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VolleySimon

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541

Monday, May 1st 2017, 10:34pm

I don't now what happened with Lube. Before the Final Four in Rome I thought that they can beat Zenit in the final after exciting match on high level, but they were not able to beat even Perugia in semifinal. Just on Tuesday they were playing really well against Trento in Serie A and in Rome somthing spoiled in their game. Lose against Perugia is one thing, Yesterday it was really close to tie-break against Berlin, but then Juantorena went to the service. :obey:

Of course big congratulations for Zenit, clearly the best club in Europe right now and Leon showed that he is still the best volleyball player in the world.

TimHH

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542

Monday, May 1st 2017, 11:43pm

Couldn't watch the matches yesterday but big congrats to Kazan of course. :thumbup:
So It looks like their semi against Berlin was the true final ;)
never mess with your setter......

Kaziyski

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543

Tuesday, May 2nd 2017, 5:49pm

Zenit Kazan's Aleksandr Gutsalyuk is the first player to win 5 CEV Champions League titles :rolll: :whistle:
Shiva :heart:

544

Tuesday, May 2nd 2017, 8:25pm

Couldn't watch the matches yesterday but big congrats to Kazan of course. :thumbup:
So It looks like their semi against Berlin was the true final ;)


The "true" final was the home leg vs Belgorod when Kazan has clearly lost their plot and looked wobbly. Leon was benched in the middle of the set, Mikhaylov had eight attacks in a row... not blocked but defended - things looked as if a bad day was approaching for Alekno but then the Gods of Volleyball sent him their help.

Where I agree is that Berlin was totally capable of eliminating the Seria B squad that got into the final thanks to the selectively functional replay system. I do not think they had much chance vs Zenit though; I would even say Dinamo Msk (eliminated by Berlin) would've been a tougher opponent for Kazan. In the domestic champ, they played three very close sets, one of which was won by Dinamo and the other two by Zenit via an ace serve, on the balance.

545

Tuesday, May 2nd 2017, 8:30pm

Zenit Kazan's Aleksandr Gutsalyuk is the first player to win 5 CEV Champions League titles :rolll: :whistle:


Whoever wants to win the CL should focus on signing Gutsalyuk then: the guy just brings luck even by warming up the bench. He's just like a pair of lucky pants or socks.

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546

Thursday, May 4th 2017, 10:01am

I was in the hall during F4. The spectators were amazing! Actually they were the ones who won the match between Perugia and Lube during the semi finals. Kazan was clearly superior to all other teams. Some fan and bad moments from the matches:

- Lube fans were supporting Kazan in the final which was quite unfortunate
- Perugia fans noticed that there is no way they can win in the final so they stopped in the 2nd set and that is when Kazan started to make a huge difference
- Atanasijevic is a terrible sportsman. He was provocating Kazan players and then escaped while poor Zaytsev had to calm down Kazan players. Besides, Atanasijevic was such a fanboy, was constantly trying to fire the audience and he even came inside the crowd in the end of the match. Everyone was aware of his terrible performance though.
- Atanasijevic, Grebbenikov and Zaytsev didnt deserve their awards. Any of the Maxim, Sokolov and Caroll were superior to Atanasijevic. Luke Perry looked much better than Grebbenikov, even Verbov did better than him. As OH award, Juantorena made a huge difference in 3-4 match so he totally deserved that.
- Lorenzo Bernardi was terribly sad and was almost crying after the final match.
- Once again, I could never imagine spectators being so influencing to a match. Lube and even Kazan players couldnt serve properly due to all the noise. :box:

Kk15

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547

Thursday, May 4th 2017, 2:34pm

- Lube fans were supporting Kazan in the final which was quite unfortunate

It was awful, imho! I mean, I can understand if you don't want to cheer for Perugia, but cheering for Kazan and against Perugia was terrible! Also considering that Pratically all the Palalottomatica cheered for Lube (at the beginning of the match it wasn't really full, but at the end yes).


As OH award, Juantorena made a huge difference in 3-4 match so he totally deserved that.

