CEV European Cups: Maribor looking to surprise the defending champs, while Karlovarsko and Ljubljana in contention for semifinal spots

New week brings new opportunities for some great results of the Middle European teams. Following last week’s success of the Mladost Zagreb women, who advanced to the CEV Cup semifinal, the men have now the chance to follow suit. OK Merkur Maribor will be as first going again against the CEV Champions League defending champions, followed by the return quarterfinal matches in the CEV Cup and the CEV Challenge Cup. 

Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle was able to come through in the first encounter. Can Maribor this time stop the high-flying Polish Superstars?
Photo Credit: Lukasz Sobala / PressFocus

The reigning Slovenian Champion OK Merkur Maribor will be hosting Grupa Azoty ZAKSA Kedzierzyn-Kozle, against whom they already played once in Poland in the opening round, when the defending champions left nothing to chance and won in straight sets. Playing in the so called group of death has only enriched Maribor’s players and staff with valuable experience and just maybe it has been enough to catch the Polish star-selection on the wrong foot and collect their first win in the Champions League.

CEZ Karlovarsko only needed a stop or two more to turn the set and match in France in their favor. Catch them do so on their home court. Photo Credit: CEV

CEZ Karlovarsko played a closer match in the first encounter than a loss in straight sets to the French Tours VB might suggest. Especially close to winning the set and turning the match were they in the second set, losing 27-25. In order to advance to the CEV Cup semifinal, Karlovarsko will need a win in 3 or 4 sets and then also a golden set victory. Considering that they will be having also the home court advantage, this all of the sudden seems as a very possible task.

Ljubljana’s libero Jani Kovacic has been one of the centrepieces of Ljubljana’s successful playing this season. Together with his teammates they will be looking to show another great performance on Wednesday. Photo Credit: CEV

ACH Volley Ljubljana showed some great volleyball and fighting spirit already in Portugal. Twice Ljubljana found themselves trailing a set, however both times they fought back and ended winning the match in a dominant five set. With this result from the first match any kind of a win would be enough to advance to the desired semifinal of the CEV Challenge Cup.

CEV Champions League – Men (Pool Play)
08/02/2022 19:00  OK Merkur MARIBOR (SLO) – Grupa Azoty KODZIERZYN-KOZLE (POL)

CEV Cup – Men (4th finals)
10/02/2022 17:00  CEZ KARLOVARSKO (CZE) – TOURS VB (FRA)
TOURS VB (FRA) – CEZ KARLOVARSKO (CZE)  3-0 (25-22, 27-25, 25-22)

CEV Challenge Cup – Men (4th finals)
09/02/2022 18:00  ACH Volley LJUBLJANA (SLO) – A.J. FONTE BASTARDO Azores (POR)
A.J. FONTE BASTARDO Azores (POR) – ACH Volley LJUBLJANA (SLO)  2-3 (25-23, 19-25, 26-24, 21-25, 6-15)


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