The tournament started on 17 March in Lodz, Poland, with hosts PGE Skra Belchatow beating Arkas Izmir from Turkey in straight sets (25-23, 25-21, 28-26) and thereby qualifying – for the first time ever – for the final act of the Volleyball Champions League in front of over 12,000 ecstatic fans packing the Atlas Arena with their yellow-and-black shirts.
In the second match of the day, three-time champions Trentino PlanetWin 365 faced the Russian team Zenit Kazan in a rematch of last year’s final. This time around, the Russians took revenge and defeated the Italians 3-1 (31-33, 25-20, 25-23, 25-17). It wasn’t just the great game making headlines though, but also the rumours that Osmany Juantorena, one of Trento’s most talented players, is moving to Kazan next season.
With the results of the first day, the two final matches were Trentino PlanetWin 365 vs Arkas Izmir for third place and Zenit Kazan vs PGE Skra Belchatow in the final.
In the first game the Italians won 3-0 (25-20, 25-19, 25-19), adding another trophy to their collection, even if it was “only” a bronze medal. Trento played quite differently from what we had seen in the semis, looking very focused and unpressured, while the Turks didn’t put up much of a fight, so the match just flew by.
The final, on the other hand, became a real nail-biter, as Zenit Kazan and PGE Skra Belchatow battled each other over five sets, but at the end it was the guys from the far east who raised the cup after a final score of 3-2 (25-15, 16-25, 22-25, 26-24, 17-15) in front of 13,000 fans.