(Photo: Tom Bloch | www.tombloch.de)

(Photo: Tom Bloch | www.tombloch.de)

Stuttgart, Germany, March 12, 2018. One pairing in the semi-finals of the 2018 CEV Volleyball Cup - Women is a meeting of two “greenhorns” at this level. When Allianz MTV STUTTGART is hosting Minchanka MINSK, the wish of writing of history is even deeper for the opposition, since Minchanka is the first Belarusian club ever to make it to the semi-finals of the European Cups. 

This match comes in between an interesting set of home games for the German vice-champions. Last Saturday they were playing the other German CEV Cup semi-finalist SSC Palmberg SCHWERIN in a match with no impact on the standings prior to the start of the national play-offs – STUTTGART being the leader of the pack, SCHWERIN entering the play-offs as the third-ranked side. Though both teams wanted to spare some energy for their European appearance on Tuesday, they went over an intense five-setter, simply because no one wanted to lose. At the end, it was the team from Schwerin taking home the win.

The following Saturday the play-offs for the German Championships are starting and STUTTGART is awaiting Rote Raben VILSBIBURG from Bavaria in the first quarter-final-match.

However, as STUTTGART’s head coach Ioannis Athanasopoulos is having a clear motto for his tasks, it is always the next match, which is in his focus.

“We have been doing some video studies on MINSK and are expecting a very strong team with a lot of power in attack, that’s for sure,” states Athanasopoulos, who warned his side have to pay special attention to Aksana Kavalchuk.

However, there is some lucky charm involved when looking at the roster of Allianz MTV STUTTGART. When they defeated DRESDNER SC to reach the semi-finals of the CEV Volleyball Cup, their middle blocker Jenna Potts received a birthday cake from the fans. “This is an amazing feeling, reaching the semis right on your birthday and writing club history,” she said. Birthday celebrations as a good omen – one day prior the match vs. MINSK, it is STUTTGART’s libero Teodora Pusic (see photo) who is turning 25.