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Russian, Italian and Polish teams still in the running for Men's Club World Championship spot

A former winner of the CEV Volleyball Champions League in 2008 and 2012, Russia's Zenit Kazan got the right to continue their campaign in this year's edition after two straight victories over Germany's champions Berlin Recycling Volleys

Luxembourg city, Luxemburg, January 24, 2014 – The race for the European ticket to the FIVB Men’s Club World Championship will played out between Italian, Russia and Polish teams as they get set to take part in Playoffs 6 of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men.

Italy, Russia, and Poland confirmed their status as major forces to be reckoned with in men’s volleyball when these countries qualified two teams each to the Playoffs 6 of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men.

The Polish derby will feature the likes of Jastrzebski Wegiel and Asseco Resovia Rzeszow, while Italy’s champions and vice-champions Diatec Trentino and Copra Elior Piacenza are set to take on two Russian giants, Belogorie Belgorod and Zenit Kazan respectively.

The winners of the Playoffs 6 will join the hosts of this year’s Final Four Tournament, Turkey’s Halkbank Ankara, for the last act of Europe’s elite club competition which is scheduled for March 22 to 23. The eventual champions will get the right to represent Europe at the 2014 FIVB Men’s Club World Championship taking place from May 6 to 11 in Betim, Brazil.

The draw for the Playoffs 6, scheduled for the first and second week of February, is as follows:

Copra Elior Piacenza (ITA) vs. Zenit Kazan (RUS)
Jastrzebski Wegiel (POL) vs. Asseco Resovia Rzeszow (POL)
Belogorie Belgorod (RUS) vs. Diatec Trentino (ITA)

On Tuesday, Russia’s Zenit Kazan defeated Berlin Recycling Volleys in straight sets 3-0 (25-11, 25-20, 25-23) to follow up on their three-set victory from last week in Germany’s capital city to make the Playoffs 6.

“We played a great game” said head coach Vladimir Alekno. “The players were in a good mood and though they were a little nervous before the start of the game, this tension was quickly gone. We were definitely much stronger than Berlin and so I decided to rest some of the starting players so as to provide the young guys with a chance to play. I am satisfied with the performance of our second lines. They helped us confirm our status as leading force.”

Italy’s vice champions Copra Elior Piacenza caused a sensation on Thursday night as they fought their way back to victory after losing the away match in straight sets to their compatriots of Lube Banca Marche Macerata.

They first claimed a 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-20) home victory and then the golden set that followed (15-13). A silver medallist from the 2008 edition of the CEV Volleyball Champions League, Copra Elior Piacenza will play in the Playoffs 6 Russia’s Zenit Kazan, i.e. the team that back then had edged the Italians in the final match played at the Mosir hall in Lodz, Poland.

Poland’s Jastrzebski Wegiel once more routed Tours VB in straight sets 3-0 (25-23, 25-16, 25-22) as they had done a week ago in France to progress to the Playoffs 6 where they will take on compatriots of Asseco Resovia Rzeszow. “The first set was crucial and at the beginning we looked quite nervous. However, after we brought it home, we got the right confidence and imposed our rhythm on the game. We played some great volleyball later in the game showing the same determination I got to see last week in Tours,” said the head coach of Jastrzebski Wegiel, Lorenzo Bernardi.

Asseco Resovia Rzeszow edged Belgium’s Knack Roeselare also in the second round of the Playoffs 12 to play Jastrzebski Wegiel in what will be the very last step before the Final Four tournament scheduled for March 22 to 23 in Ankara, Turkey. As they had done last week at home, Poland’s champions could see off their Belgian opponents in four sets 3-1 (25-18, 26-28, 25-16, 25-18) paced by their captain Aleh Akhrem with 15 points.

Home hero Hendrik Tuerlinckx top scored for Knack with 17 but still this was not enough for the Belgians to make the Playoffs 6. “Asseco Resovia was too strong for my team this evening,” said Knack Roeselare head coach Emile Rousseaux after the match. “We lost and we are out but I want to congratulate my players on their performance in this edition of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League. With their six straight victories in the prelims they made excellent advertising for volleyball here in our country.”

After Zenit Kazan had achieved that feat on Tuesday, a second Russian team, Belogorie Belgorod, advanced on Wednesday to the Playoffs 6 of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League – Men. The “Lions” as they are nicknamed in Russia got their ticket to the next phase via a straight victory over Budvanska Rivijera Budva of Montenegro 3-0 (25-22, 25-19, 25-16) to celebrate their hundredth match in Europe’s elite club competition. “Today we achieved the goal I had set for my team” commented Belogorie mentor Gennady Shipulin. “We are finding our best play and we really wanted to make it to the next stage of this competition.”

Trentino Diatec also made it to the Playoffs 6 of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League after defeating the Belgians of Noliko Maaseik 3-1 (25-23, 25-19, 26-28, 25-23)at the PalaTrento.

In the next round Trentino will get to test the likes of Russia’s standout Belogorie Belgorod playing first away and then the return game at home. “I am very satisfied with the first two sets and honestly I am happy that we played a fourth set too, so I had the opportunity to replace some players and test different situations. Let’s see what the match against Belogorie Belgorod will bring. First of all we have to focus on the matches of the national league and the Italian Cup,” stated Trentino head coach Roberto Serniotti.

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