A strong teamspirit is needed, for the crucial five matches lining up the next twelve days. | Foto: www.tombloch.de.

Stuttgart, March 11, 2019 (tob). Allianz MTV STUTTGART and Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA open on Tuesday night the programme of the 2019 CEV Volleyball Champions League women’s quarterfinals with a much-anticipated matchup at the SCHARRena. The Germans sensationally qualified for the quarterfinals as the very first women’s team from their country to achieve this feat. NOVARA, on the other hand, made history as well by completing their six matches in the pool phase without losing a single set. As a result, fans can look forward to a truly exciting match!

•    The qualification for the quarterfinals of the Champions League is the greatest international success in the history of Allianz MTV STUTTGART this far, and even more, since no women’s team from Germany had achieved this feat before.

•    Another impressive historic fact: Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA went through the pool phase of the Champions League without dropping a single set - the first time in history any team could achieve such a feat! They won 18 sets in a row.

•    The American outside hitter of NOVARA, Michelle Bartsch-Hackley was a member of DRESDNER SC in 2014-2016. The USA national team player had a major impact during the duels with STUTTGART, who lost both the national league finals in 2015 and the 2016 national cup gold medal match to DRESDNER SC.     

•    STUTTGART had a similar challenge just three weeks ago. A few days after they hosted VakifBank ISTANBUL in the CL pool phase, they played the national cup final and lost to SSC Palmberg SCHWERIN.

•    Therefore, there is some unfinished business on the to-do-list for STUTTGART, with a new chance coming up very fast: the quarterfinals hit STUTTGART in a very important phase of the national championship. Two days after the home match with NOVARA, STUTTGART will host SSC Palmberg SCHWERIN in a battle for the top spot ahead of the Bundesliga playoffs.

•    The international success is one side of the story. The other one forces Allianz MTV STUTTGART to improvise and make do with a brutal schedule. The playoffs for the national championship are about to begin. STUTTGART are still undefeated and currently sit in first place in the standing of the Bundesliga.

•    However, this is at stake, since two days after the CL home match, STUTTGART are hosting SSC Palmberg SCHWERIN in an exciting duel for the first position in the German Bundesliga, and two days after the CL away match in Italy, STUTTGART will be playing host to SC POTSDAM. In between those important matches, STUTTGART have to travel to play VfB SUHL. Five very crucial matches within twelve days only – never before was regeneration and precise planning more important. 


Giannis Athanasopoulos, head coach of Allianz MTV STUTTGART: “We are very proud of our qualification for the quarterfinals of the Champions League. NOVARA is a great team and they have some of the best players in the world. Our goal is to fight for every ball and make our fans enjoy the game and deliver high-level Volleyball.”

Kim Renkema, Sports Director of Allianz MTV STUTTGART: “NOVARA is a top team. This is what to expect in the quarterfinals. However, it is great to compete with players like Egonu, Bartsch, Plak, etc. We showed that we can keep up with top-level teams and we are going all-in to make it very difficult for NOVARA; that is for sure. If we want to have any chances to reach the semis, we have to lay the foundation in our home match.”

Massimo Barbolini, head coach of Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA: “For us, a different phase of the Champions League is starting now. With all respect owed to our opponents, we did not have such a difficult group. Now we expect a tough match versus a strong team. STUTTGART only lost to VakifBank ISTANBUL. We know that the quarterfinal is a challenge played over two matches, but we have to give our best right away.”

Michelle Bartsch-Hackley, outside hitter of Igor Gorgonzola NOVARA: “I am very happy that we play in Germany and especially here in Stuttgart. I remember the SCHARRena with its great atmosphere, the fans, the drums, and the music. There will be many of my friends from my time in Germany come to watch the match live. I really look forward to that and especially look forward to meeting all the US-players from STUTTGART. We know each other very well from the national team.”  

The match will be streamed live with commentary on SWR Sport and on Facebook.

The match will be online for additional 7 days.