For the first time, the German women’s volleyball team has qualified for the final tournament of the Nations League (VNL). Now the team of national coach Vital Heynen would like to get involved in the concert of the greats and maybe even cause a surprise.
The German volleyball players showed how it can be done a good two weeks ago in the preliminary round of the Nations League: With courageous struggle, commitment and an unconditional will, the clearly favored Poles were forced into the fifth and thus decisive set. The German team was ahead in almost all statistics: total number of points, number of blocks and errors. But in the end there was a 2:3 defeat.
Premiere for Germany
The German volleyball players want to show a similarly strong performance in Arlington, Texas (USA), when the world elite of women’s volleyball meets there. In the knockout system, the eight teams fight for the title in the final round of the Nations League. The German team will start in the quarter-finals against Poland on Wednesday (07/12/2023, 11 p.m. CET).
Final round, Nations League Arrow right
The German women were able to qualify for the final tournament for the first time since the Nations League was introduced in 2018. The men have never managed to do that and this year the final didn’t work out either. For the women, thirteenth places have so far been the best placings in the record books. Now it’s at least eighth place.
Tough start against Poland
Now this chunk is waiting for the German team to start: The Poles won the preliminary round and only suffered two defeats in twelve games. They go into the tournament as the number one seeded team. The German volleyball players reached eighth place in the preliminary round and thus fought for the last qualifying place. However, it is now a duel against the title contenders.
The USA and the Netherlands showed in the preliminary round that the Poles can also be beaten. Both were able to prevail against the favorites. The Dutch even went straight in three sets, even though they otherwise played a weak preliminary round and missed out on qualifying for the final tournament. But they showed that outsiders can also hold their own against Poland.
It’s not just Poland that can have justified hopes for the title based on the results in the preliminary round. The host country, the USA, would have been seeded for the final anyway, but still managed to finish second in the preliminary round. As three-time winners in four editions of the Nations League so far, they definitely have to be reckoned with.
In addition to these two teams, Italy and Brazil are also among the title contenders. Italy is the defending champion, Brazil has reached the final in each of the past three years – and lost. The top seven in the world rankings are in addition to the eleventh-placed Germans in the final tournament, which has only existed since 2018.
In addition to Nations League also World Cup
The Volleyball Nations League (VNL) was introduced for both men and women as an annual event where important world ranking points are collected, which are also decisive for qualifying for the Olympic Games. The mode looks like this: 16 teams play twelve games in a preliminary round. The top seven teams qualify for the final round, where the host country is also seeded. There, the eight teams then play elimination games in a row. The three games from quarter-finals to final take place within just five days.
In volleyball, in addition to the national league, there are also world championships (every four years) and European championships (every two years). Germany and three other countries are hosting the upcoming European Championships in Düsseldorf from the end of August. The last medal for the German women at a major tournament was silver at the European Championships in 2013.
And even if the tournament can be over very quickly if you lose to Poland: The German team has already achieved its best result in the history of the Nations League and collected important world ranking points on the way to the Olympic Games. German captain Anna Pogany is correspondingly confident: “We’ll give it our all. I think we’re an unpleasant opponent.”