Leipzig, Germany, June 30, 2019 - Pool 20 of the 2019 men's FIVB Volleyball Nations League was completed on Sunday with a victory for Japan against hosts Germany and for world champions Poland against Portugal.
Germany - Japan (June 30, 2019)
Japan have a W16-L9 record against Germany (including East Germany and West Germany) at major world level tournaments.
Japan have won their last two world level matches against Germany, ending a five-match losing run against them. They won 3-2 at both the 2014 World League and the 2018 Volleyball Nations League.
Germany's last world level victory over Japan came in the 2014 World League (3-0).
Yuji Nishida (24) and Christian Fromm (20) were the only players to reach at least 20 points in last year's VNL meeting.
Germany have won only three of their 14 VNL matches this season, including only one of their last 10.
Germany's 11 defeats in 2019 are already three more than they suffered in the 2018 VNL (W7-L8).
Simon Hirsch (186) is Germany's leading scorer in the 2019 VNL. Last year, Hirsch scored 183 points in the preliminary round, at least 33 more than any of his teammates.
Julian Zenger is among the best receivers in the 2019 VNL with an efficiency of 23.91%.
By beating Portugal on Saturday, Japan have raised their victory total to six in the VNL this season.
They have thereby matched their win total from last season, when they bowed out with six victories and nine defeats.
Winning two in a row would already match a VNL team record for Japan. They have never won more than two in a row and have never lost more than three in a row in the competition.
Only 10 of Japan's 29 VNL matches have been decided in straight sets and when they do, Japan have a W2-L8 track record.
Yuji Nishida (198) and Yuki Ishikawa (194) are close to scoring 200 points in the 2019 VNL. Last year, only China's Chuan Jiang (274) and Brazil's Wallace De Souza (216) reached this number in the preliminary round.
Poland - Portugal (June 30, 2019)
Poland and Portugal have squared off five times in major encounters at world level. Portugal won two, Poland won three.
World level major competitions are: FIVB Volleyball Nations League, Olympic Games, World Championship, World Cup, World League and Grand Champions Cup.
Their most recent major encounter was won 3-1 by Portugal at the 2002 World Championship in Argentina.
Poland's last major victory over Portugal came in the 2002 World League, when they triumphed 3-1 at home in Wroclaw.
Poland have boosted their chances of reaching the Final Round by securing back-to-back 3-1 victories this weekend.
Poland have matched their total number of wins in the preliminary round in the 2018 VNL (10).
Poland could win seven successive world level matches for the first time since a run of 10 wins at the 2015 World Cup.
Poland are one of three nations without a straight-sets defeat in the 2019 VNL, alongside France and Brazil (the latter two going into Saturday's match).
Aleksander Sliwka (118) is Poland's leading scorer in the 2019 VNL. He has already surpassed Poland's top scorer in last year's VNL preliminary round, Artur Szalpuk (108).
Portugal have won only two of their 14 FIVB Volleyball Nations League matches, a 3-1 victory over Bulgaria on 2 June and a 3-0 victory over China on 14 June.
Portugal have lost 12 matches at a single world level major tournament for the second time after the 2012 World League (12).
Portugal could lose eight successive matches in a single world level competition for the first time since the 2012 World League, where they lost all 12.
Filip Cveticanin is among the best blockers in this year's VNL averaging 0.47 per set.