I agree that he made the difference in that match, but for me the semifinal was so much more important than the almost useless 3rd-4th place match that for me you can't give an award for playing well only the most 'useless' match. At least Zaytsev played very well the final, and quite well the semifinal (well in almost everything except attack, imho).
[Look at who played in Lube and how they celebrated the victory and you will see that at least in Italy this match doesn't mean much, unlike the 3rd-4th place in the NT competitions].


Lube and even Kazan players couldnt serve properly due to all the noise.

The whistle were insane! My brain was melted after the match. Now I see why Lanza tried to use ears protections during a semifinal match in Perugia. It's like having a drill on your skull xD

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548

Thursday, May 4th 2017, 2:43pm

Lube and even Kazan players couldnt serve properly due to all the noise.

The whistle were insane! My brain was melted after the match. Now I see why Lanza tried to use ears protections during a semifinal match in Perugia. It's like having a drill on your skull xD
Haha! We actually thought of taking ear plugs too but forgot them!

I really liked Zaytsev, he is a true leader and behaves very mature. :box:

549

Thursday, May 4th 2017, 3:01pm

No doubt Kazan is a fantastic team but I don't think it is as great as Perugia made them. This is why I'm very disappointed not to see a Lube- Kazan Final.

YavorD

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550

Tuesday, May 9th 2017, 11:16am

No doubt Kazan is a fantastic team but I don't think it is as great as Perugia made them. This is why I'm very disappointed not to see a Lube- Kazan Final.
Let me first say that I am very happy to have watched the Final Four in Rome and Zenit Kazan live. The Russians actually for the third Final Four in a row :) I am mostly delighted to have watched Alexander Butko (I am a setter and have always like setters) and Wilfredo Leon, a spectacular athlete, live. No matter if we like it or not, Zenit has gone through their own CL era and it is well-deserved as they have been the best in Europe for a while. A fun fact, Salparov said last year before winning the title in Krakow that some practices in Kazan are more difficult than actual games.

Well, I also believed that Lube, as the only team that managed to stay in form throughout the second part of the season, unlike ZAKSA, would have finally been able to live up to expectations after a series of years of some disappointments, partial or complete. Winning the Italian league is a good step for them finally, but a lot of people expected them to challenge Zenit. Me too, of course, I travelled to Rome with the intention to watch that final and got disappointed both by Lube's day off in the semis and by (the lack of) Perugia in the final.

Now, I remember a discussion with powsoff after the F4 in Krakow last year who accused me of feeling for Stoychev's Trentino more than for Zenit, probably relating to the Bulgarian connection with the head coach. Well, I am not a fan of either of these teams, yet I can say the same again this year. Even if both Trentino and Zenit wrote golden pages in the history of the Champions League and the European volleyball, watching the two teams makes me feel Trentino's game and team were slightly superior. You can barely find a weak spot in either team, but I like team effort more than I like individual class and I see Trentino more like a team in comparison to Leon Zenit Kazan. Besides, Trentino was the ruler of the world back then, beating a more or less similar Cruzeiro side, whereas Zenit can't quite get there yet. Probably just a matter of personal preference in the end :) Not that it is super relevant now that Zenit is the team to beat.

Last, I wanted to say a few words about Butko, a setter I really like. In my opinion, this may have been his best season. Not because of the trophies (he won such with Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, too) or the impressive unbeaten run with Zenit, but maybe because of his role. I don't remember him serve that well and score decisive aces in so many important matches. Unlike the previous CL campaign when Kobzar used to come in way more often and even saved Zenit in Krakow, Butko just didn't belong to the bench this year.

551

Thursday, May 11th 2017, 1:26am

No doubt Kazan is a fantastic team but I don't think it is as great as Perugia made them. This is why I'm very disappointed not to see a Lube- Kazan Final.
Let me first say that I am very happy to have watched the Final Four in Rome and Zenit Kazan live. The Russians actually for the third Final Four in a row :) I am mostly delighted to have watched Alexander Butko (I am a setter and have always like setters) and Wilfredo Leon, a spectacular athlete, live. No matter if we like it or not, Zenit has gone through their own CL era and it is well-deserved as they have been the best in Europe for a while. A fun fact, Salparov said last year before winning the title in Krakow that some practices in Kazan are more difficult than actual games.

