Lausanne, Switzerland, May 19, 2016 – The FIVB Volleyball World League 2016 Group 3 line up will have some familiar faces turning out, while many teams will be making their debut at the premier annual men’s volleyball tournament.
Germany are making a spectacular comeback while three newcomers in the form of Slovenia, Qatar and Chinese Taipei will help take the tournament to new corners of the globe. Of the twelve teams in action, Final Round hosts Germany go into the showdown as favourites. The Germans will put their faith in some of the stars that claimed a surprise bronze medal at the 2014 FIVB World Championship.
The team is led by setter Lukas Kampa, Best Setter at the 2014 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2014, and captain Marcus Böhme, who is regarded as one of the finest blockers in the world. Outside hitters Denys Kaliberda and Christian Fromm have also proven themselves to be world-class. They are joined by a handful of talented youngsters. No longer part of the team is superstar Georg Grozer, who announced his retirement after missing out on qualification for the Olympic Games in Rio. This season’s FIVB World League will form the farewell performance for coach Vital Heynen, who will coach his native Belgium following the tournament.
"We are pleased to host the Final Round in Frankfurt, and thank the FIVB for the trust they have put in us,” said German Volleyball Federation president Thomas Krohne. “The World League is an important first step towards the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. I am optimistic that we can achieve promotion into Group 2.”
But their rivals are not likely to roll over and allow Germany to win without putting up a fight. Newcomers Slovenia are certainly one team to look out for. The team managed by Italian volleyball legend Andrea Giani won last year’s European League to secure a place in the FIVB World League. They also caused quite a stir with a shock silver at the European Championship. The man named Best Outside Spiker at the European Championship, Tine Urnaut, captains the team on its tournament debut. He is joined in the 21-man squad by many players who ply their trade at top international clubs, including Alen Pajenk and Mitja Gasparini.
Another team to watch closely will be Montenegro, who reached the Group 3 Finals on its FIVB World League debut last year. The squad, which includes the high-scoring Marko Bojic and Milos Culafic, is led by last season’s top scorer – captain Vojin Cacic.
Former European champions Spain will be led at their 14th appearance in the FIVB World League by experienced captain Sergio Noda Blanco, who plies his trade in the Italian league.
The fifth European team in Group 3, Greece, will also be hoping for a return to successful times. Captain Mitar Tzourits and Georgios Tzioumakas are two of the better-known players for the squad.
As well as the strong European volleyball nations, the FIVB World League stage will also be graced by two newcomers from Asia. Chinese Taipei is led by a hitter with the sonorous name Chen Chien-Chen. The Qatar team is captained by Bairami Ali. However, the squad also includes the likes of Borislav Georgiev, Milos and Marko Stevanovic, Bojan Djukic, Ribeiro Renan and Thiago de Oliveira Guimaraes, who provide international experience for Italian coach Roberto Piazza.
Mexico go into the tournament with new coach Jorge Miguel Azair Lopez and captain Daniel Vargas. Puerto Rico are without the legendary Hector Soto, top scorer at the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship 2006.
The Tunisian squad, captained by Mahdi Ben Chaikh, includes Wassim Ben Tara, who plays in the French domestic league. Kazakhstan is led by new head coach Rafail Gilyazutdinov. The squad includes the country’s top scorer in the 2015 FIVB Volleyball World League, captain Alexandr Stolnikov.
The twelve teams in Group 3 play a total of six tournaments on two preliminary-round weekends (June 17 to 19 and June 24 to 26). The three top teams join hosts Germany for the Finals, which will take place in Frankfurt am Main on July 1 and 2.