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Newly-formed German team claims top honours at #CEVSatellite in Göteborg

On Sunday, time had come to settle the podium at the CEV Satellite in Göteborg. With one Swedish team still in contention for the medals, the expectations were high in the world’s biggest indoor beach arena, aka the local Beach Center.

Germany eventually came out on top, with teams from Austria and Finland securing silver and bronze, respectively.

Florian Schnetzer/Daniel Müllner of Austria and Jyrki Nurminen/Santeri Siren of Finland were the first ones to take to the court in semi-final number one. Just as in their previous matches, Schnetzer showed his emotional side. Finland had a hard time coping with Müllner’s big blocks and Schnetzer’s fast defence game, and the Austrians secured a place in the ‘grand finale’ after securing a 21-14, 24-22 victory. An impressed crowd could see a visibly euphoric Schnetzer scream out “Yes, yes, yes, yes” to his partner after cashing the match ball.

For the second semi-final, the home team David Åhman/Alexander Annerstedt took on Germany’s Julius Thole/Clemens Wickler. The Germans took the initiative and claimed a good lead in the first set. After a timeout from Sweden at 1-5, Annerstedt increased the service pressure and much to the delight of the local crowd, the home players were in the lead at 7-6. Germany were a few points behind when the numbers started to approach 21, but eventually caught up and snatched the last point 21-19. Clemens Wickler left his mark on the second set, displaying some impressive defence and attacking skills. The Swedes could not keep up and had to accept a heavy loss (21-8).

Time had come to decide which team would collect the first medal of the tournament. Both Sweden’s Åhman/Annerstedt and Finland’s Nurminen/Siren were hungry for bronze and a strong blocking game from Siren gave the Finnish team the first set 21-12. In set number two, it was Åhman versus Finland, as Annerstedt struggled with side-out and the young sensation by his side came to his rescue. Hoping to steer the game their way, the Swedes tried a couple of different combinations in reception. By either changing side exactly as Finland made their service, or both standing in the middle, they managed to give the majority of receptions to Åhman who was more stable in his side-out. Getting the Finnish team out of rhythm, Sweden could take home the second set 21-17. “They were really confident in their tactic and I made a few unforced errors both in service and side-out,” Siren said after the game. “We tried to calm down and focus on our own game going into the third set.” In the tiebreak, Nurminen/Siren came back strong and thanks to a great service pressure, they could secure the bronze, winning by 15-11. “We are very happy, tired and exhausted,” they said after the game. “We gave it all and it was an important win. It is always nice to play here in Sweden. Åhman/Annerstedt played really well and the crowd really got them pumped up.” Next up for Nurminen/Siren is a training camp in Turkey and then the FIVB 3-Star event in Mersin, Turkey, in May.

Thole/Wickler from Germany had been looking strong throughout the whole tournament, and even if Austria’s Schnetzer/Müllner fought hard in the first set of the final, they could not stop the Germans from claiming the opening set 21-14. The settlement of the top places on the podium came quite quickly as the Germans had full control over the second set too, finishing it 21-16 and claiming the gold medal. “Florian [Schnetzer] and Daniel [Müllner] played a good game with great service pressure,” the winners said after the game. “The crowd here is very nice, they cheer on good points and appreciate nice actions, no matter what team they sympathise with. Our overall experience here has been perfect, with awesome accommodation, a great organisation and very nice people.” Even if the team has been looking stable in Göteborg, they are a newly composed duo: “This is our first season together, so we are still trying to get used to playing with each other. Next up for us is a country quota for the FIVB 4-Star event in Xiamen in late April; we will celebrate a little bit here tonight and then go home and prepare for that.”

With the spotlight on the players, it is easy to forget the people making sure everything is running smoothly. Joep van Iersel, CEV Technical Supervisor from the Netherlands, has been present throughout the whole tournament. “It has been getting better with each day, with everyone knowing more and more what has to be done and how,” he said on Sunday as the tournament had seen its final day. “This is a great facility with good conditions for the players and I really like the friendliness of all the people involved.” This is the second time a CEV Satellite took place in Göteborg, and if you believe van Iersel, it is not impossible to hope for bigger events in the future: “With a few smaller adjustments this facility could host even bigger events. The stands have been filled and I think that if there were more bleachers, there wouldn’t be a problem filling them too, as the local club is big with over a thousand members.”

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Publicerad: 2018-04-01

Senast uppdaterad: 2018-04-01

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