Well, I also believed that Lube, as the only team that managed to stay in form throughout the second part of the season, unlike ZAKSA, would have finally been able to live up to expectations after a series of years of some disappointments, partial or complete. Winning the Italian league is a good step for them finally, but a lot of people expected them to challenge Zenit. Me too, of course, I travelled to Rome with the intention to watch that final and got disappointed both by Lube's day off in the semis and by (the lack of) Perugia in the final.

Now, I remember a discussion with powsoff after the F4 in Krakow last year who accused me of feeling for Stoychev's Trentino more than for Zenit, probably relating to the Bulgarian connection with the head coach. Well, I am not a fan of either of these teams, yet I can say the same again this year. Even if both Trentino and Zenit wrote golden pages in the history of the Champions League and the European volleyball, watching the two teams makes me feel Trentino's game and team were slightly superior. You can barely find a weak spot in either team, but I like team effort more than I like individual class and I see Trentino more like a team in comparison to Leon Zenit Kazan. Besides, Trentino was the ruler of the world back then, beating a more or less similar Cruzeiro side, whereas Zenit can't quite get there yet. Probably just a matter of personal preference in the end :) Not that it is super relevant now that Zenit is the team to beat.

Last, I wanted to say a few words about Butko, a setter I really like. In my opinion, this may have been his best season. Not because of the trophies (he won such with Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, too) or the impressive unbeaten run with Zenit, but maybe because of his role. I don't remember him serve that well and score decisive aces in so many important matches. Unlike the previous CL campaign when Kobzar used to come in way more often and even saved Zenit in Krakow, Butko just didn't belong to the bench this year.


Let me try to remain a bit neutral: both Stoychev's Trentino and Alekno's Zenit are a plague for volleyball, in sense that the lack of rivalry makes the whole competition boring. I wrote it earlier and will write it again, it is a disaster when the same team wins the CL three times in a row, independently of whether you support the team or not, as this devalues the competition. From any other perspectives, Zenit and Stoychev's Trento are practically equivalent, and in many ways very similar in their style. Two OHs with an enormous reach and a star opposite. They may not receive very well but nevertheless will score at 56%+ whatever you do. One may be super-impressed by Leon, his action is spectacular indeed - but statistically, how much different is he from Kaziyski back in 2010? I would even say, the overall scenario of the 2010 final does vastly resemble what happened this year, with poor Perugia scoring one point less than poor Dinamo Msk back in 2010. My argument is that Trento, very much like Kazan these days, was not a team of hard-working average players led by a super-smart strategist. Both teams were/are absolutely packed with megastars. Kaziyski, Juantorena and say Vissotto were very much capable of carrying an OK team on their shoulders all alone and, brought together, they naturally became more efficient. Team effort? That would be found in Zenit-2012 that beat Trento in the semis, with Sivo-Bereg in the starting line-up. As for the triumph of Cruzeiro and the lack of that vs Trento back in early 2010s, the answer is Cruzeiro itself, which is a much stronger team these days.

I think you're right about Butko. Playing for Zenit was a challenge for him and did the motivating job well. This was a very good year for Mikhaylov (possibly thanks to Butko) and Gutsalyuk (who started serving a better serve). Btw, Butko has always been a very stable spike server and a decent opp(!). He started accelerating the serving efforts back in 2015, during the World Cup. Last year, he had some health problems so couldn't play his best immediately, I assume.

