World Very close to tears: The Netzhoppers are in the cup final for the first time
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On Sunday, the Netzhoppers volleyball players surprisingly take on Frankfurt in Mannheim. On the way there, the team showed great fighting skills.
That was really not to be expected before this season: The volleyball cup final will take place in 2021 without the BR Volleys and VfB Friedrichshafen. The twohad shared the victories in the cup since 2014. On Sunday, the Netzhoppers KW-Bestensee and the United Volleys Frankfurt will surprisingly face each other in Mannheim (5 p.m., live on Sport 1).
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“At the very beginning of the season I told my team: The trophy is a different story. Nothing is impossible, ”says Netzhoppers trainer Christoph Acht. He can still remember one moment in November particularly well.0: 2 sets and 22:24 in the third round, the game seemed to be over. "My boys came from the field and two of them said to me: Anything is still possible if we believe in it," sayshaben. In fact, the Netzhoppers not only managed to fend off the match balls and shorten them to 1: 2, they then also won the following two sets and left the Max-Schmeling-Halle as the winner. "In retrospect, it is a beautiful story and extraordinary," sayshaben.
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Now theone victory away from the cup triumph. And the chances are not bad: In the Bundesliga they beat the United Volleys twice last time. Eighth sees a strong team with experienced players in Frankfurt; Mentally, however, the past victories could help the Netzhoppers. To what extent your setter Byron Keturakis, who has been suffering from a back problem for weeks, will only be revealed shortly before the start of the game.
“The fans are very proud and excited,” explains eighth, and the success itself came as a surprise for the club. “I can't say whether we'll win the cup, but in any case it's very positive in such a difficult year.”
It is not the first time for middle blocker Yannick Goralik that he has made it to the cup final. In 2018 he played with his former team Bühl against VfB Friedrichshafen and suffered a 3-0 defeat. The outcome of the game was to be expected back then, says Goralik. This time he is more optimistic: “In the moments when it really mattered, we kept coming back and delivered. This is a team effort that will still be recognized for years to come. ”
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The lack of spectators could be an advantage
This season they have proven again and again that the Netzhoppers are a real comeback team. Acht sees exactly the strength of his team in this: "We keep fighting and don't let ourselves be unsettled." That could also help in the final. In the run-up, thefocused primarily on being as fit as possible on Sunday. The most stressful thing is to wait for the corona test results, says Acht: "Because that's the only thing we can't control."
Nevertheless, the trainer is confident. "I think we have to try to stay calm now, then we can achieve the ultimate goal for a team like us." In the years to come, this kind of success could be difficult. The fact that such a small team in the German league has a chance of winning the cup is, according to eight, an "exception".
Under normal circumstances, there would be more than 10,000 spectators in the Mannheim arena on Sunday. Due to the pandemic, fans now have to keep their fingers crossed from the living room. That could even be an advantage, says Acht: "My boys are not used to playing in front of 12,000 people."
Of course it is a shame that the Netzhoppers could not share this experience with their fans, but the coach is convinced that it will still be something very special for everyone: “I think a lot of fans will cry in their living rooms at home when we win.”
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