Lodz, Poland, May 31, 2018 - Coaches and captains of China, Germany, France and hosts Poland gathered at a media meeting in Lodz, one day before the start of the second weekend of the men's FIVB Volleyball Nations League. The city's Atlas Arena has been the stage of numerous volleyball tournaments of the highest rank and Friday will mark a new chapter in its history.
Raul Lozano, coach of China: "We are a bit tired by the long travel to get here. This weekend we will be competing with very strong teams such as Germany, France and Poland. We are trying to improve our game, develop our technical skills and will try to do our best in this tournament."
Ji Daoshuai, captain of China: "Poland is one of the countries I've visited most and I have very good impressions about the fans, the atmosphere and how much Polish people love volleyball. We have very strong opponents this weekend. We will try our best and enjoy every point we will score here."
Laurent Tillie, coach of France: "We have three difficult opponents. Poland is of course the favourite here with many very good and talented players with power, good block, good serve, spike and defence, so the first game will be very difficult for us. Germany finished 2nd at the European Championship last year, so it means that they are on a very good level. With Andrea Gianni they are a well-organised team and they know exactly what they have to do. And China are a team who have improved a lot in the last few years – they have good middle blockers, a good setter and they play a very fast game, so it will be a tough match. We love to play in Poland, we love the Polish fans and the Polish team is one of the best in the world, so it’s always a good fight with a great atmosphere."
Julien Lyneel, captain of France: "It was important for us to win three games last week and we did it, so we are happy to start the competition like this. Now we are here to play in the same way. Poland is a great country for volleyball, so we are very happy to be here again. We will do our best in Lodz."
Andrea Giani, coach of Germany: "Last week was tough, because we started the tournament with strong teams – Italy, Serbia, Brazil. It was not easy for us, but we closed that weekend with a good game against Brazil. Now we want to win against China and repeat the good level with France and Poland. This week we need to put in maximum energy and power, try to use each match as an opportunity to practise. Being in Poland is incredible, I love to play here, because the people follow the team and give a lot of feelings."
Lukas Kampa, captain of Germany: "We knew before that these five weeks would be a huge challenge for our team, but we’re still having fun despite the tough start last week – without any points. It’s a new week and new opponents and for sure we’re going to fight to grab some points, some victories and to grow as a team. There is not enough time to change big things in our game, because we had only two trainings before this weekend. For us games are like practices, we’re trying to grow from week to week and see where we end. Playing against Asian teams is always something different, because they present a different style of volleyball, but we have motivation to win this game as always and it’s possible, but we need our best level. I saw some parts of the China games and they are not super consistent right now, but when they play at their highest level, they are very tough to beat, so we should be prepared very well, but I’m confident that it might work as the first victory for us."
Vital Heynen, coach of Poland: "I know Germany a bit and China not very well, but before the press conference I said to my players: we cannot make one mistake – we cannot think about the tournament, we just have to play game by game, like we did last weekend. From the beginning I was saying that we are here to get better as a team, to give players their chances and it’s not going to change. We will play with new line-ups and new players, many players will get their chance to play, but it’s always a combination, because I’m giving guys a chance to play, but I also want and like to win. I think I never played a game in Lodz before, so I’m unbeaten here and it’s a good sign, I think [laugh]. Atlas Arena is a great venue and I hope that many people will come to support the team thanks to good results from the last weekend."
Michał Kubiak, captain of Poland: "The most important thing for us is to improve our skills and to become a better team and then victories will come. All teams are strong, but I always say that if we play at a good level, then we can win against everyone. We had two days off and we trained a bit, we will see if we have manged to improve something. Certainly, there is not too much time for trainings, because we spend a lot of time travelling, but that's the charm of the Volleyball Nations League."