Krystal Rivers on her way to get announced as Best Player and Best Spiker of the CL-match vs. Maritza Plovdiv. Foto:

Allianz MTV STUTTGART (GER) have booked their second win in the group stage of the 2019 CEV Volleyball Champions League - Women. They were heading towards a 3-0 victory at 23-20 in the third set, but five consecutive points for Maritza PLOVDIV (BUL) forced the Germans into a fourth set. Allianz were victorious in the end in front of their home crowd 3-1 (25-15, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19).

Allianz MTV STUTTGART (GER) vs. Maritza PLOVDIV (BUL) 3-1 (25-15, 25-21, 23-25, 25-19)

  • Sometimes Volleyball is an easy game, sometimes it is pretty complex. But the main point to start with, is good reception. PLOVDIV were struggling a lot with the powerful service of the hosts. They had their problems to find their own rhythm. STUTTGART had a fast lead and coach Ioannis Athanasopoulos gave 16-year-old Iane Henke a premiere on the European stage, by bringing her in for a service. She delivered a very good one with an additional great defence as the cherry on the top.
  • 1,492 spectators saw the beginning of set 2 as a rewind of set 1. But the more the match continued, the more PLOVDIV did cope with the circumstances, and some exciting rallies followed. The result: first time PLOVDIV reached a lead was at 18-19. However, STUTTGART's concentrated play at the net benefitted them greatly.
  • With an impressive service series of PLOVDIV’s German setter Kathleen Weiss, plus a successful challenge, the Bulgarian champions changed a 20-23 deficit into their first set-win in their #CLVolleyW campaign (25-23). 
  • All fired up by that, they also started with a lead in the 4th set. At 2-5, STUTTGART's coach Athanasopoulos was forced to call a first time-out to change the course of the game. A thriller evolved, with still a slight advantage for Allianz, thanks to a series of very good attacks of Krystal Rivers and Jana-Franziska Poll.
  • STUTTGART outblocked Maritza 12-2 which gave them a big edge in this otherwise fairly equal match. Allianz's opposite Krystal Rivers was top scorer with 23 points, while Miroslava Paskova scored 17 for PLOVDIV.

Giannis Athanasopoulos, head coach of Allianz MTV: "I have said it before. We were expecting a totally different team than we saw in the previous matches. Kathleen Weiss and Simona Dimitrova made a big difference in their performance. They were really strong against our block. But we could adjust to that. Especially in the tight fourth set we stayed strong and were pushing with our serve. I am very happy with the three points."  

Krystal Rivers, opposite for Allianz MTV: "They were really fighting us. But we stayed settled, our blocking got better, we stayed focussed and our passing was very consistent."

Ivan Petkov, head coach of Maritza PLOVDIV: "After the third set we should have played the Volleyball I like. But we lost again. What can I say? We just continue our hard work." 

Kathleen Weiss, setter for Maritza PLOVDIV: "We really fought our way into the match. Maybe we didn’t trust ourselves enough at the end of the second set. But hey, we have a lot of young players with some lack of experience. The third set was really good. We showed a great performance, and the same for half of the fourth set. This is something we can rely on in the future."