YavorD

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552

Thursday, May 11th 2017, 2:21pm

No doubt Kazan is a fantastic team but I don't think it is as great as Perugia made them. This is why I'm very disappointed not to see a Lube- Kazan Final.
Let me first say that I am very happy to have watched the Final Four in Rome and Zenit Kazan live. The Russians actually for the third Final Four in a row :) I am mostly delighted to have watched Alexander Butko (I am a setter and have always like setters) and Wilfredo Leon, a spectacular athlete, live. No matter if we like it or not, Zenit has gone through their own CL era and it is well-deserved as they have been the best in Europe for a while. A fun fact, Salparov said last year before winning the title in Krakow that some practices in Kazan are more difficult than actual games.

Well, I also believed that Lube, as the only team that managed to stay in form throughout the second part of the season, unlike ZAKSA, would have finally been able to live up to expectations after a series of years of some disappointments, partial or complete. Winning the Italian league is a good step for them finally, but a lot of people expected them to challenge Zenit. Me too, of course, I travelled to Rome with the intention to watch that final and got disappointed both by Lube's day off in the semis and by (the lack of) Perugia in the final.

Now, I remember a discussion with powsoff after the F4 in Krakow last year who accused me of feeling for Stoychev's Trentino more than for Zenit, probably relating to the Bulgarian connection with the head coach. Well, I am not a fan of either of these teams, yet I can say the same again this year. Even if both Trentino and Zenit wrote golden pages in the history of the Champions League and the European volleyball, watching the two teams makes me feel Trentino's game and team were slightly superior. You can barely find a weak spot in either team, but I like team effort more than I like individual class and I see Trentino more like a team in comparison to Leon Zenit Kazan. Besides, Trentino was the ruler of the world back then, beating a more or less similar Cruzeiro side, whereas Zenit can't quite get there yet. Probably just a matter of personal preference in the end :) Not that it is super relevant now that Zenit is the team to beat.

Last, I wanted to say a few words about Butko, a setter I really like. In my opinion, this may have been his best season. Not because of the trophies (he won such with Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, too) or the impressive unbeaten run with Zenit, but maybe because of his role. I don't remember him serve that well and score decisive aces in so many important matches. Unlike the previous CL campaign when Kobzar used to come in way more often and even saved Zenit in Krakow, Butko just didn't belong to the bench this year.


Let me try to remain a bit neutral: both Stoychev's Trentino and Alekno's Zenit are a plague for volleyball, in sense that the lack of rivalry makes the whole competition boring. I wrote it earlier and will write it again, it is a disaster when the same team wins the CL three times in a row, independently of whether you support the team or not, as this devalues the competition. From any other perspectives, Zenit and Stoychev's Trento are practically equivalent, and in many ways very similar in their style. Two OHs with an enormous reach and a star opposite. They may not receive very well but nevertheless will score at 56%+ whatever you do. One may be super-impressed by Leon, his action is spectacular indeed - but statistically, how much different is he from Kaziyski back in 2010? I would even say, the overall scenario of the 2010 final does vastly resemble what happened this year, with poor Perugia scoring one point less than poor Dinamo Msk back in 2010. My argument is that Trento, very much like Kazan these days, was not a team of hard-working average players led by a super-smart strategist. Both teams were/are absolutely packed with megastars. Kaziyski, Juantorena and say Vissotto were very much capable of carrying an OK team on their shoulders all alone and, brought together, they naturally became more efficient. Team effort? That would be found in Zenit-2012 that beat Trento in the semis, with Sivo-Bereg in the starting line-up. As for the triumph of Cruzeiro and the lack of that vs Trento back in early 2010s, the answer is Cruzeiro itself, which is a much stronger team these days.
Stoychev's Trentino and Alekno's Zenit, both offensively powerful and relatively fragile in reception, surely have tangent points, I completely agree, yet I cannot concur with all points you made. Sure, the Zenit vs. Perugia final reminded of the Trentino vs. Dinamo Moscow back then. If you look at only those two matches or just the stats of those, you would find (only) many similarities indeed. Let me start with the differences then, in my opinion.

