13. 05. 2018

F4 in Kazan: They still rule Europe - Zenit Kazan lift the fourth consecutive title!

Source: Photo: cev.lu

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Having won the fourth consecutive trophy in the CEV Champions League, Zenit Kazan has shown who is the best team in Europe!


Zenit Kazan have been unstoppable during the entire season but we must say that Cucine Lube Civitanova were so close to dethroning the reigning champions as they had an 11-7 lead in the tie-break of the 2018 CEV Champions League final!

However, they couldn't keep the pace in front of 7,000 rival's fans at Basket Hall, Kazan, the venue that hosted this year's Final Four, to conquer the tournament after 16 years. Zenit have taken the opportunity to reduce the opponent's lead and to defeat them in super exciting and extended tie-break! In the end, the city of Kazan is celebrating a big victory over the fierce rival 3-2 (29-27, 18-25, 23-25, 25-23, 17-15), while Lube remained empty-handed in the fifth finals they played this season!

This is the sixth Champions League trophy for Zenit in their history. 

In the first set, neither of the two teams was more than two points ahead. And whenever it occurred, the side that trailed managed to tie in a jiffy. In the end, Lube failed to convert two set balls, while Zenit converted their third (29-27).

The same scenario happened in the second set, but only until 17-16 for Lube, who made a 4-1 run, which was rounded up with an ace served by Micah Christenson. Tsvetan Sokolov blocked Wilfredo León for a tie (25-18).

Lube furiously began the third set (4-1) and even had 17-12. Zenit made the atmosphere at the Basket Hall hot by coming back from 21-24 to 23-24, but Dragan Stanković silenced the crowd by making a quick attack (25-23).

It looked like the match will be over in four sets as Lube gained an early lead (3-1, 8-5). At 18-16 for Lube, the air in the Kazan gymnasium smelled with fear of local fans which was chased away with Aleksey Samoylenko's ace – 22-21 for Zenit. León finished the fourth set in his style (25-23).

In the tie-break, Lube missed a huge opportunity to lift the title as they dropped 11-7 lead. Zenit made a 4-0 run to tie the score. Nevertheless, Lube managed to reach the match ball (14-13) but did not convert it. Since they failed to do so, Zenit converted their second match ball (17-15).

The Cuban Wilfredo León was absolutely amazing during the game, scoring 33 points (4 aces, 2 kill blocks) and closing the curtain for the finals with an ace! His teammate Maksim Mikhailov added 24! On the other side, Bulgarian Tsvetan Sokolov had 29 points (2 aces, 4 kill blocks) and Dragan Stanković 19 (6 kill blocks).


Cucine Lube Civitanova (ITA) vs. Zenit Kazan (RUS) 2-3 (27-29, 25-18, 25-23, 23-25, 15-17)

The match for the bronze medal

Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle (POL) vs. Sir Colussi Sicoma Perugia (ITA) 2-3 (25-17, 27-29, 25-19, 23-25, 7-15)


Zaksa Kędzierzyn-Koźle (POL) vs. Cucine Lube Civitanova (ITA) 1-3 (21-25, 25-22, 15-25, 18-25)

Sir Colussi Sicoma Perugia (ITA) vs. Zenit Kazan (RUS) 0-3 (22-25, 20-25, 20-25)


To see complete results, stats, and standings, visit our CEV Volleyball Champions League 2017/2018 / Male / Seniors page.


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POL M: Heynen criticizes EuroVolley format – “It’s not good for Volleyball”

Re: @~sadaf
Issue of his statement was that he asks for restricted, limited participation of NTs, due to of absence of tight matches...Moreover he had used the argument - results 3:0. So that I have used the statistics from other competitions, where should have been much more tight matches - like VNL, World Championship, due to of selection criteria . ( I did not treat the formula of VNL at all... )
The results of this small analysis are interesting, which I did not expected - see my previous comments. Remarkable indication is that the in final phases of these tournaments where had competed the strongest NTs, which should have been on the similar/same level, the percentage of matches which had ended 3:0 is higher as in a prelimenary phase, which is also pretty high. Especially when these NTs should have been the best in the world...

However a different question is - why was increased the numbers of NTs at European Championship?
Perhaps I will try to make some remarks on one aspect of that later on, from a volleyball fan point of view.. Reply

POL M: Heynen criticizes EuroVolley format – “It’s not good for Volleyball”

[@John Doek] Everyone criticised VNL, Heynen being one of them, when its formula was introduced. It is mainly the fault of VNL that there is so little time to rest and prepare for bigger tournaments in the second part of national season, there is too much matches to play. Reply