Germany placed seventh overall in the 2015 FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix
Lausanne, Switzerland, April 22, 2016 – The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix opens the 2016 season with 12 of the best teams in the world competing for the much-coveted top spot in Group 1 of the premier annual women’s tournament.
As the new edition of the World Grand Prix approaches, FIVB.com will be putting a team in the spotlight each week as they compete to reach the Group 1 Finals in Bangkok, Thailand from July 6 to 10. Germany is the sixth team to be featured in the 12-part series.
Germany – Seeking to break through in the Final Six
Germany made their debut in the very first edition of the World Grand Prix in 1998, when they finished eighth overall. Sixteen participations later and the world No.11 are still seeking to improve on their two bronze medal finishes in 2002 and 2009.
Last year, they matched their 2012 result, finishing seventh in the overall standing. The European squad prevailed in four of their nine matches in the Preliminary Round. In the first two weeks of competition, Germany only produced one victory each week. Germany broke to the win-column only on the third match of the opening week in Ningbo, China, against the Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-6, 25-18, 25-23), then completed a follow-up victory on the second week in Sao Paulo, Brazil, against European neighbours Belgium 3-1 (25-19, 23-25, 25-21, 25-15).
Their most notable performances in the competition came on the third week, in front of their home fans in Stuttgart. There they secured two wins over the Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-18), and Serbia 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-22).
The Germans are hoping that this seventh place finish could be the springboard to break into the Final Six of this year’s World Grand Prix, and they have the capacity to upset the top teams in the world. Earlier in 2014, they trounced the United States in the Montreux Volley Masters final in Switzerland to win the title for the first time.
Looking back to their earlier history, Germany took bronze medal in their first appearance as a unified nation in 1991 and took another bronze medal in 2003.
Germany’s recent success on the continental stage includes a gold medal finish in the European League in 2013 and their silver medal finish in 2015 under then-Italian coach Giovanni Guidetti, who has since moved on to coaching the Netherlands. Germany also finished as runners-up in the European Championship in 2011 and 2013.
At 188cm-tall, the German captain already played for clubs in six countries, including Germany, Italy, Russia, Poland, Azerbaijan and China. After the 2014 World Championship in Italy, she signed a contract with a Chinese Club, Shanghai, before moving back to Italy to play for River Volley Piacenza in the 2015 season. Most recently, Kozuch won the CEV Volleyball Women’s Champions League with her new Italian club Pomi Casalmaggiore.