First, Zenit HAS to recruit (all) the best Russian players due to the league's foreigners limitation. This directly leads to a significant reduction of the level of local competitiveness. OK, Russia is huge, they still have maybe enough talented players scattered in clubs across the country, but we have seen that in theory Zenit (and maybe Gazprom money) plays a part in making the league boring. Which, we have to agree, wasn't the fact in Italy back in Trentino's golden days. In fact, the league wasn't boring at all, for there were Trentino's black cat Sisley Treviso, Giuliani's Cuneo and even Modena and Macerata - all teams that could win against Stoychev's side. If this is something that we can agree on, then surely Trentino's European reign didn't bring along a guaranteed domestic one. You are absolutely right that no one likes to watch the same winner over and over again but, albeit seemingly boring at times, those team's campaigns stand out and we can be considered fortunate to have witnessed them, as it means these involved super teams indeed. Besides, remember that such runs of successive titles have always existed and were even more disheartening for opponents on national teams level, for instance. I don't really consider them a real plague for volleyball and I surely don't consider Trentino's peak a plague for Italian volleyball in general, as I pointed out above. I am not that sure about Zenit, though...

Second, the squad recruitment the set distribution wasn't quite identical for both teams. Kaziyski and Leon are comparable, fully agree. Juantorena and Anderson, who often doesn't play an amazing role when Zenit is in trouble, are not. Butko and Zygadlo aren't comparable either (to Raphael, however, he surely is, from a sports perspective, not technically). Verbov and formerly Salparov bring way more stability in reception than Bari. Zenit's MBs are in general (slightly) less used than Trentino's, Raphael liked to used them a bit more. Vissotto and Mikhaylov may be comparable, but Mihkaylov to Stokr surely not. The list leads to the following point I want to make - Trentino appeared to have some weaker elements overall, but seemed to play with more diversity and still dominate. The other big difference was that you weren't always sure (it wasn't always only Kaziyski or Juantorena) who will get the important set when times got tough, whereas Butko would trust only Leon then.

True, Zenit's win in Poland marked the end of an era and started a new one and it was a brilliant display of teamwork. It is also one of the reasons why I consider Alekno a (slightly?) better coach than Stoychev. But we both know that one hasn't seen much of Alekno's tactical ideas on club level ever since. I also know that you don't like the word genius when it comes to coaching (and to Alekno, in particular), but to me he still remains one of the few examples of coaching masters nowadays. Stoychev has his weaknesses, but it doesn't just take a bunch of superstars to create a super team. He definitely played his role in the development of that team. Btw, that semifinal in the CL in Lodz stands out as an example of teamwork because it was one of the few cases when Zenit were probably the underdog. Similar examples of Trentino in the old days can be found, too. I consider the final of the CL in Prague against Iraklis one, but that's just me. (That match in Lodz when Zenit beat Trentino in the semis may be the last example of Zenit and real teamwork :) )

Last, yeah, maybe Cruzeiro nowadays is better than Cruzeiro from 5-6 years ago, but they still had the main core of players. And Trentino got them nevertheless. I am not quite sure that the old Trentino wouldn't have been able to handle them nowadays, but it will remain a discussion topic :)

553

Tuesday, May 16th 2017, 1:07am


Let me try to remain a bit neutral: both Stoychev's Trentino and Alekno's Zenit are a plague for volleyball, in sense that the lack of rivalry makes the whole competition boring. I wrote it earlier and will write it again, it is a disaster when the same team wins the CL three times in a row, independently of whether you support the team or not, as this devalues the competition. From any other perspectives, Zenit and Stoychev's Trento are practically equivalent, and in many ways very similar in their style. Two OHs with an enormous reach and a star opposite. They may not receive very well but nevertheless will score at 56%+ whatever you do. One may be super-impressed by Leon, his action is spectacular indeed - but statistically, how much different is he from Kaziyski back in 2010? I would even say, the overall scenario of the 2010 final does vastly resemble what happened this year, with poor Perugia scoring one point less than poor Dinamo Msk back in 2010. My argument is that Trento, very much like Kazan these days, was not a team of hard-working average players led by a super-smart strategist. Both teams were/are absolutely packed with megastars. Kaziyski, Juantorena and say Vissotto were very much capable of carrying an OK team on their shoulders all alone and, brought together, they naturally became more efficient. Team effort? That would be found in Zenit-2012 that beat Trento in the semis, with Sivo-Bereg in the starting line-up. As for the triumph of Cruzeiro and the lack of that vs Trento back in early 2010s, the answer is Cruzeiro itself, which is a much stronger team these days.
Stoychev's Trentino and Alekno's Zenit, both offensively powerful and relatively fragile in reception, surely have tangent points, I completely agree, yet I cannot concur with all points you made. Sure, the Zenit vs. Perugia final reminded of the Trentino vs. Dinamo Moscow back then. If you look at only those two matches or just the stats of those, you would find (only) many similarities indeed. Let me start with the differences then, in my opinion.

