CEV Champions League 2018

  • Maritza has really good roster: Kamenova, Kitipova, Dimitrova, Nikolova, Todorova. I didn't know they all returned to bulgarian league.

    This team has been very ambitious the last few years and become a standout in Bulgaria - meanwhile they attract even several good players this way, of course playing CL makes them even more interesting.

  • Is the format of this tournament still going to be just a final 6 for the playoffs? I really wish they expand to more qualified teams like in the men's league.

    Favorite players: M: Maxim Mikhaylov, Murilo, Serginho, Aaron Russell, Otavio, Simone Giannelli, Ivan Zaytsev, Tsvetan Sokolov, Michał Kubiak, Mariusz Wlazly, Pawel Zagummy W: Sheilla, Zhu Ting, Natalia, Fe Garay, Fofao, Gabi, Thaisa, Foluke Akinradewo, Wei Qiuyue, Ding Xia, Carli Lloyd, Fabi, Natalia Goncharova, Yuko Sano, Saoris Kimura and Sakoda

  • Looking forward to the last match of the round on Wednesday. I hope Salo can show a nice home performance :heart: . Judging from the 1st match stats, Noora Kosonen (who played well in the NT this summer) had a lot to do in reception and the attack relied more on the two youngsters Laak and Heikkiniemi.

  • So the only surprise was Sliedrecht beating much more experienced and decorated Asterix, but the last may be not yet ready for it, as always mainly featuring very young, though talented players. Maybe not being favourite helped Sliedrecht too?

    Minsk vs. Le Cannet was unpredictable IMHO and so the return match ended also in tie-break, which was taken again by Minsk.

    Of course two of the third round matches are a joke anyway: Minsk vs. VakifBank and Sliedrecht vs Conegliano.

  • Drama in Salo (vicinity of Finnish capital Helsinki): after losing the first set the home team Viesti managed to win the next three, and then the gold set had to be played. That one the guests from Bulgarian Plovdiv won and proceeded to the final quali round, where Krasnojarsk (!) is waiting for them.

  • Today the first match abroad for the favourites in third and final qualification round for pool phase were won, but not always that easy, that many might have expected: the most resistance came from Maritza Plovdiv, the Bulgarian team used home advantage and played very well, taking the first two sets clearly from Russian Yenisey Krasnoyarsk. Only beginning with third set the Eastern Siberian team could turn the tides, but they needed finally in tie-break three match points, until they won just 14:16.

    Nova Branik Maribor also put up a serious fight against Polisch Developres Rzeszow, but they lost in four, but the sets were mostly rather close (the losing team won every time 22 or 23 points).

    Underdog Sliedrecht did relatively well, but also taking advantage of not playing the first six by Conegliano througout the match. Anyway, the Italian team won in three.

    Even Minchanka Minsk made it at home harder for defending and three-time champions VakifBank Istanbul, at least the third set was a close affair (27:29).

    Already on Saturday the deciding matches in return are played at the winning favourites sites, there is little doubt now, that they will all four proceed to the pool phase as expected.

  • If I remember correctly, it will be final six for play-offs and later Final Four tournament.

    Yes, and this is one of the main reasons, that no Bundesliga team (two were eligilble: champion Schwerin for group phase and runner-up Stuttgart for qualification/second round) participated: they had no chance to get to the final six respectively to qualify before for the group phase.

  • I watched the match in the cavern of the Eastern Sibirian bear, so to speak: Bulgarian champions Maritza Plovdiv played a great match and despite Yenisey Krasnoyarsk won the first two sets as expected, the fearless and brave Bulgarians managed not only to reach the tie-break though, but also winning it and also the concluding Golden Set clearly. But this success was well-deserved, because Krasnoyarsk got weaker after the first two sets, never fully recovered and Plovdiv played a really great match nearly flawlessly with great block-defence and well executed attacks, it was a fun to watch (good quality on laola1.tv, the Russians weren't forced to offer this quality, but they have just the money to do so and did).

    Especially remarkable is, that attack efficiency was all but unexpected in favour of Krasnoyarsk (44% to 36%), but Plovdiv had advantages in block kills (!) of 14 to 11, reception, service (net points ace minus faults -4 to -8 ) and errors (only 23 to 30 of the hosts). Malykh was no more good after the first two sets and key outside hitter Maria Frolova became more trouble to point in the later parts of the match...