Not even a week after co-hosts Slovenia clinched the silver medal at the history-making EuroVolley 2019, on Saturday the 2020 edition of the men’s MEVZA League will kick off with national derbies in Ljublana, Zagreb and Bleiburg as well.
Multiple and reigning MEVZA League champions ACH Volley Ljubljana from Slovenia are looking forward to their opener at Tivoli Hall against last season’s bronze-medallists Calcit Volley Kamnik. The Orange Dragons season’s goals are to defend their titles in the national competitions and in the MEVZA League as well. “Of course it won’t be easy to achieve these goals. Therefore, it will be necessary to be in best shape at the right moments and to avoid injuries. I hope that we will be able to bring our best performance on the court”, ACH Volley head coach Matija Plesko explains.
Marko Brumen, Calcit Volley head coach says: “As every year, we go for highest goals. In both domestic competitions and the MEVZA League as well, Calcit Volley strive to reach the finals and want to be a worthy opponent to the favourites ACH Volley.”
Croatia’s participants Mladost Zagreb and Mladost Ribola Kastela will face each other in the first round in Zagreb, while Austria’s top teams – 2019 MEVZA League runners-up SK Zadruga Aich/Dob and Union Raiffeisen Waldviertel – are going to start their campaigns at JUFA Arena.
“Aich/Dob have a strong squad again. In front of their home crowd, they will push even harder to celebrate a perfect season start. But, on the other hand, we are willing to take a lot of risk and I hope, that we are able to deliver a courageous match”, Waldviertel’s Sports Director Werner Hahn explicates. Head coach Zdenek Smejkal adds: “We are competing in the MEVZA League for the third consecutive year. We will try our best to reach the semi-finals as we did in the past season. It’s going to be difficult, but it’s not impossible!”
Aich/Dob put their hands on the MEVZA League trophy in 2018 and made it to the grand final last season. Austria’s reigning champions started their national campaign with a 3-1 home win over VCA Amstetten NÖ on Wednesday. “As I expected, it was a tough match – especially in the first set. We have to improve the level of our performance on Saturday against Waldviertel. Otherwise, we will be in serious troubles”, so Aich/Dob’s Sports Director Martin Micheu. The club’s main season goals are reaching the MEVZA League Final Four tournament and clinching the national DenizBank AG VL trophy for the third time in a row.
OK Maribor and Mladost Brcko are entering the MEVZA League main round next week. While the Slovenian team will host nine-times MEVZA League winners ACH Volley on Wednesday, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s national champions are going to make their competition debuts on home soil against Aich/Dob on October 11.
The titleholders from Ljubljana as well as Austria’s dominant squad in recent years are likely to play a key role in this season again, but their six challengers are going to put up a fight, that is for sure!
The women’s season opener is scheduled for Saturday, October 12. Both the women’s and men’s sides initially compete in a double round robin format. After completion of the main rounds, the MEVZA League reaches its climax with the Final Four tournaments in February and March (hosts will be announced in late October).
Middle European League Men 2019-20
05.10., 18:00: HAOK Mladost ZAGREB (CRO) vs. OK Mladost Ribola KASTELA (CRO)
05.10., 18:00: ACH Volley LJUBLJANA (SLO) vs. Calcit Volley KAMNIK (SLO)
05.10., 19:00: SK Zadruga AICH/DOB (AUT) vs. Union Raiffeisen WALDVIERTEL (AUT)
09.10., 20:00: OK MARIBOR (SLO) vs. ACH Volley LJUBLJANA (SLO)
11.10., 19:00: Union Raiffeisen WALDVIERTEL (AUT) vs. HAOK Mladost ZAGREB (CRO)
11.10., 19:00: OK Mladost BRCKO (BIH) vs. SK Zadruga AICH/DOB (AUT)
SK Zadruga AICH/DOB (AUT)
Union Raiffeisen WALDVIERTEL (AUT)
OK Mladost BRCKO (BIH)
HAOK Mladost ZAGREB (CRO)
OK Mladost Ribola KASTELA (CRO)
ACH Volley LJUBLJANA (SLO)
Calcit Volley KAMNIK (SLO)
OK MARIBOR (SLO)
Middle European League Women 2019-20
12.10., 17:00: HAOK Mladost ZAGREB (CRO) vs. HOK KASTELA (CRO)
12.10., 18:00: Nova KBM Branik MARIBOR (SLO) vs. Calcit Volley KAMNIK (SLO)
12.10., 19:00: ZOK Bimal-Jedinstvo BRCKO (BIH) vs. UOK Banjaluka Volley BANJA LUKA (BIH)
FOTO © ACH Volley Ljubljana