A year after Berlin Recycling Volleys won the title away at Unterhaching in a breath-taking tie-break, the team from the German capital repeated their triumph again today in a five-setter, this time away at Friedrichshafen, to establish their recent Bundesliga dominance.
The game in the “ZF Arena” was surely dramatic, full of long rallies and change of leadership, but also domniated by a lot of unforced errors and reception problems. Surprisingly, the very same description quite fits the semifinals and most of the matches until now in the final series.
Friedrichshafen took a three-point lead (21-18) at the end of an otherwise balanced first set. A great series by the visitors, however, was enough to turn the score around (23-25). Elated by the first-set comeback, Mark Lebedew and his lads seemed in control of the second set and soon the defending champions found themselves with a comfortable 2-0 lead, a set away from regaining the Bundesliga crown.
Despite showing weaknesses in counter attack organization throughout most of the encounter tonight, VfB refused to surrender without putting some fight at home. Two nervous sets saw Stelian Moculescu‘s team chase every ball on the court to eventually enter a tie-break. An impressive display by the usual suspects Valentin Bratoev and Ventzislav Simeonov helped Friedrichshafen find the right game mode after a two-set disadvantage.
At 6-3 and then 8-4 in the tie-break many expected an easy ride for the home side, just as many had thought it was all up with VfB before the third mid-week game in Berlin. The joker that changed the course of events for Lebedew was Roko Sikiric whose excellent serves put Friedrichshafen’s receivers in trouble and at the end Berlin hunted down their opponents. The young US setter Kawika Shoji knew it was the right time to look more for his opposite Paul Carroll who never disappointed. A block against Bratoev, followed by two attack errors by the Bulgarian international closed the set in favour of the visitors. Carroll with his momentous 31 points (not for the first time in the finals) was the hero for the 2012-2013 Bundesliga champions.
VfB Friedrichshafen – Berlin Recycling Volleys 2-3 (23-25, 22-25, 25-23, 25-22, 11-15) (Series 1-3)
Bundesliga 2012-2013 Winners: BERLIN RECYCLING VOLLEYS