On Wednesday, the 13th of March, Trefl Gdansk played a home game against Zenit Kazan. The match was a part of CEV champions league tournament. The 4850 fans who came to Ergo Arena created a fantastic atmosphere. Despite the good performance of the team from Gdansk, Zenit Kazan won the game 2:3.
The Lions were underdogs
It was a debut in the quarterfinals of the CEV Champions League for Trefl Gdansk. Their opponents, on the other hand, are not only the veterans of the tournament. They are also the current champions. The Lions didn’t want to give up easily though.
The players from Zenit Kazan entered the game very focused and with great determination. Performing incredibly efficient blocking as well as very strong attack, they quickly got a significant advantage. With 3:8 on the scoreboard Andrea Anastasi asked the players for the first time-out. The guests, however, continued pointing out the mistakes of Trefl and increasing their lead. Despite great support from the local fans, the hosts seemed to be under the domination of their opponents. Trefl started to wake up towards the end of the set gaining 5 points in a row. This, however, was not enough and this part of the game ended up with 19:25 on the scoreboard.
From the beginning of the second set, the game looked totally different. As if Trefl believed in themselves again, they opened this part of the match very well. After gaining the initial advantage quickly, they were the ones to dictate the pace. The set was very even, with just short moments of advantage on either of the sides. With an incredible atmosphere in the Lion’s Den, the hosts won the second set 25:23.
Third set – a fierce fight
In the third part of the game, the fans could see a fierce and an even game again. Trefl presented good teamwork and it didn’t take long for the hosts to lead 15:7. It was however a moment when Zenit started to chase up the pace of the game. They managed to level the score and the end of the set was very stressful for the fans. Unfortunately for the hosts, Zenit got the necessary advantage and won the third set 23:25.
All or nothing
With 1:2 in sets on the scoreboard, Trefl still had good chances to win the match. They showed they can stop the champions and all in the Ergo Arena believed they will. Zenit Kazan was leading the fourth part of the match, but the hosts were keeping the pace. Staying just a point or two behind, they were doing their job well. This was a very good tactic as Trefl leveled the score towards the end. With just two good attacks, they jumped in front to get a tie-break. The fourth part of the game ended with 25:23 on the scoreboard.
The nearly 5000 fans at Ergo Arena probably had hard time talking the day after, as the great support continued without stopping. The tie-break started well for Trefl Gdansk. It looked as if the hosts were to cause a major surprise on the international level. Coach Alekna called a time-out with 9:5 on the scoreboard. The Russians were in trouble. This was however the moment, when their big experience in the international tournaments benefited. They managed to chase up the score and won the set 13:15.
Trefl didn’t manage to cause a surprise in Gdansk. However, the team from Gdansk played what probably was the best game this season. With the great support of their fans, they’ve proven that they are a very strong team. Though there is a bit of disappointment of the result, the supporters can be proud of their team. The second game of the round will take place on Tuesday in Kazan. Trefl still has a chance to go through and they have definitely proven their ability to do so.
Trefl Gdansk – Zenit Kazan 2:3 (19:25, 25:23, 23:25, 25:23, 13:15)
Trefl Gdansk: Kozlowski (2), Schott (13), Nowakowski (12), Muzaj (27), Mijailovic (5), Niemiec (13), Olenderek (libero) and Janusz, Jakubiszak (4), Sasak, Hebda
Zenit Kazan: Butko (1), Anderson (19), Samojlienko (5), Michajlow (27), N’Gapeth (15), Wolwicz (14), Krotkow (libero) and Alijeksjejew, Surmaczewskij, Werbow (libero)