2017 EUROPEAN MEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP
- Krakow, Poland – final site
- August 24-Sept. 3, 2017
- Streaming on Facebook Live / Streaming on YouTube
Gold medal match
Russia def. Germany 3-2 (25-19, 20-25, 25-22, 17-25, 15-13)
Russia wins European Men’s Championship
Fourth-ranked Russia had to battle through a feisty German squad in a five-set affair en route to its record 14th European title and first since 2013. Prior to the final, the Russians had not dropped a single set. Eighth-ranked Germany, meanwhile, grabs silver in its first ever #EuroVolley podium finish.
“It was a tough final match, but it is a final of a European Championship so it cannot be an easy game,” Russian coach Sergey Shlyapnikov said. “We started the match very well; however, Germany soon improved their game. I was aware that anything could happen here, because we were fighting for the gold medal. So even when Germany led 5-2 in the tiebreak, I still believed in our victory and I said it to my players as well.”
Germany led 5-2 in Set 3, but Russia erased the point margin and took a one-point lead of its own at 7-6. A moment of drama came soon after as German star Gyorgy Grozer crashed the floor, but the opposite recovered to pick up a kill. Russian stars Maxim Mikhailov and Dmitrii Volkov came through to lift Russia to a 12-9 lead giving the eventual champions a little breathing room. Mikhailov sewed up the gold medal with his 18th kill of the match at 15-13.
Mikhailov paced Russia with 19 points, tallying 18 kills and a block. Volkov followed with 14 points, turning in seven kills, a team-leading four blocks and three aces.
Grozer accounted for a match-high 27 points, with team highs of 19 kills, four blocks and four aces. Tobias Krick (14), Denys Kaliberda (13) and Christian Fromm (11) followed with double-digit scoring efforts, but it was not enough. Krick chipped in 12 kills, while Kaliberda added 11. Fromm and Marcus Bohme added three blocks apiece.
The Germans won the stat sheet, but lost the match by two points (104-102). Germany outdid the Russians in blocks (12-11), in aces (10-7), in kills (55-49) and in efficiency (46 percent to 40), but gave up eight more points on errors (35-27).
Russia led Set 1 throughout, jumping ahead 7-2 after a pair of Volkov aces. Down 8-4, Germany managed to pull even at 14-all, but Russia capitalized on German miscues en route to a 20-16 lead. Maksim Zhigalov served up an ace to put the Russians up five at 23-18, before Mikhailov closed out the 25-19 win with a kill.
Germany led by as many as eight in a wire-to-wire Set 2 win. The Germans raced out to a 6-2 lead and carried on to a 14-8 advantage as Russian errors piled up. Grozer starred and upped the edge to 22-14. Russia made a late charge behind a serving run by Egor Kiluka, but Grozer delivered the final nail in a 25-20 victory.
Russia led by as many as four at 10-6, but Germany chipped away to knot the score at 12-all, the first of 10 ties in the set. After trailing 17-16, the Russians rallied and eventually scored three of the final five points, winning 25-22 on a Mikhailov putaway.
Germany led Set 4 nearly throughout, save a 1-0 deficit. Germany went up 8-3 and boasted a 13-9 edge midway through as Grozer and Kaliberda paced the offense and Kampa served up an ace. Krick also heated up offensively, leading the team to a 16-10 advantage. Grozer wrapped up the set at 25-17 for the Germans, sending the match to a decisive fifth set.
“After this game I feel somehow lost,” Kaliberda said. “I think that I would be happy if I had a gold medal now around my neck, because we had a real chance to win. This result is also good for us, as we were fighting, and everybody tried to do his best today. I am happy, but it is a bittersweet feeling, when you are so close to winning and you end up losing. I would have signed for this second place before starting this tournament, so it is ok. The European Championship is always a nice time for all of us.”