M. Champions League Round of 12 Begins This Week

  0 Dan Meneley | March 13th, 2018 | CEV European Champions League, News, Pro Indoor

A field of 32 teams has been whittled down through several group stages, and only 12 still have a chance of the 2018 CEV Men’s European Champions League crown. The next round involves a two-match series between teams. The team that wins the most sets in those matches will advance to the round of 6. Here’s a quick breakdown of the matchups you can look forward to this week.

Sir Colussi Sicoma Perugia (6-0) vs. Halkbank Ankara (4-2)

  • Home: March 13th, 2018
  • Away: March 21st, 2018

Perugia are the heavy favourites in this series, with an undefeated record in a tougher pool than Ankara. They are my personal pick for the team that gets to lose to Zenit Kazan in the finals of this champions league. I’m just hoping Ankara provides a reasonable warmup.

Lokomotiv Novosibirsk (5-1) vs Noliko Maaseik (3-3)

  • Home: March 14th, 2018
  • Away: March 21st, 2018

Another matchup that will surprise if it is anything less than a blowout win for Novosibirsk. Maaseik only made this round because Kazan was chosen as hosts for the final round. Even without Gyorgy Grozer, Novosibirsk will be too much for the Belgian club to handle.

Cucine Lube Civitanova (4-2) vs PGE Skra Belchatow (3-3)

  • Home: March 14th, 2018
  • Away: March 22nd, 2018

This is my personal most anticipated matchup of the round of 12. Belchatow is better than their 3-3 record suggests, taking part in a pool in which Dinamo Moscow only won one game. Take this opportunity to watch middle Srecko Lisinac. The 6’9 Serbian is one of the most dynamic players in volleyball right now, jumping out the gym for a back row attack and following it up with a 100km/h+ jump serve. Civitanova’s only two losses came to league mate Perugia, so they could be stronger than their record indicates. These teams played in the semifinals of the club world championships in December, where Civitanova won in straight sets, albeit by a 6-point margin.

Chaumont VB 52 Haute Marne (3-3) vs Diatec Trentino (4-2)

  • Home: March 14th, 2018
  • Away: March 20th, 2018

Trentino should clean up in this series, but I can’t shake the feeling that Chaumont can play as a really good team for stretches. If 21-year old Stephen Boyer can string together multiple strong sets and Trentino has one of their trademark cold stretches, there may be something here.

Jastrzebski Wegiel (3-3) vs Zaksa Kedzierzyn Kozle

  • Home: March 14th, 2018
  • Away: March 21st, 2018

Games between teams in the same league can be frustrating for viewers because we’ve seen these teams go at it several times already this season. Zaksa is superior to Wegiel in most respects, and with their star outside Sam Deroo returning from an ankle injury, a loss for them would be surprising.

Berlin Recycling Volleys (3-2) vs Vfb Friedschafen (6-0)

  • Home: March 14th, 2018
  • March 22nd, 2018

On paper, this looks like an easy matchup for the undefeated Friedschafen. They have dealt with teams in the Champions League and the Bundesliga with ease, while the path for Berlin has been considerably more difficult. What makes me uncomfortable in declaring this matchup moot preemptively is that on paper, the Recycling Volleys still seem like the stronger team. Overrating name-brand talent over team cohesion is a mistake in men’s pro volleyball, but with Berlin’s new coach Vital Heynen they could have an advantage in both.

All games are taking place on Wednesday, March 14th except for Perugia vs. Ankara, which is happening on Tuesday, March 13th. Games can be streamed on laola.tv.



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