Two remarkable results: Nova Branik MARIBOR won also the second match at home rather clear against PARIS St.Cloud and Rote Raben VILSBIBURG lost surprisingly in three short sets and also the Golden Set on the road against Jedinstvo STARA PAZOVA. All other results were as expected or not important, because the winners are too weak to go far in the competition.
Short remark: after Lisa Thomsen and Allianz MTV Stuttgart couldn't agree on prolongig her contract for this season, she went to university for studying and is now helping the amateur club Gladbeck Giants in section North of second league in vicinity of university in Marl as outside hitter, although receiving and field defense are what she does mostly.
This match was almost unwatchable. Very sloppy play on both sides. IMHO, there are only two decent teams in the VBL 1st Division this year . . . and neither of them is in the Champions League.
I think you expect a little too much from Bundesliga now. There are four superiour leagues now in Europe alone (and world wide at least Brazil superleague is also stronger):
2. Russia and Italy
And all of them have teams with much more money than us in Germany. Watch European cups and you will see the tendency, because German teams will be superiour to most other countries teams with some exceptions of outstanding single teams like Volero ZÜRICH from Switzerland or Agel PROSTEJOV from Czech Republic.
Two further observations/remarks after todays match day:
Erfurts only second win against Köpenick let to equal match wins with Thuringia state rival Suhl, but the last have one point more currently. Only the special license using VCO Berlin is behind them, so the race against losing right to play in first league is between those Thuringia teams as expected. But due to the question, if really two teams from second leagues want a first league license, it is far from sure the last of them two has to leave first league at end of season - financial matters might be more important as often.
Despite Potsdam lost one set against junior team VCO Berlin (even by the league called Satzdiebe/set thieves now ), they took three points and leveled regarding points with Dresden, the last have just three sets less lost as Potsdam. But next match will decide order of the two: winner (regardless how) will be third, loser fourth, when Potsdam will be hosted by Dresden in the Margon hall. Because Mancuso will not be there in Dresden anymore, Potsdam has pretty good chances to win in Dresden IMHO.
I have watched this match with a mixture of tension, pleasure and surprise. Why did Schwerin win, despite we helped Stuttgart as good as we could in a sold-out SCHARRena (2.200 spectators)?
1. Schwerin served way better than Stuttgart, the ace relation 5:8 in favour of Schwerin doesn't tell the whole truth: they exerted much more pressure on Stuttgarts reception then vice versa.
2. reception was considerable better by Schwerin (compare 1.) as with Stuttgart, which was mainly due to Geerties very good reception on libero level (like Dürr and Buakaew) and some below average performance of Renata Sandor in this regard.
3. blocking was clearly better by Schwerin, despite the unexperienced Schölzel had to play for the ill, experienced Brandt (but remember, that even Schölzel was already German national player at times), in numbers 14 block kills by the 10 times German champion, only 11 by current vice champion
Generally speaking, the complete picture didn't came totally unexpected: opposed to last season Stuttgart doesn't play that smooth and automated like they did last two seasons, and they are not constant enough. Missing receiver, captain Kim Renkema due to her illness may have to do something especially with reception weaknesses and not sufficient smooth team working, but the always helpful Louisiane Souza-Ziegler was missing at Schwerin as well.
Indeed Aiyana Whitney has not (yet?) fully adapted to level of first league in Germany and isn't constant enough currently, but she is a very gifted opposite - she might be better in second half of season. Of course Deborah van Daelen is not that killer you need against rather strong opponents like SSC Palmberg Schwerin, how the team is called correctly after name change one week ago.
Altogether Stuttgart couldn't even win at home with maximum support by us fans (there was a small fan group of Schwerin present, roundabout 20 with several drums, which is more than 750 km away!), which means, if they don't improve considerably, Schwerin will take it's 11th German championship of the time of united Germany. All other teams have no realistic chance to become champion at all (means lower than 1% like Dresden or Potsdam, not to mention the others).
Any previews for the game? (Besides the ones on both club sites)
And what are the predictions of the German forum-members?
Because this match is tomorrow shadowing even the traditional (and important) duel Vilsbiburg vs. Dresden, I give you a fairly neutral report, though I'm definitely not neutral and hope for Stuttgart to win:
after carefully reading the news of both teams, it is not only clear, that both want to win and think they can, but also, that they are not sure about what will happen tomorrow - both have considerably changed rosters compared to last season and it is the first duel this season of both.
