FIVB Men's World Olympic Qualification Tournament 2012 | Germany

Press release

Germany thrill home crowd with tough victory over spirited Cuba

Marcus Popp and the German team celebrates the important victory against Cuba.

 Berlin, Germany, June 9, 2012 – World No 13 Germany dropped No 5 Cuba in a ground breaking thriller tiebreaker 3-2 (25-21, 25-17, 21-25, 17-25, 20-18) on the second day of the Men’s World Olympic Qualification held in front of 4.550 spectators who were in their toes throughout the match lasting more than two hours at Max- Schmeling Hall in Berlin, Germany on Saturday.

 The host fought hardly in the tiebreak when they saved 4 match points before they could win against the strong Caribbean team. 

 Germany remains unbeaten as the only team in the tournament, to lead the 4 nation champs at the end of the second day with 5 points ahead of Cuba (4) and Czech Republic (3).

 The win lifted Germany to a 2-0 win/loss record in the competition while Cuba fell to 1-1. Opposite attacker György Grozer played key roles for the German victory not only with his razor sharp attacks from position 2, but also with his unstoppable ace services that disturbed the Cuban defence completely specially in the second set . He was the match best scorer with 35 points as the best scoring performance till now and out of them 6 aces. Cuba’s best scorer was Wilfredo Leon (19 pts)

 Germany improved the head to head meetings against Cuba to 9-18. Cuba have won the last 11 out of 15 matches against Germany including the last matches at the 2010 World League and a total 18 matches but Germany repeated their victory in the Olympic qualifier that happened 4 years ago in Düsseldorf.

 4.550 spectators got to see two highly motivated teams right from the start of the match. After Cuba got a little advantage in the beginning of the first set Germany fought hard and took the first lead at 5-4. A precise reception and defense allowed Germany a strong and accurate attack. Even though Cuba tried to come back in the game, the vice world champion couldn´t bear the host team from pulling away and winning the set with 25-21.
Germany continued playing at its best. The team quickly took advance over Cuba again especially due to a brilliant series of services by Germanys Georg Grozer. Meanwhile the Cubans struggled with their defence which hampered the team from putting up a fight. Germany, still imposing with a tremendous team performance, extended the lead without any problems and closed the set with 25-17.
 The third set turned out to be much more embattled than the first ones. Cuba, became obviously stronger than before, scored some important points and took the lead against Germany at 8-7. The Germans were giving everything to keep close to the Cubans, whose performance completely changed all of a sudden. Nevertheless Cuba got to keep their superiority and succeeded with 25-21.
 Germany´s strong smashes and blocks could bring the team back into the match in the fourth set, though. Both Germany and Cuba fought for every ball, none of the teams got to take the lead. Finally it was Cuba, headed by a superb playing Leon, who made the important points and put Germany´s defence under pressure again. The Caribbean team pulled clear and draw leveled with 2-2 in sets.

 The crucial tie-break was hard to beat for tension. The teams showed a duel on high level. After Germany was down with two points the host team got to equate to 6-6. From now on a neck-and-neck-race (9-9, 10-10, 11-11, 13-13, 14-14, 15-15, 16-16, 17-17, 18-18) developed. Finally it was an attack of top scorer Grozer which ended the match in favor of Germany.

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