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Nine teams keep immaculate record after CEV Champions League fourth round is complete

Belgium's Knack Roeselare - here in action during their 3:1 away victory over Poland's vice champions Zaksa Kedzierzyn-Kozle - has turned into the major sensation of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League prelims

Luxembourg, December 6, 2013 – After completion of four rounds, nine teams – five in the men’s competition and another four in the women’s division – have swept all of their matches in the prelims of the 2014 CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League. Another two rounds are coming up before the Christmas break to determine the teams that will finally make the Playoffs 12 and re-start from there their quest for European glory.

Russia’s Belogorie BELGOROD, France’s TOURS VB, Diatec TRENTINO of Italy, as well as rookie Halkbank ANKARA of Turkey and Belgian sensation Knack ROESELARE added this week another chapter to their success story as they cemented the leadership in their respective Pool with a fourth straight victory. Russia’s champions Belogorie BELGOROD have showed an almost embarrassing domination in Pool B claiming another straight victory to boast a terrific record of 12 sets won and zero lost in the competition. TOURS VB of France had to fight hard but eventually got past ACH Volley LJUBLJANA of Slovenia to keep first place in Pool A though they share the same points – 10 – of their closest rival, Italy’s Copra Elior PIACENZA. Triple CL champions Diatec TRENTINO easily routed Arkas IZMIR of Turkey in straight sets to prolong their winning streak in Pool D while star-studded Halkbank ANKARA showed no mercy for the likes of Austria’s Hypo Tirol INNSBRUCK cruising to a 3:0 home victory to re-assert their ambition to vie for Europe’s crown as they are debuting in the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League. Belgium’s Knack ROESELARE continues to cause a sensation in Pool G and did so also on Wednesday with an away victory in Poland over last year’s fourth-ranked Zaksa KEDZIERZYN-KOZLE to set the pace in their group with 12 points.

Pool C and E do not have a dominant force and especially the so-called “group of death” will feature a terrific battle until the very end of the prelims as Zenit KAZAN (9 points), Lube Banca Marche MACERATA (8) and titleholders Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK (7) are all still in the race for making the Playoffs.

There are four teams with an immaculate record also in the women’s division: the winners of the 2013 edition and reigning club world champions VakifBank ISTANBUL showed once more their class on Wednesday as they routed Poland’s Atom Trefl SOPOT in three sets to claim their 65th consecutive match by combining international and domestic competitions. Last year’s silver medalists Rabita BAKU, Russia’s Dinamo KAZAN and Eczacibasi VitrA ISTANBUL also have recorded four victories in a row with Eczacibasi being the sole team that still hasn’t dropped a set in the competition.

Things are a little more complicated in Pool B and E; Dinamo MOSCOW and Italy’s champions RebecchiNMeccanica PIACENZA claimed two victories this week to distance Azerbaijan’s rookie Igtisadchi BAKU in the standing of Pool B while the winning streak of Italian underdogs Prosecco Doc-Imoco CONEGLIANO came to a close on Tuesday as they lost an away game to Azeryol BAKU. Galatasaray Daikin, CONEGLIANO and Azeryol will be fighting for two spots available to make the Playoffs from Pool E while last year’s bronze medalists Unendo Yamamay BUSTO ARSIZIO have seen their chances to continue their campaign vanish after another – the fourth this year – defeat.

The competition will continue next week with the fifth round. The first and second-ranked teams of each Pool will make the Playoffs 12 in the women’s division; as for the men, the first ranked teams of each Pool plus the five second-ranked with the best score will advance to the next stage coming up in January.

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