Some interesting details: Maren Brinker was captain of Stuttgart back in season 2010/2011 and played also in this very SCHARRena the last matches of that season. Afterwards she went abroad to Italy and Poland, and learned and improved a lot. She became a much harder and mentally stronger attacker (was 2010/2011 second best attacker of German league already) and is now very well doing in situations like tie-break and the main outside hitter of German national team. Her than team mate Kim Renkeman probably can't play tomorrow, by the way. Schwerin has a similar issue also with an outside hitter, the long time Bundesliga player Louisa Souza-Ziegler (Brazil), so options are on both sides just all outside hitters minus one. The probable start lineup is like following (Schwerin has mainly German players, so I mention only non-German nationality, so Stuttgart has mainly non-German players, I mention German nationailty there:
Schwerin role Stuttgart
Louisa Lippmann opposite Aiyana Whitney
Maren Brinker outside Renata Sandor
Jennifer Geerties hitters Michaela Mlejnková
Anja Brandt centrals Nia Grant
Lauren Barfield (USA) Jennifer Pettke (GER)
Denise Hanke setter Valerie Nichol
Lenka Dürr libero Wanna Buakaew
Replacements: Schwerin can bring in Ariel Gebhardt-Turner (USA) either for Louisa Lippmann as opposite or one of the outside hitters. Stuttgart will replace Aiyany Whitney occascionally with Deborah van Daelen as opposite; if Hernandez dares to replace seriously one of the very strong outside hitters Sandor or Mlejnková with one of the two Julias (Schaefer, Wenzel), is questionable considering the quality of the opponent.
Quality of players: Lippmann is both a little more reliable and playing main attacker then Whitney does. The outside hitters of the likely starting six's are all four very good, maybe Maren Brinker is the toughest attacker of them, but the weakest receiver. Middles are all very good, maybe Stuttgarts Micheli Pissinato is a little better substitute than young Marie Schölzel of Schwerin.
Setter Valerie Nichol is IMHO clearly better than German national Denise Hanke, despite the last has improved now compared to last season. Replacement setters Dannemiller (USA) resp. Carmen Kocar will not get much time tomorrow, I think. Both libero players get a lot of balls, which are very difficult to reach, they are world-class.
Teamwork may be even a little better in Schwerin for now, because they are nearly all German nationals knowing each other well, while in Stuttgart not all connections are already that mature yet, but this is partly due to the demanding playing system of head coach Hernandez, which needs time to develop with all players.
Overall I see two well balanced rivals tomorrow, with the considerable home advantage for Stuttgart, hall is sold out (more than 2.200 spectators). The last two seasons Schwerin could never win in Stuttgart, neither in league round, playoffs or DVV cup. But Schwerin is considerable stronger now and Stuttgart is not yet on the automated everything works level of last seasons - but they prepare very accurately and well for this special main rival.
So finally, I can't give you an exact prediction, shape of the day also matters. Likely is a tie-break tomorrow, but don't ask me, who will win that one, if it happens indeed. But it is supposed to be a very good and tight match anyway.
Table situation remains unchanged: even winning 3:0 (IMHO very unlikely) Stuttgart can't pass Schwerin for now, but only get on equal points with lower set ratio.
Today a local newspaper published online an article, that Potsdam could get into financial trouble because of the MBS (MittelBrandenburgische Sparkasse) hall: they use it virtually without payment, only letting 10% on entrance fees for their home city. But this is a modern and likely even European cup suitable hall, not that cheap for the owner. Therefore a discussion in the city council is going on, to demand more money from the 2 to 3 professional users, including ladies volleyball club SC Potsdam. You have to be aware, that they have a rather low budget and can only play their current level, because costs are rather low. If they would be forced to pay usual fees for usage of MBS hall like SCHARRena in Stuttgart (costs with all side effects about 6.000 € for one matchday), they might be forced to close down the team respective retreat from first league.
At least some positive news regarding sponsorship aqisition, as many teams strugle with the money
It is often like rollercoaster: some sponsors leave, some new are acquired, and the teams are lucky, if they don't lose money in sum at the end, and they are very happy, if they can increase it effectively... volleyball is still a difficult enterprise regarding sponsoring in Germany.
Could someone explain what the qualification criteria are for the final two teams going into the round of six.
Similar as in the past: the four group winners are automatically qualified, as the two best second teams. From these 6 one will carry out final four tournament and the third best second team will replace them in Playoff-6, because the team elected as host will automatically go to final 4.
According to the DSC website she is the top-scorer so far with 164 points and also the best attacker with 139 points.
To be rather clear: this means often nothing. Because how many balls a player gets from the setter depends heavily on the alternatives in attack, and because of a big gap in efficiency between her and the outside hitters in Dresden she gets nearly as many balls as before in Southern Korea. Opposed to that this difference is smaller in Schwerin, where Louisa Lippmann receives a smaller percentage of the balls not to speak about Stuttgart, where Aiyana Whitney often has a very hard time to get enough balls to score because of the very high efficiency of outside hitters Renata Sandor and Michaela Mlejnková. Therefore I propose better to compare attack efficiency.
