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13 June 2012
Frankfurt, Germany, June 8, 2012 - A long-desired dream for Germany captain Björn Andrae and his teammates to qualify to the Olympics came true in 2008 after 36 years of Olympic absence when he led his team to Beijing 2008 and now his team is searching to repeat the dream only 4 years later when his team starts the World Olympic Qualification tournament in Berlin on Friday.
About the last qualification which was assured on May 25, 2008, Andrae said: “I don’t have a special picture in mind; on that day, we clinched the Olympic ticket with a 3-2 victory against Spain in Düsseldorf. I saw the pictures of that qualification before the tournament in Bulgaria (8th-13th May 2012). The Olympic Qualification 2008 was the most emotional and intensive event I have ever experienced in my previous career. I always get delighted thinking about it and watching the pictures there.”
About the opponents in the upcoming tournament compared with that in 2008 he said that the situation is almost similar. “The Czechs are not to be underestimated as they have a strong squad. The Cubans are as ever: Dangerous, athletic with many players whom you don’t know but having high potential. India is the mysterious opponent who you don’t know. It’s a good group, though it is also a one which you can conquer if we are able to recall everything what we can.”
“The Czech Republic is missing setter Tichacek and wing-spiker Platenik who held crucial roles within their team. However, there are also good successors who are able to replace them. I can hardly assess the Cuban situation: Middle blocker Simon was also team captain and important but it will be decisive to get a grip on the wing-spikers.”
Andrae sees that all the teams have chances to win but with different percentage. “Basically, I would say that each team has the chance considering such a tournament. Ignoring India, I believe that Cuba, the Czech Republic and our team have victory-chances in equal parts. It is dependent on the day’s form, how you start in the tournament and so on. Furthermore, we will have the home advantage in a full hall hopefully; that gave us strength in Düsseldorf.” He said.
The experience of Düsseldorf victory is crucial in the opinion of the German captain as some players in the current squad were there. “I believe that you shouldn’t highlight the tournament in Düsseldorf in such a way. There are other opponents, other players, another time. It isn’t possible to repeat that.”
“Our team is extremely rejuvenated in comparison to 2008. I am the oldest player now, and then I was one of the youngest. Nevertheless, we have an international-experienced squad as many of them play abroad and all have already played international tournaments with the national team.”
Andrae evaluated the role of the spectators in Berlin and whether they may increase the pressure over the players. “I assume it as absolutely positive. In Bulgaria, we have played in front of 10 000 spectators all being against us and we have used it to push us forward. And if the spectators are committed to us, it will push us even more. We want to go to London, and the audience can only be helpful. I would like to experience a not German-like audience. I would like to experience that they get totally crazy, are proud to sing the German National Anthem and support their team.”
“Olympic Games is the biggest sports event. Beijing was an incredibly great experience. I wish that once again, not only from the sport point of view, but also as human being. It would be great to be there as player among all other world stars.
Andrae is sad that all other team sports didn’t make it to London and it is volleyball that can refresh the German spectators in London. “It is sad that all the others did not make it but we hope to represent them there
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