Greetings! There's a standout match in the 14th round of the PlusLiga volleyball tournament. It's between the steady competitor of "Jastrzębski Węgiel", currently in 9th place in the second playoff contenders' group, Kędzierzyn-Koźle, and Zawiercie, occupying the 4th position. The latter is doing excellently in both competitions: the national championship and the CEV Cup.
We are mid-season now, and that means it's injury time, especially when the club is shouldering double burdens. "Kędzierzyn-Koźle" is no exception; the Dutch Twin Wilttenburg, for instance, played less than half of this season's PlusLiga matches. Bartłomiej Klut was just getting into shape when he had to drop out again for at least two more matches.
In short, the squad has been heavily affected by injuries, hence "Kędzierzyn-Koźle’s" challenges working on two fronts. They both aim to qualify for the Champions League playoffs and improve their standing in the championship.
Among those currently involved with the "Kędzierzyn-Koźle" team in each match, Lukas Kacmarek, who is consistently effective and has played 11 out of 13 games in this season's PlusLiga, is particularly noteworthy. Bartosz Bednorz played less, but his utility is just as high, so coach Tomas Sammelvuo relies on him in almost every match as one of the main striking forces of the team.
"Kędzierzyn-Koźle" should strive to turn things around in the championship in upcoming PlusLiga confrontations with this season's leaders. The game vs "Olympiakos" is not far off and a confident victory is needed. Thomas Sammelvuo's volleyball players have a tough schedule at the start of the year, but they need to aspire to maximise their points from opponents. We will see a fairly even game from "Kędzierzyn-Koźle" against "Zawiercie", depending, of course, on the home team's lineup. However, even without significant player exchanges, the "ZAKSA" team can still win.
In the 1/8 CEV Cup final, Michal Vinyarski's team will play against "Milan". The first match of this confrontation is planned for Italy. Prior to that, "Zawiercie" needs to have a decent performance against "Kędzierzyn-Koźle" on the road — there's also a home game against "Stal Nysa".
The southern Poland club seems to be on track in the championship, as far as I can tell considering Vinyarski's team’s location. In the last round, "Zawiercie" beat "Jastrzębski Węgiel" with a score of 3:1, showing excellent form and freshness. They had no problems in the CEV Cup face-off against "Craiova", who were thrashed by the Poles in two matches with a total score of 6:0.
While "Zawiercie" doesn’t exactly have the biggest squad, it includes some strong volleyball players. For instance, Karol Butrin is always good and Milosz Zniszczol looks decent at times. Luke Perry, a nimble libero, retrieves balls of varying difficulty and Mateusz Bienek deserves praise for offering performances on par with, if not better than, his competitors on the field.
"Zawiercie" tends to perform better in the long run than "Kędzierzyn-Koźle", but that doesn't mean they'll have an easy time defeating the silver medalists from last season's PlusLiga.
This game won’t bring an easy victory for either the hosts or the guests. I'm expecting a high-scoring game, so I'm backing total over 183.5 points. It is quite possible that the match will go to a fifth set.