Schweriner SC is now officially competing as "SSC Palmberg" due to their main sponsor.
A few remarks: player jerseys will be changed only next season due to this name change.
This deal should be worth at least additional 100.000 € for Schweriner SC regarding budget, totalling to at least 1.4 Mio.€, nearing or equalling Dresdens current 1.5 Mio.€.
So far I know it is the first time, that Schweriner SC (at DDR times Traktor Schwerin) has a sponsor name in it's first league team name.
I partially agree with your point. Schwerin and Stuttgart are very strong, I think they could also compete well in Champions League this season (unlike Dresden). Dresden is definitely weaker than the last years, but slowly they're getting their act together. Potsdam is good, but I think they should be able to play even better.
The main difference this season for me is that the weak teams are shockingly weak at times and we did not have that last season. Erfurt is faaaaaaar from the level of the good teams, Aachen has an incredible range of performances from very good sets (only at home though) to complete blackouts. Suhl is better than expected but not really good, Köpenick and Münster also are a good deal weaker than last season.
As for the reasons, money surely plays a big role. Teams have to invest very much into being "professional" so they can't afford top players. Quite ironic
There are soft reasons as well - for example Vilsbiburg is a rather small city and boring for many players, so with more good options they go elsewhere. Regarding money alone Stuttgart couldn't compete with Dresden and Schwerin at all, but they have an attractive location and a head coach, who convinces many to play for the team - the coach is very important, what is not that well known, I think.
Schwerin was totally superior, despite Anja Brandt still could'nt play and Louisa Lippmann had not the usual attack efficiency - but both German national outside hitters played extremely well in reception and attack. In Totals Schwerin was way better in service, blocking and considerably in attack efficieny and reception, Vilsbiburg had no advantage in any relevant area. This explains the rather clear victory in three sets of the ten times German champion. Even if Stuttgart would win in three against Schwerin in one week, due to their loss in Potsdam they have no chance to get past Schwerin in the table that way, and it will be not easy to win at all, I think - despite it is absolutely possible.
Schedule for the weekend:
10. Dezember 2016
17:30 Dresden - Erfurt
18:00 Suhl - Wiesbaden
19:00 Köpenick - Münster
19:00 Aachen - Potsdam
19:00 Schwerin - Vilsbiburg
11. Dezember 2016
18:00 VCO Berlin - Münster
All matches except VCO live on http://www.vbl.tv. Schwerin-Vilsbiburg should be interesting.
The most intersting match is supposed to be Schwerin vs. Vilsbiburg - can the guests (Red Raves) win at least a set or even more?
Now Dresden and Potsdam virtually announced not unexpectedly the demand for going into the semis in the playoffs. Dresden improved IMHO in the last possible moment to avoid a bad outcome in Wiesbaden.
Erfurt - Stuttgart 0:3 (21:25 5:25 12:25)
MVP: Friederike Brabetz (from Erfurt's youth) / Renata Sandor
After a balanced 1st set Stuttgart completely ran over Erfurt. Not exactly a good advertisement for 1st league volleyball...
1 Schwerin 8 8 24:2 24
2 Stuttgart 9 8 25:8 24
3 Dresden 8 6 20:12 17
4 Potsdam 8 6 20:14 17
5 Wiesbaden 8 4 18:15 13
6 Vilsbiburg 7 4 14:9 12
7 Köpenick 8 3 12:17 8
8 Münster 7 3 11:17 8
9 Aachen 8 2 12:19 7
10 Suhl 9 2 9:22 7
11 Erfurt 8 1 7:22 4
12 VCO Berlin 8 1 8:23 3
Even considering that Stuttgart is a very strong team this was no first league adequate performance by Erfurt...
The Red Raves Vilsbiburg host the SC Potsdam - I think this will be a rather tough match, at home Vilsbiburg has not lost even a set this season.
And Wiesbaden hosts Dresden - similar to the first one mentioned there is no favorite at all IMHO. Anyway both teams consider defending champion Dresden as favorite, but I'm not convinced of it and think, the very day of both teams may decide this match, where Wiesbaden has the home advantage.
Regarding Münster vs. Schwerin: the last are the clear-cut favorites, despite Anja Brandt (middle, the replacement middle is not on the same level) and Louisa Souza-Ziegler are ill. The last means, that both outside hitters from German national team Jennifer Geerties and Maren Brinker can't be really replaced easily, only Ariel Turner-Gebhardt is an option - but this should suffice for those positions.