Bulgarian Superliga 2018-2019

  • Just like last year, I won't have much time to update the Bulgarian league but I will create a separate thread nevertheless for the old times' sake. And to prevent the league ending up in the Other European Leagues section :)

    The 12 participants this season:

    Neftochimik 2010 (Burgas) - REIGNING CHAMPION - 2019 CEV Champions League

    Marek Union-Ivkoni (Dupnitsa)
    Dobrudzha 07 (Dobrich)
    CSKA (Sofia) - 2019 CEV ChallengeCup
    Levski (Sofia) - 2019 CEV Challenge Cup
    Minyor (Pernik)
    Montana (Montana) - 2019 CEV Cup
    Pirin (Razlog)
    Cherno more (Varna)
    Hebar (Pazardzhik)

    Deya Volley (Burgas)

    Dunav (Russe)

    There are a few favourites but overall it should be more balanced than last year when Neftochimik 2010 dominated in the end. It also comes from the fact that the Bratoev twins are unavailable, Valentin moved to Japan, whereas Georgi is still recovering from a surgery and will return in the middle of January. I will try to post the rosters shortly, this is the least I could do even if I won't update much during the season. It will also be a record-breaking season due to the number of foreigners who have been recruited. Never before had so many foreigners played in our league in a single season.

  • Neftochimik 2010 Burgas

    Head coach: Nayden Naydenov

    Setters: Georgi Bratoev, Dimo Dimov, Lyubomir Agontsev

    Opposites: Petar Hristov, Russia Dmitriy Yakovlev

    Attackers: Denis Karyagin (universal), Andrey Nikolov, Georgi Petrov, Alexander Simeonov, Russia Saveliy Pozdnyakov

    Middle blockers: Nikolay Kartev, Stoyan Samunev, Iliya Petkov

    Liberos: Teodor Salparov, Martin Ivanov


    Head coach: Daniel Peev

    Setters: Russia Sergey Andrievsky, Plamen Hristov

    Opposites: Ukraine Vitaliy Bondar, Finland Antti Poikela (universal)

    Attackers: Zlatko Kyossev, Martin Penev, Leon Tonchev

    Middle blockers: Ivan Latunov, Borislav Nakov, Valentin Blaginov, Stefan Chavdarov

    Liberos: Dobromir Ivanov, Kristiyan Petrov

    Dobrudzha 07 Dobrich

    Head coach: Plamen Hristov

    Setters: Denimir Dimitrov, Viktor Kostadinov

    Opposites: Velizar Chernokozhev, Petar Hristoskov

    Attackers: Ivaylo Ivanov, Ukraine Igor Antonyuk, Poland Michal Moniek, Alexander Nikolov

    Middle blockers: Svetoslav Arnaudov, Denis Chavdarov, Teodor Yordanov, Alexander Kordev

    Liberos: Nikolay Todorov, Samuil Vasilev

    Marek Union-Ivkoni Dupnitsa

    Head coach: Viktor Karagyozov

    Setters: Stilyan Asenov, Stefan Georgiev, Hristo Kostov

    Opposites: 23px-Flag_of_Rwanda.svg.png Yves Mutabazi

    Attackers: 23px-Flag_of_Uganda.svg.png Kathberth Malinga, Stanislav Velichkov, Angel Velkov, Svetoslav Ivanov, Tsvetelin Tsvetanov

    Middle blockers: Borislav Apostolov, Pavel Dushkov, Lyubomir Yankov

    Libero: Georgi Mihaylov

  • CSKA Sofia

    Head coach: Alexander Popov

    Setters: Vladimir Stankov, Stefan Stoyanov

    Opposites: Ventsislav Georgiev, Dimitar Dimitrov, Ivan Krachev

    Attackers: Simeon Aleksandrov, Ivaylo Stefanov, Yani Georgiev, Plamen Shekerdzhiev, Galin Nikolov, Georgi Tatarov

    Middle-blockers: Hristo Tsvetanov, Krasimir Gaydarski, Andrey Nikolov, Todor Kostov

    Liberos: Martin Bozhilov, Valentin Peychev

    Pirin Razlog

    Head coach: Miroslav Zhivkov

    Setters: Venezuela Francisco Soteldo, Lyubomir Telkiyski

    Opposites: Yordan Zhelyazkov, 23px-Flag_of_Jamaica.svg.png Dennis Nelson

    Attackers: Blagovest Katrandzhiev, Georgi Elchinov (universal), Radoslav Popov, Petar Petrov, Ivan Velev, Todor Dimitrov

    Middle blockers: Kostadin Gadzhanov, Martin Krastev, Petar Bachvarov, Miroslav Dimitrov

    Liberos: Viktor Kopanarov, Hristo Kolev

    Levski Sofia

    Head coach: Vladimir Nikolov

    Setters: Zhelyazko Apostolov (universal), Delcho Raev

    Opposites: Smilen Mlyakov, Ivan Pankov

    Attackers: Samuil Valchinov, Gordan Lyutskanov, Tsetsi Nikolovski, Trifon Lapkov

    Middle blockers: Miloslav Dimov, Teodor Bogdanov, 23px-Flag_of_Scotland.svg.png Mark McGivern

    Liberos: Ivaylo Lalov, Damyan Kolev

    Minyor Pernik

    Head coach: Petar Dragiev

    Setters: Pavel Ivanov, Alexander Petrov

    Opposites: Lyuboslav Simeonov, Miroslav Petrov

    Attackers: Plamen Dragiev, Kamen Kamenov, Yulian Petrov, Milan Milanov, Martin Pavlov

