Following the path of 'Barcelona' from Kazan. About results of leading Russian teams in Champions League
On 26 January, Zenit Kazan had one more victory in Champions League. This time, Tirol (Austria) was defeated by Kazan 3-0. Realnoe Vremya tells about the end of the trips of the Russian teams, which were the strongest rivals in their group of Champions League of the latest 5th season.
Three group leaders, but only two semi-finalists
In 2010-2011, three Russian teams took the first place in their group in Champions League at once. If this championship brought Zenit and Dinamo Moscow medals, for Belogorie it was a failure because the team was eliminated in the next stage. Let's start from the very beginning.
All three teams couldn't avoid jitters in the group stage of that Champions League. But it did not impede them to be at the top. Having lost two matches, Zenit and Belogorie had 13 points each. Dynamo Moscow lost only one match and scored 14 points. Kazan and Moscow reached the semi-final, while Belogorie did not manage to cope with Cuneo (Italy) and lost both matches in the 1/8 finals, 6-1.
The most distasteful about it was that both Russian teams met in the semi-final. Kazan was stronger; they walloped their opponents 3-0. Then Moscow won the bronze medal, and Zenit gave way to Trentino in the final 3-1. It was the second final of Champions League of Kazan and its first defeat.
Zenit's second win
In the next season, two Russian teams were in the group stage. But it did not impede them to collect all victories. Lokomotiv (Novosibirsk) won the title of the best team of the group in the last stage, when they played with Lube Banca Marche Macerata. So, Lokomotiv scored 14 points and was going to fight.
But the team almost achieved its goal. In the 1/4 finals, Lokomotiv was defeated by Arkas Spor (Turkey) in the golden set, while at home Russia beat its opponent 3:0. It was a bitter defeat because Zenit Kazan easily reached the final again. Kazan was going to play with Skra (Poland). In spite of the difficult match and pile of problems, Kazan snatched victory from the jaws of defeat and won Champions League for the second time in its short history.
Record group stage of Kazan
In 2012-2013, our three collectives were in Champions League. However, Dinamo Moscow could not leave last year's finalist of the main European tournament behind. Having thrashed all rivals of the group, Skra obviously did want to obtain that precious trophy. Moscow suffered less: it lost both matches, but it was not a whitewash defeat.
Meanwhile, Zenit, which was in the same group of Champions League, had six whitewash victories! It was the best result ever! It is a believable record that cannot be beaten. Defeated by the main opponent of the group Berlin only, Lokomotiv from Novosibirsk took the first place in its group and scored 15 points, that is to say, one point more compared to last year.
Draw made Zenit and Dinamo meet again. It would be pleasant to see the three Russian teams in the semi-final of Champions League, but, as it seems, it is not on the cards. The Kazan players easily coped with the task, so Moscow was not in with a chance of going on fighting. In the semi-final, Kazan had a draw against a Russian team – it was Lokomotiv, the host of the Final Four. In a complicated struggle, Lokomotiv won 3-2, and did it again against Cuneo. 3-2 once again, the spectators were happy because their favourites obtained that trophy. And Kazan calmly took the bronze medal.
Belogorie repeated the record
In the new season, Zenit and Lokomotiv were in one group. Having scored 14 points, Zenit was at the top of the group list, Lokomotiv couldn't beat Macerata (Italy), which caused many problems for both Russian teams.
Belogorie repeated the same feat of Zenit in its own group: it whitewashed all matches, though its group was weaker. Unlike the Kazan players, who took the third place in this season, Belogorie won Champions League. In the semi-final, it met with Zenit and won the match. Kazan was defeated by Jastrzębski Węgiel in a bronze medal match. By the way, the main European volleyball cup went to Russia for the third consecutive time.
Almost ideal tournament for Zenit
In the previous Champions League, Kazan won all group matches again and showed who was the 'daddy' in Russian volleyball. Meanwhile, Lokomotiv and Belogorie's performances looked very sad despite the fact that they scored 15 points each in their groups and had only one defeat. Both teams played quite well in the group stage but did not reach the semi-final. In the 1/8 finals, Halkbank (Turkey) succeeded in the match with Belogorie that was beaten in the golden set. Then Lokomotiv gave way to the future finalist – Resovia (Poland).
Zenit covered the distance successfully and had only one defeat in the match against Halkbank in the 1/4 finals. However, Kazan reached the semi-final. Berlin Recycling had no chance in the match against Zenit – 3-1. In the final, the Kazan team flatten Resovia and won its third trophy of the Old World that is the fourth consecutive one for Russia.
Are we waiting for the fourth cup to be in Kazan?
In this season, in Kazan everything is hunky-dory. According to bookmakers, Zenit is one of the key players, even the leader of Champions League. The team demonstrates an excellent game, and the opponents are not an obstacle on its way. 'Barcelona' from Kazan is ready to go on the rampage. The most important thing is to not to bite off more than one can chew.