First, Zenit HAS to recruit (all) the best Russian players due to the league's foreigners limitation. This directly leads to a significant reduction of the level of local competitiveness. OK, Russia is huge, they still have maybe enough talented players scattered in clubs across the country, but we have seen that in theory Zenit (and maybe Gazprom money) plays a part in making the league boring. Which, we have to agree, wasn't the fact in Italy back in Trentino's golden days. In fact, the league wasn't boring at all, for there were Trentino's black cat Sisley Treviso, Giuliani's Cuneo and even Modena and Macerata - all teams that could win against Stoychev's side. If this is something that we can agree on, then surely Trentino's European reign didn't bring along a guaranteed domestic one. You are absolutely right that no one likes to watch the same winner over and over again but, albeit seemingly boring at times, those team's campaigns stand out and we can be considered fortunate to have witnessed them, as it means these involved super teams indeed. Besides, remember that such runs of successive titles have always existed and were even more disheartening for opponents on national teams level, for instance. I don't really consider them a real plague for volleyball and I surely don't consider Trentino's peak a plague for Italian volleyball in general, as I pointed out above. I am not that sure about Zenit, though...


This is not entirely correct. Zenit does overrecruit local players and there are always talks about them accumulating the talents brought up elsewhere. But I have to say, this occurs episodically. They indeed headhunted plenty of top experienced players in the past (Ball, Tetyukihn etc), which let them win their first CL. Mikhaylov was also one of the big fishes. Then had two NT members on the bench last year, and last year they grabbed Butko and Volvich. But if one looks at their roster for 2016/17 season, there isn't much of depth in there, beyond the starting six. Gutsalyuk, Melnik and Zemchonok are very average players. Take a look at their closest competitors from Moscow - now these guys had a decent roster indeed, and it is them who actually deprived the competition of a decent team, just because they had two equal squads. Antipkin, Biryukov, Ilinykh, Bakun, Volkov - these chaps all played for the NT in the near past. Furthermore, if one checks what Belgorod has in its depth, then surprisingly there would be also an OK squad made of local-ish players. Had Rus league been played without the foreign players this season, Zenit would have struggled for a medal, not more than that.

The real "problem" is not the financial dominance of Kazan - it is about financial troubles in Belgorod and Novosibirsk and a clear lack of planning in Moscow. Well, the latter partially applies to Belgorod too: note how badly they were trashed by (a nominally weaker) Novosibirsk side in the bronze match, just because Lokomotiv had a reasonable coach and a reasonable idea of what they want to achieve. You see, the trouble is we're discussing the dominance of Zenit, whilst the opposition to Zenit is frequently doing things unrelated to competitive volleyball, e.g. bringing in an incapable President's son-in-law for a couple of sets or employing absolutely random people in the coaching process. Alekno's son was indeed present among the rest in the champion's squad but for some reason noone let him lead the final/semifinal game. Planning-wise, Zenit is not ideal overall as there were blunders like e.g. Toniutti. But their direct competitors from Moscow and Belgorod are by far worse in this field. Do recall Ivan Zaytsevelli who's been pushing the ball-basket in Moscow for a couple of years whilst being paid very well. Take a look at Belgorod recruiting strategy. They need a replacement for ageing Khtey - Marco Ivovic is recruited. He's not bad at all but he's not a tall receiver/side-outer with a decent block. Belgorod has a setter crisis every season - there will be someone coming or going etc. After that, there is a bunch of weird factors like the unavailability of Panteleymonenko for Belgorod, who seemingly fell out with his bosses in Krasnodar and remained out of squad for a season.

