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13 June 2012
Berlin, Germany, June 10, 2012 – Host Germany booked Olympic Ticket to London 2012 following their third victory in row over Czech Republic. Coming off a stunning five-set comeback win against Cuba on Saturday, Germany followed it up with a tough four-setter 3-1 (25-22, 25-23, 25-22, 25-21) against struggling Czech Republic in last match of the FIVB Men’s African Qualification tournament at Max- Schmeling Hall in Berlin, Germany on Sunday.
Unbeaten in the tournament Germany improved their win- loss record to 3-0, while the Czechs dropped 1-2.
For the Germans, it was their fifth victory in 11 matches in FIVB competitions against 6 for the Czechs. Including the European Champs, Czech Republic is still leading 14-6.
Leading the way for Germany once more was György Grozer with 28 points, while Jan Stokr registered 19 points for Czechs.
The spectators at Max-Schmeling-Halle got to see an embattled game right from the beginning of the first set. Both teams tried hard to take the lead but neither got to break away from the other. Germany stroke with strong blocks and impressive spikes, like in yesterday´s match against Cuba it was especially Georg Grozer imposing with his vigorous spikes. The Czech´s were in no way inferior to the German performance though and showed a solid defense and great attacks as well, which allowed them to get a little advance in the final phase of the set. However, two aces by Grozer enabled Germany to draw level at 20-20 and eventually take the lead, which they didn´t give away anymore.
Germany´s lack in concentration caused by nervousness knowing the importance of the match and steady strong services and smashes by the Czech Republic made for the Czech´s to take an early lead in the second set. Anyway, Germany managed to come back and keep the set tight by equating at 15-15., now succeeding with strong blocks and showing a better defense than in the beginning of the set. Both teams were fighting for any ball, but finally Czech´s Ales Holubec scored the 25-23 for his team.
In the third set the Germans, keeping in mind their big dream to qualify for the Olympics, kept acting at eye level with the Czech´s and got to go ahead. Nevertheless the Czech coped to pull level and set the German defense under pressure again, especially due to Stokr who showed a great performance like the other days. A brilliant series of services by Germany´s Jochen Schöps decided the set win in favor of the host team.
Germany now needed to win only one more set to reach the goal and gained more and more confidence. Pushed by a noisy audience the team proved to be slightly superior in this phase of the match showing a good team performance. The Czech´s still managed to stay in touch with the Germans and kept the score tight again, but in the end they couldn´t bar Germany from converting the first match point and winning the game with 3-1.
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