CEV Champions League 2019

  • So Skra really did win, huh. Just like I thought, this match-up wasn't so one-sided in favor of the Russians after all.

    These teams to me are quite evenly matched. They both have the same type of ups and downs. The Camejo situation is also a bit of a nightmare for Zenit. His return might slightly tip the advantage to Zenit, but of course, in what shape will he be in.. This is still anyone's to win - whoever can have the longest steady spell will win

  • So all the favorites (Kazan, Lube, Perugia) won albeit all 5 setters. Guess the level of the top teams isn't far off from the rest after all.. Good thing they have to play the next match at home

    The schedule is just crazy. Most of the teams are simply too tired. And this is the good scenario, the bad one is injuries. Look at Modena, for example: they manage to recover 1 player and soon they lose 2 others; it's been like this the whole season.

    Some teams are already focused for the national leagues play-offs, in order to get in the best possible shape for the finals.

    Perugia doesn't look in its best days lately. Same for Lube, I could say.

  • I couldn't watch anything yesterday apart from the second set in Belchatow. Which wasn't great at all. But looking at the stats sheets now, you can't ignore the direct correlation (obvious one, of course, noted many times over the past few seasons) between Leon and his team's performance. Leon with 19 serves against Chaumont, 11 errors and no aces! He contributed to almost half of Perugia's combined 26 serve errors. It is clear based on just this fact why they struggled from a technical perspective, but it is still pity Chaumont couldn't push for something more than a five-set defeat.

  • So Skra really did win, huh. Just like I thought, this match-up wasn't so one-sided in favor of the Russians after all.

    Maybe not one-sided, but Zenit was a huge favorite. Camejo injured and it is not sa easy to win away game, but I think that russian atmosphere will be to much for polish side and Zenit will advance to the next round after a tough game

  • Russian teams will continue their domination in European Championship League.

    Possibly, but not as convincingly as they used to. In fact, Russian teams might win the next few editions of the Champions League, if that's what you refer to by European Championship League, or maybe European Cups in total, but so far this season they clearly don't dominate. It started almost last season where, although the best team in the world back then with Leon, Zenit had to heavily rely on the Cuban to steal the CL title at home from Lube. With Leon changing sides this season, the deck has been reshuffled, putting Italy back into competition. I also think the Russian league has/had been the strongest one for some years, something that not everyone agrees with and it's totally fine, however, with Leon's transfer and the all-Italian final at the Club WCH things look differently for the Russians this season. Zenit's CL march will show if they are still the best team out there, whereas Belogorie, Lokomotiv Novosibirsk, and Dinamo Moscow have been weakened or have been performing quite average. The fresh air comes from Fakel, Kuzbass, and Zenit SP, but we saw how dependent Zenit SP can be on Camejo or Grozer, whereas Kuzbass couldn't even reach the much expected CEV Cup final against Trentino, losing to an otherwise unimpressive Galatasaray side. Belogorie struggled but overcame Poitiers, who have trouble in the French league, yet they are not clear favourites against Monza who are in a similar position in the Italian league (both ranked 5th or 6th right now).

    To sum up, the Italians handled the competition from Russia quite well this season. The Russian and Italian teams are still the best in Europe, of course, but as of this season we can no longer talk about Russian domination. Which doesn't mean they won't win a trophy somewhere or that they can't dominate all tournaments in, say, 2 years, but European Cups and the Champions League in particular are no longer a walkover for the Russians.

  • Kazan are playing too much with a 'we are the better team' mentality. They are getting caught in trying to work out why Gdansk is winning and not just focusing on their own fundamental plays. They could be less arrogant and a bit more focused as a team.