Mighty pressure in Olympic qualification: volleyball players lose after a big fight

Mighty pressure in Olympic qualification
Volleyball players lose after a big fight

Once again, the German volleyball players are going to the tie-breaker in the Olympic qualification. This time the opponents have the better end for themselves. The national coach is still proud. The next two tasks couldn’t be more difficult.

After a great fight, the German volleyball players suffered their first defeat at the Olympic qualification tournament in Lodz – a ticket for the Summer Games in Paris has therefore become a long way off for the time being. The team of national coach Vital Heynen lost to the Polish hosts on Friday evening 2:3 (25:20, 25:27, 21:25, 25:22, 12:15), which ended their winning streak on the fifth matchday. “I’m proud,” said Heynen, “we played against the hosts, it’s about qualifying for the Olympics. Last time at the European Championships we lost 3-0, so I was disappointed. But this time we fought, like that We always have to play.”

After successes against Thailand, Colombia, South Korea and Slovenia, Heynen’s selection faced their toughest opponents to date on Friday. At the last European Championship at home, the Poles were too strong in the round of 16. This time the victory was within reach, Italian legionnaire Camilla Weitzel from Reale Mutua Fenera Chieri was the most successful German player with 18 points.

The women of the German Volleyball Association (DVV) initially slipped to fourth place in the group of eight behind the Poles. At the forefront are the still unbeaten teams from Italy and the USA, who will meet later on Friday evening – and then will be the two remaining opponents for Germany on Saturday and Sunday.

“We want to do it like that again, get into the fifth set in both games,” said Heynen: “Then we have to win two tie-breaks and are in Paris – that’s our approach.” Only the top two in this qualifying group will buy direct tickets for the Summer Games in Paris next year. Further places will be awarded in the world rankings until June. The German women last qualified for the Olympics in 2004.

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