    Middle blockers: Ivan Damyanov, Adrian Anachkov, Georgi Levenov

    Liberos: Metodi Metodiev, Kristiyan Bogdanov, Antonio Miroslavov

  • Hebar Pazardzhik

    Head coach: Atanas Petrov

    Setters: Svetoslav Stankov, Ivan Stanev

    Opposites: Spas Bayrev, Canada Bradley Gunter

    Attackers: 23px-Flag_of_Macedonia.svg.png Aleksandar Ljaftov, Iliyan Bozhkov, Martin Simeonov, Russia Mikhail Nikkel

    Middle blockers: Ivan Tasev, Stoyko Nenchev, Ventsislav Ragin, Georgi Chalakov

    Liberos: Petar Karakashev, Dafin Kotsakov

    Cherno more Varna

    Head coach: Dimitar Pangarov

    Setters: Russia Azizbek Ismailov, Yoan Kairyakov, Georgi Botev

    Opposites: Stefan Ivanov (universal), Milen Petkov (universal)

    Attackers: Kaloyan Balabanov, Dimitar Vasilev, Emiliyan Georgiev (universal), Simeon Dimitrov

    Middle blockers: Nikolay Kolev, Yordan Atanasov, Trayan Ivanov, Nikolay Mironov

    Liberos: Martin Ivanov, Hristo Hristov

    Dunav Russe

    Head coach: Petar Shopov

    Setters: Evgeni Grigorov, Konstantin Nechev

    Opposites: Danail Milushev, Tsanko Tsankov

    Attackers: Kostadin Stoykov (universal), Ivan Petrov, Angel Pavlov, Stoyan Vuldzhev

    Middle blockers: Vasil Atanasov, Milen Minchev, Vladimir Hristov

    Liberos: Anton Vasiliev, Simeon Dobrev

    Deya Volley Burgas

    Head coach: Vesela Bratoeva

    Setters: Alexander Borisov, Nikola Kovachevski

    Opposites: Georgi Petrov

    Attackers: Miroslav Bratanov, Alexander Mitkov, Georgi Mihalev, David Krastev (universal), Stoyan Zlatev, Martin Hristov

    Middle blockers: Ventsislav Trifonov, Kristoffer Petrov, Georgi Dimitrov

    Libero: Hristo Velkov

  • Levski Sofia's two opposites, the veteran Smilen Mlyakov and the youngster Ivan Pankov, as well as their third alternative, the universal Junior NT player Zhelyazko Apostolov, got all injured weeks and days before the derby match (this week on Saturday) vs CSKA. This is why Levski's head coach, former NT member Vladimir Nikolov, applied for a player licence again and will return from retirement in order to help his team. Funny thing that it was exactly injured opposites which brought him back to the NT one last time for the home ECH in 2015. Even if he was among Bulgaria's best ever opposites, I don't see how he will get in shape in 3-4 days.

  • A few years since the project was launched in Pazardzhik, the local club Hebar achieved its greatest success by winning the Bulgarian Cup at home. Pazardzhik, an old and somehow flickering during the past decades volleyball school, have previously seen a Cup finalist and even a league winner (middle of the previous century) and now again enjoys volleyball in Bulgaria's highest tier and a historic success. The club relies heavily on outside reinforcement but I hope the project continues and they develop the youth/junior system just as well.

    On Sunday, in the final, they defeated the previous Cup holder and reigning champion Neftochimik. The Burgas-based team relies heavily on Lukoil money and I can't say I am disappointed they lost the final due to remarkably wrong managerial decisions, weak head coach, transfers, money badly spent, players coming from or playing with an injury, arrogance, etc. Overall, fairness prevailed even if the experience was on the visitors' side.

    Hebar - Neftochimik 2010 3-2 (27-25, 18-25, 23-25, 25-22, 15-7) highlights (Dailymotion)

    This is the first trophy in the career of Hebar's young head coach Atanas Petrov who had managed female teams before accepting the position at Hebar. Also, a remarkable performance towards the end of the match by Bradley Gunter.


  • Finally, the league took advantage of DataVolley's projects and launched a separate, or at least a more detailed, statistics page, the same they use in Turkey. You can take a look here. It also has a separate section with team rosters which is the first ever complete set of players and their positions at one place apart from what I have tried to post here in the forum over the years. I haven't checked all rosters, yet the ones I did looked alright and finally correct and thorough. I know this is a small thing that normal leagues have had for granted, but it is a huge step ahead for the Bulgarian league and especially its governing body.

    Otherwise, yesterday was the first of the best-of-5-series final matches between the new Cup holders and regular season winners Hebar from Pazardzhik and the defending champions with recently recruited NT players from Neftochimik 2010 Burgas. The score was 3-1 for the visitors from Burgas, here is the stats sheet. Today is the second match in Pazardzhik before they move for the next 2 games to Burgas (if two are needed).

  • Neftochimik 2010 from Burgas are the new Bulgarian champions. This is their 4th title overall and third in the last three years.


    They won the final series quite dominantly 3-0 (wins) against Hebar, having dropped only a single set in the first match in Pazardzhik. A 3-0 away win in the second match was followed by a massacre in Burgas on Monday (25-23, 25-15, 25-12). Overall, Lukoil's money turned out to be much needed in order to make up for the dubious/sub-optimal pre-season selection and lack of form at the beginning of the season. Neftochimik finished the regular season 3rd but still won the play-offs after a run of 18 wins in 20 games (if I remember correctly). This is also the first title for head coach Nikolay Zhelyazkov who was hired to replace the inadequate Nayden Naydenov.

    On the other hand, Hebar can be proud of the season they had. They clearly underpeformed in the finals but won the regular season and the Cup at home which is overall a great sign for their project.