Second, the squad recruitment the set distribution wasn't quite identical for both teams. Kaziyski and Leon are comparable, fully agree. Juantorena and Anderson, who often doesn't play an amazing role when Zenit is in trouble, are not. Butko and Zygadlo aren't comparable either (to Raphael, however, he surely is, from a sports perspective, not technically). Verbov and formerly Salparov bring way more stability in reception than Bari. Zenit's MBs are in general (slightly) less used than Trentino's, Raphael liked to used them a bit more. Vissotto and Mikhaylov may be comparable, but Mihkaylov to Stokr surely not. The list leads to the following point I want to make - Trentino appeared to have some weaker elements overall, but seemed to play with more diversity and still dominate. The other big difference was that you weren't always sure (it wasn't always only Kaziyski or Juantorena) who will get the important set when times got tough, whereas Butko would trust only Leon then.



This is all debatable. Mikhaylov in 2016/17 looks better that Stokr or Vissotto in their best seasons, Mikhaylov a year ago looked worse. Trento had more experienced MBs and Rafael was technically by far more gifted than Butko. Zygadlo is definitely better than the wooden Igor Kobzar. Regarding total dominance in the home league - do check when and by how much Trento won the regular seasons and compare this to the record of Zenit. In the end, as you have correctly admitted, Trento was in a position to sign essentially anyone which made them a real around-the-world team. Zenit has only two spots. Leon is once again the most spectacular player but do check who scored the important winning points this season. Btw, statistically, Mikhaylov is way ahead of Leon in 2016/17 too.


<...>

Last, yeah, maybe Cruzeiro nowadays is better than Cruzeiro from 5-6 years ago, but they still had the main core of players. And Trentino got them nevertheless. I am not quite sure that the old Trentino wouldn't have been able to handle them nowadays, but it will remain a discussion topic :)


You can check the records, there were certainly years when the best South-American team didn't pass the semi-final mark. Trento faced them once in the final in Doha back in 2012 - but there's been very palpable changes since then for both teams.

YavorD

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554

Tuesday, May 16th 2017, 10:53am

This is not entirely correct. Zenit does overrecruit local players and there are always talks about them accumulating the talents brought up elsewhere. But I have to say, this occurs episodically. They indeed headhunted plenty of top experienced players in the past (Ball, Tetyukihn etc), which let them win their first CL. Mikhaylov was also one of the big fishes. Then had two NT members on the bench last year, and last year they grabbed Butko and Volvich. But if one looks at their roster for 2016/17 season, there isn't much of depth in there, beyond the starting six. Gutsalyuk, Melnik and Zemchonok are very average players. Take a look at their closest competitors from Moscow - now these guys had a decent roster indeed, and it is them who actually deprived the competition of a decent team, just because they had two equal squads. Antipkin, Biryukov, Ilinykh, Bakun, Volkov - these chaps all played for the NT in the near past. Furthermore, if one checks what Belgorod has in its depth, then surprisingly there would be also an OK squad made of local-ish players. Had Rus league been played without the foreign players this season, Zenit would have struggled for a medal, not more than that.

