Teams from eight countries set to compete in Playoffs 12 of men’s Champions League
The winners of the seven preliminary Pools (Copra Elior PIACENZA, Belogorie BELGOROD, Asseco Resovia RZESZOW, Diatec TRENTINO, Zenit KAZAN, JASTRZEBSKI Wegiel, and Knack ROESELARE) are joined in the Playoffs 12 by the five second-ranked teams with the best score across all Pools, and namely: BERLIN Recycling Volleys, Halkbank ANKARA, TOURS VB, Lube Banca Marche MACERATA, and Budvanska Rivijera BUDVA. Actually also Noliko MAASEIK will be added to the teams to be drawn for the Belgians will replace in the grid for the Playoffs 12 the organizer of the Final Four.
Only two teams finished the prelims with an immaculate record of six victories in as many matches: Belogorie BELGOROD and Knack ROESELARE achieved this feat with the Russian standout not dropping any set in the prelims to assert their intention to win that trophy they already seized in 2003 and 2004. Knack ROESELARE, on the other hand, has turned into the major sensation of the prelims by sweeping all of their matches in Pool G including their last fixture on Wednesday night where they fought back from two sets down and even survived three match balls for Germany’s VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN. The winning streak of Italy’s Diatec TRENTINO, winners of this competition for three consecutive years from 2009 through 2011, came to an end on Wednesday as the Italians tried out a different line-up in their game with BERLIN knowing they already had secured first place in Pool D. The most exciting race unfolded in Pool C where Resovia and BUDVA seized the night in straight sets to turn upside down the standing of the group with the leaders going into the last round, PARIS Volley, ousted in straight sets by Poland’s champions and eventually ending their campaign in third place to miss out on a spot for the Playoffs 12.
PARIS Volley will continue their European adventure in early February by joining the Challenge Round of the 2014 CEV Volleyball Cup together with another three teams that played in the prelims of the CEV DenizBank Volleyball Champions League. These are Germany’s VfB FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Greece’s Olympiacos PIRAEUS and Romania’s Tomis CONSTANTA. They will all wait for the 1/4 finals to be completed in January before they get to know their respective opponent in the Challenge Round.
Back to the Champions League, Italy is the only country with three teams in the Playoffs 12. After last year’s winners Lokomotiv NOVOSIBIRSK were eliminated, Russia will count on two similarly to Poland and Belgium. France, Germany, Montenegro, and Turkey all qualified one team each for the knock-out phase.
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