the FIVB that Japan will automatically qualify for the FIVB World League in 2012 independent of the results of the Intercontinental Round, Japan's last two matches in Germany have a new importance for the hosts.
The team of coach Raúl Lozano missed the qualification for the Final Round but now they have to score in the matches with Asian champion Japan on Thursday (16:30 GMT) and Friday(17:00) in Stuttgart to not have to play in the playoffs. German opposite attacker Jochen Schöps stated very clearly, “we want to win two times”.
The FIVB announced on Tuesday that Japan are guaranteed a place in the FIVB World League 2012 due to the exceptional situation this year where they played all their matches away from home due to the natural disaster which occurred in February.
This has put Germany on the spot. At the moment the team of captain Robert Kromm has nine points and therefore four points more than France who are the second-worst team after Puerto Rico who have yet to score a point.
Due to the fact France have two home matches against the recently ineffective Korea and could obtain maximum pints, three points in Stuttgart are mandatory for Germany to avoid the qualification round in July and August. To obtain this a 3:0 or 3:1 victory would be enough, also avoiding a repeat of the results of Friedrichshafen three weeks ago.
At Lake Constance the teams divided the points 3:2 and 2:3 taking away three points each. Schöps remembers: “We had problems to start to the match, maybe because we are more used to the European style of playing.” In both matches Germany were down 2:0 before they enforced the decisive fifth set and the matches against unbeaten Russia last weekend has provided plenty of optimism after losing 3:1 and 3:2 against the second ranked side in the current FIVB rankings.
“We play with too many ups and downs in our performance. We play two sets very well but cannot maintain this level for three sets against a top team as Russia," Lozano explained. We have to work on our stability and for that reason participating in the World League is so important. In this competition we have the opportunity to gain experience and constancy.”
The German squad versus Japan: Robert Kromm (Verona/ITA), Jochen Schöps (Odintsovo/RUS), Simon Tischer (Krasnodar/RUS), Patrick Steuerwald (Warschau/POL), Sebastian Schwarz (Perugia/ITA), Marcus Popp (Piacenza/ITA), Marcus Böhme (VfB Friedrichshafen), Max Günthör, Ferdinand Tille, Denis Kaliberda (Generali Haching), Stefan Hübner, Christian Dünnes (evivo Düren), Ricardo Galandi (SCC Berlin), Markus Steuerwald (Paris Volley/FRA)