The real "problem" is not the financial dominance of Kazan - it is about financial troubles in Belgorod and Novosibirsk and a clear lack of planning in Moscow. Well, the latter partially applies to Belgorod too: note how badly they were trashed by (a nominally weaker) Novosibirsk side in the bronze match, just because Lokomotiv had a reasonable coach and a reasonable idea of what they want to achieve. You see, the trouble is we're discussing the dominance of Zenit, whilst the opposition to Zenit is frequently doing things unrelated to competitive volleyball, e.g. bringing in an incapable President's son-in-law for a couple of sets or employing absolutely random people in the coaching process. Alekno's son was indeed present among the rest in the champion's squad but for some reason noone let him lead the final/semifinal game. Planning-wise, Zenit is not ideal overall as there were blunders like e.g. Toniutti. But their direct competitors from Moscow and Belgorod are by far worse in this field. Do recall Ivan Zaytsevelli who's been pushing the ball-basket in Moscow for a couple of years whilst being paid very well. Take a look at Belgorod recruiting strategy. They need a replacement for ageing Khtey - Marco Ivovic is recruited. He's not bad at all but he's not a tall receiver/side-outer with a decent block. Belgorod has a setter crisis every season - there will be someone coming or going etc. After that, there is a bunch of weird factors like the unavailability of Panteleymonenko for Belgorod, who seemingly fell out with his bosses in Krasnodar and remained out of squad for a season.
I have nothing to say regarding the stupid decisions by Zenit's opponents. Dinamo has been disappointing on a number of occasions over the years and I can surely say the same about Belogorie, which I try to follow more closely. However, the best example of weakening the competition and taking credit for that is that practically half of Lokomotiv Novosibirsk's CL winning squad got recruited by Zenit. If we add Zemchenok who got selected more recently, even if we both agree he is just average, but was nevertheless a vital player in Novosibirsk, then the picture looks in a different way. Then there is only Dinamo and Belogorie, along with all their suicidal decisions, to beat.
This is all debatable. Mikhaylov in 2016/17 looks better that Stokr or Vissotto in their best seasons, Mikhaylov a year ago looked worse. Trento had more experienced MBs and Rafael was technically by far more gifted than Butko. Zygadlo is definitely better than the wooden Igor Kobzar. Regarding total dominance in the home league - do check when and by how much Trento won the regular seasons and compare this to the record of Zenit. In the end, as you have correctly admitted, Trento was in a position to sign essentially anyone which made them a real around-the-world team. Zenit has only two spots. Leon is once again the most spectacular player but do check who scored the important winning points this season. Btw, statistically, Mikhaylov is way ahead of Leon in 2016/17 too.
Mikhaylov was a beast this season and I am glad he took the MVP award in Rome in the end. However, no matter what mode Mikhaylov could turn to, in the past three CL F4-s we have had cases when Leon was set the ball 4 or 5 times in a row in tough moments like there was no one else on the field for them. This surely isn't an example of teamwork, was never demonstrated by Trentino, and overall made world-class players around Leon, namely Mikhaylov and Anderson, look like annoying training partners.

Fine, some years Zenit was in possession of weaker players, but how much did they actually play and were they really that bad? The "wooden" Kobzar didn't smell the pitch in Palalottomatica, but was decisive in previous campaigns, so I don't think he is a bad player. We have to agree Mikhaylov has rarely had downs in his career and I would pick him anytime over Vissotto. Raphael might be more technically gifted than Butko, but how helpful in comparison to Butko was he from the service line or in the block? You say Trentino's MBs were more experienced. Gutsalyuk himself has now won the CL more than all of them combined. And I don't agree that Sala or Djuric as MB were super terrific players. The fact they won with Bari in reception should also be taken into account.

I had checked stats before writing my post. Apart from the 2010-2011 campaign, Trentino weren't super convincing and didn't win (if won at all) the regular season by a margin. The only regular-season dominance happened exactly once in 2010-2011 and even then they were still not far from being kicked out in the semis by Modena. Zenit's last two campaigns, even if only scrutinized in the regular season, were more one-sided than Trentino's entire "reign" in Italy (champions only 2 or 3 times in a span of 6-7 years). These comparisons are CERTAINLY not in Zenit's favour :)

Yeah, I know Cruzeiro had evolved a lot before their latest WCCH wins. It only came to measure the two teams' achievements with the same criteria. On one side the former multiple world N1 team Trenitno and on the other Europe's best Zenit, which has never been the world's N1 team. Even the messy Belgorod did that once.

Anyway, I think we both made our points.

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