Olympiacos made the first step for the qualification to the semi-finals of the Challenge Cup winning Pfeffingen 1-3 in Switzerland. The last year finalists make an impressive run in European competition this year, won a victory and made an a major lead in qualifying to the semi-finals. The rematch will be held at M. Merkouri on Tuesday 27 February. In this game, Olympiacos needs to win two sets to qualify. As far as the first game is concerned, the ‘’Reds’’ led after the first set taking the victory easily. Hippe scored 22 points, Poll added 18 and Giota had 10 ones.
Olympiacos started the game badly with Pfiffengen leading 5-1 and Branko Kovacevic taking the first timeout. The hosts maintained the lead going ahead with 8-2 in the first technical timeout. Olympiacos reacted and reduced to a point (9-8). The two teams remained close to the score until 12-10 when Pfiffengen imposed its rhythm and led 16-11 in the second technical timeout and 25-21 in the end of the first set.
In the second set, Olympiacos was stronger and preceded with 8-4 in the first technical timeout. Hippe widened the margin to +5 (4-9) and Lambrousi boosted it to +7 (6-13). Then, the hosts run a 3-0 streak and Kovacevic took a timeout. Olympiacos replied and Hippe scored for 12-16. The ‘’Reds’’ kept the absolute control and the difference with Christodoulou and Poll scoring for 15-22. Olympiacos won the second set easily (19-25) and tied the game!
It dominated and overturned the game!
The start of the third set was balanced with Olympiacos having a small lead but Pfeffingen replied and went ahead with 6-5. Then, Olympiacos run an impressive 6-0 streak and led 6-10. Giota and Hippe scored to boost the difference to +8 (12-20). The Greek team continued with the same rhythm leading with 16-23. The hosts tried to react and reduce to 20-24 but Giota did 21-25 giving the second set to the ‘’Legend’’.
Huge victory and first step for the qualification!
At the start of the fourth set, the two teams were close to the score but Olympiacos led 8-5 in the first technical timeout after an ace by Giota. The ‘’Reds’’ stayed concentrated and ran a streak to boost the difference to +7 (9-16) in the second technical timeout. Hippe increased the margin to +8 with two consecutive points (10-18). The Swiss team reduced to 15-19 but Christodoulou and Hippe did it again for 15-21. Olympiacos won the last set easily (19-25) with an ace by Poll and another point by Hippe taking a good advantage for the qualification.
The sets: 25-21 (23’), 19-25 (24’), 21-25 (25’), 19-25 (25’)
1st set: 8-2, 16-11, 15-21, 25-21
2nd set: 4-8, 12-16, 15-21, 19-25
3rd set: 6-8, 9-16, 12-21, 21-25
4th set: 5-8, 9-16, 15-21, 19-25
Pfeffingen (Andreas Vollmer): Von Piekartz 2 (2 aces), Walch 13 (9/33 attacks, 1 ace, 3 blocks, 31% pos – 11% exc.), Matter 10 (5/19 attacks, 1 ace, 4 blocks), Ennok 15 (13/21 attacks, 2 blocks, 62% pos – 54% exc.), Storck 16 (14/34 attacks, 1 ace, 1 block), White 9 (9/21 attacks), Pogany (L, 57% pos – 39% exc.), Zaugg
Olympiacos (Branko Kovacevic): Giota 10 (5/8 attacks, 1 ace, 4 blocks), Niemer 8 (5/29 attacks, 3 blocks, 58% pos-36% exc.), Poll 18 (14/33 attacks, 2 aces, 2 blocks, 62% pos-54% exc.), Lamprousi 8 (4/13 attacks, 2 aces, 3 blocks), Christodoulou 2 (2/7 attacks), Hippe 22 (19/41 attacks, 1 ace, 2 blocks), Konomi (L, 50% pos-38% exc.)
The Head Coach of the team, Kovacevic said: ‘’We didn’t start well in the first set but were good in the rest of the game. Despite the bad start, we achieved to find rhythm. This is the most important issue as we made the first step to qualify for the semifinals this year. However, our opponent was defeated in two home games of the previous rounds and secured the qualification in the away ones. We hope that this will not happen this time. We are expecting the support of our fans on Tuesday to celebrate another great success of the team together.’’
Hippe stated at osfp.gr: ‘’I am very happy and proud of this victory. In the first set, we had some problems but then we played much better. We look forward to the home game and I think that this will be easier with the support of our fans. I hope that lots of fans will attend the game and we will live moments like those in the last year when the atmosphere was fantastic. We made a step for the semi-finals, we want to be there this year and we will be ready for the next game.’’