Germany’s most successful club in recent history has been eliminated from the Bundesliga title battle after losing the semifinal series to Berlin Recycling Volleys by 1 victory to 3.
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The reigning champions won the first match at the Bodensee 3-1 and it all seemed like a routine procedure to make it to another final. However, the guys from the capital won the next three games 3-2, 3-1, 3-1, with the second result gained away in Friedrichshafen‘s “ZF Arena”. This is the first time in 8 years that the boys coached by Stelian Moculescu miss the finals of the Play-offs, as well as an end to the streak of 7 consecutive titles achieved between 2005 and 2011.
“The season has finished – so early as almost never before”, stated head coach Stelian Moculescu. “Now we are drawing much attention from the media as well as from the public. If we had won again, it would not have been interesting for anybody”.
The team captain Joao José was evidently also disappointed: “Berlin did not show anything special. They did neither serve nor spike very hard”, he said. “But we were not able to react and play well”. Also the middle-blocker Marcus Böhme felt down: “I cannot realize that we are really out of the competition. I am not sure if we tried everything we should during these semifinals. Maybe we could have showed more. Sometimes we certainly could have played better”.
In this way VfB Friedrichshafen finish the season having won the German Cup one month ago against Generali Unterhaching. With the victory over VfB, Berlin Recycling Volleys turned out to be the surprise of the season. Singing a partnership with Berlin Recycling, the Management Board represented by Kaweh Niroomand and Matthias Klee wanted to lay the foundations of something that will make Berlin a volleyball capital of Germany. The Australian coach Mark Lebedew couldn’t provide them with significant results immediately despite signing players like Paul Carroll (Australia), Tomas Kmet (Slovakia), Urpo Sivula (Finland) and Scott Touzinsky (USA, 2008 Olympic Gold medal winner). As a matter of fact, the team from the capital did not impress much throughout the season. Of course, as every new project started with passion and great enthusiasm, the one in Berlin would certainly need some time to start functioning properly. They might still be fluctuating in important matches and maybe not shining enough yet, but the elimination of Friedrichshafen is a sign that they are on the right path.
Now we will look forward to discovering whether Berlin are already prepared to take all the glory in their first year of the project or the great season of Generali Unterhaching will pay back with a long-awaited first title. Stay tuned for more news from the German league!