This thread is late but I think ,especially now that the Play-off are starting , this is necessary so that we can discuss about the result of the upcoming matches.
Because of the Zenit kazan slight downfall and also because some club improved roster compared to the last year season , this year I believe that anyone of this 6 team can win the championship:
Novosibirsk:they have good players on every position ,their foreign players are the polish Setter and World Champion Fabian Dryzga and the OH and European Champion Marko Ivovici.They also have a solid bench with new comers like russian setter Abaev,and OH Rodichev and opp Kruglov(who played for the russian national team in the World cup).They have victories in this season over teams like Dinamo Moscow,Fakel,Kemerovo and Zenit ST. Petersburg.
Zenit Kazan:evenif they fail in the FIVB Club World Championship,the Supercup and CEV Champions League and losing agains teams like Kemerovo,Fakel(twice) and Surgur Region(for some reason) they still have world class palyers in Sokolov,Ngapeth and mikhayilov and a deep roster.They just can't find a combination of players that would work.They won the Cup tho,finish 2th in the regular season and have victories over teams like Zenit ST.Petersburg(on every encounter between those 2),Novosibirsk,Kemerovo(in the Russian Cup),Dinamo Moscow.
Kusbass kemerovo:The reigning champions of the russian superleague (2018-2019 season) ,also the winners of this year Supercup and also the team that is in the Semis of the Cev Champions League ,have some problems with the injuries this season.They had a good start this season , but their first match in the CEV Champions League superstar Oppsite Viktor Poletaev landed awkwardly on his right leg and could not help his team for a long period of time.Now he is back and in full form but now Yaroslav Podlesnykh is the one injured(he was on the last match against the polish club Zaksa so that means that his recovery is almost finished). Kemerovo is a solid club,with good chemistry between players,with one of the best opposite in the world right now in Viktor Poletaev , the russian national team setter Igor Kobzar and maybe an underatted outside hitter in Yaroslav Podlesnykh.Oh and also a beas of a libero ( the finnish Laurie kerminev).If all their players are healty they have a strong chance to win the Championship again.
Zenit St.Petersburg:They improved their roster semnificately by adding the VNL best middle Blocker Ivan Iakovlev and mb Philipov, they lost Pavelk Pankov and added Dmitry Kovalev(some people might say that this is an upgrade but this is discutable).They have really big hitters in the 35 years old Opp Georgy Grozer and Oreol Camejo.They are a relatively new club but strong financiary and ambitious.they are similiar with Zenit Kazan regarding the play style , mediocre passing but elite spiking and serving ,relying a lot on the wings to get the points.
Dinamo Moscow:A team that got really good from the last season ,losing Grankin but getting Pavel Pankov in his place ,also Sam Deroo Steven Maar and Maxim Zhigalov.They finished 5th the regular season and from this 6 teams that I will present here they have the least chances to win the championship,even with their new and improved roster.
Fakel Novyi Urengoy:The team that finished 6th the regular season is a team that struggled with injuries the whole season, starting the season whitout Dmitry Volkov and their setter and captain Igor Kolodinsky,and sort after this two were back Egor Kliuka,maybe their best player, got injured.They are a team who struggles with passing ,mainly because the OH,Egor kliuka and Dmitry volkov,are exceling at spiking ,blocking and serving their passing isn't that great,even tho they have Erik shoji(one of the best libero in the world right now who is trying his best to cover a lot of space in defence).their new OPP player is starting to find some momentum and only the absence of Egor kliuka is stoping them from getting in top 3(and maybe a new setter will help too).
With that said, what are your opinions about this season ? How will you rank this 6 teams? And what are your predictions for the upcoming matches ?
You can watch the matches here:http://www.volley.ru/