Stuttgart, Germany, June 13, 2018 - Meryem Boz spearheaded Turkey into the finals after a convincing 3-1 (25-16, 25-15, 20-25, 25-19) victory over Germany in the FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Wednesday.
The opposite spiker scored 20 points and was well supported by the explosive Zehra Gunes (15 points) and captain Eda Erdem Dundar (13 points) as Turkey won for the 10th time in the VNL to rebound from the heartbreak of losing to the Netherlands on Tuesday.
Turkey was almost flawless in the opening two sets before suffering a third set meltdown seemingly due to complacency. However, their sheer power overwhelmed Germany, who slipped to a 5-9 record and have been playing for pride in front of their beloved fans with finals beyond them.
Kimberly Drewniok was adventurous and finished with a game-high 21 points but Germany continued to miss injured scoring machine Louisa Lippmann who has now been unavailable for the past two matches.
In front of an energetic crowd at Porsche Arena, Turkey started quickly through the aerial prowess of Gunes juxtaposed by the defensive mastery from libero Simge Sebnem Akoz as they skipped out to an 8-4 lead at the first technical timeout. Germany's radar was wayward, while Turkey's firepower was hitting the money instigated by setter Cansu Ozbay.
A spectacular Turkey was showcasing innate communication and perfectly executed combinations punctuated by Erdem emphatically completing the finishing touches as the visitors silenced the home crowd. Without Lippmann, much rested on Marie Sholzel who duly lifted her output to get Germany back into the contest much to the delight of the partisan fans.
The game tightened but Turkey's high-voltage game was on target and Erdem menaced at the net as they reeled off seven straight points to punctuate a dominant first set. Erdem's dazzling first set included six points and, fittingly, she sealed Turkey's stanza with a thundering spike.
Displaying much more speed and urgency, Germany started the second set on a brighter note led by the energetic Drewniok whose lethal left arm struck several telling blows. Cunning serving from Boz rallied Turkey as the stanza was headed to a more competitive affair than the opening set.
Germany's impressive resilience was marked by a full-stretched dive from Jennifer Geerties but Turkey's powerful frontline rediscovered their groove and overwhelmed their opponents to skip out to an 11-8 edge leading frazzled Germany coach Felix Koslowski to call timeout.
Turkey's momentum continued as they dictated through unrelenting powerful blows to unravel a ragged Germany and they sensed a finals berth after a second set rout lasting just 23 minutes.
Turkey's length troubled an error-strewn Drewniok as the visitors attempted to complete the job in straight sets but Germany showcased their famed tenacity to take an 8-7 lead at the first technical timeout.
During a pulsating stretch filled with desperate defence from both teams, Turkey won a mega rally punctuated by a Boz blow to regain her team's lead but the hosts would not go away. An inspired Germany took a three-point lead in the backend of the set but an astounding spike from Seyma Ercan fuelled Turkey but the visitors couldn't stem the momentum.
Surprisingly after such a lopsided opening two sets, Germany played with more composure to close out the third set and ensure some nerves for Turkey.
A revived Germany's stunning comeback continued in the fourth set as the local faithful could sense a miraculous comeback but Turkey restored the initiative to skip out to a 10-6 lead.
Turkey's stars, who had been quiet during the third quarter, lifted with Gunes regaining her aerial prowess as Germany started to fall apart reminiscent of the opening two sets. A gallant Germany never gave up but Turkey finally clinched it through an Erdem spike to trigger wild celebrations.
Turkey meet China on Thursday to complete the pool phase, while Germany will be playing for pride when they take on finals bound Netherlands.