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Ferdinand Tille: We can learn from the past

Ferdinand Tille at last year’s European Championship, where the Germans mentored by Belgian-born head coach Vital Heynen lost in the quarterfinals to Bulgaria
Frankfurt, Germany, July 8, 2014 - Ferdinand Tille is one of Germany’s star players and a cornerstone of a team which will try to win a medal at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Poland 2014 later this summer, a result Germany’s men have have been chasing for many years.

The Germans missed making it into the top four at the London Olympics in 2012 as well as at the 2013 European Championships, losing on both occasions to Bulgaria.

Germany have not performed as well as they would have liked during the 2014 FIVB World League, but some of their best players will be back in the team for the World Championship.

"We have six weeks to prepare for the World Champs," Tille said. "I believe that this is enough since we are not starting from scratch. Those who did not play the World League also got instructions and a training regime to follow."

The goal set by head coach Vital Heynen is a bronze medal. "Of course we want that medal," Tille said.

"Last year as well as at the Olympics in London we were only one step away from making the semis and everyone is working very hard in order to achieve that feat. Basically we "only" have to win one more match than we did at the Olympics or at the European Championship to stand a chance of winning a medal."

"I believe that we missed on that opportunity because we did not show our best performance in those ominous matches with Bulgaria. If we play our best and still do not make the semis, I am still fine with it. However, I am confident that if we display a strong performance, we will make the semis and win bronze in the end."

Is there any psychological burden resulting from their previous losses? "I believe that everyone is so determined and focused that this won’t happen anymore. Everyone really wants to play the semis and a match where a medal is at stake. So in this sense our failures from the last couple of years will rather have a positive influence and impact on us and on our attitude."

Germany also will be counting on György Grozer, who was just crowned Europe’s 'Most Spectacular Volleyball Player' after having a terrific season with Belogorie Belgorod.

And yet Tille is convinced that Grozer is not the only weapon that Germany can boast of. "Grozer can help us enormously. However, Robert Kromm and Max Günthör could also be big assets. And even if none of these guys will be there, in Germany we have enough players who are as competitive and strong as the stars I have just named."

Though the women’s national team drew a lot of attention from media and fans alike winning a silver medal at their home European Championship last year, volleyball is not as popular a sport as soccer, basketball, handball or ice hockey in Germany. And Tille knows where the problem lies.

“We need to get more exposure on TV. And to invite more people to follow us, I would stress the following: a soccer match lasts for 90 minutes and the teams involved are not scoring goals every minute. In volleyball, on the other hand, something really exciting happens every 30 seconds and the audience does not have to remain as quiet as it is the case, for instance, in tennis. I believe that volleyball naturally draws in the audience and this is an asset that we have to exploit for the future.”

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