This year’s Final Four took place in Baku, Azerbaijan on 24 and 25 March at the Heydar Aliyev Sports and Concert Complex, the largest sports venue in the country. No local clubs had managed to qualify for this event in 2012, but that didn’t stop an enthusiastic crowd from packing the place over the weekend.
On the first day, RC Cannes faced surprise contenders MC Carnaghi Villa Cortese, while Fenerbahce, the bronze medalists from last year, met Dinamo Kazan in the second semifinal. The first match was a real roller-coaster of emotions, with both teams taking the lead again and again, but it was the French team that secured victory with 3-1 (25-17, 26-24, 27-29, 25-15) and therefore its third chance to win the cup.
The second semi showed two of the most talented teams in the world, with the FIVB Heroes Kim Yeon-koung and Ekaterina Gamova facing off against each other. With a result of 3-1 (17-25, 25-23, 25-17, 25-18), the “Yellow Angels” from Turkey prevented the Russians from following their friends at Zenit Kazan, who had won the same tournament the week before.
The two finals on the Sunday therefore were Dinamo Kazan vs MC Carnaghi Villa Cortese for third place and Fenerbahce vs RC Cannes for the gold medal.
Kazan won against the Italians 3-1 (25-13, 25-17, 24-26, 25-23) and claimed their first ever bronze medal in the competition, while Villa Cortese seemed a little tired from the previous match against Cannes. The final saw Fenerbahce win in straight sets against Cannes (25-14, 25-22, 25-20) and the best player of the final was undoubtedly the Korean star and FIVB Hero of the Turkish team Kim Yeon-Koung, who was also honoured as the MVP of the Final Four.