An ordinary 15th round PlusLiga volleyball game will be held in the Polish capital, where the favourites will compete against the underdogs. Project Warszawa ranks 2nd in the league, whereas Norwid Czestochowa is stuck at 10th position. One is focused on acquiring the laurels of the regular championship winner, while the other desperately wants to ascend into the top eight notwithstanding their mediocre performance.
It seems fair to regard the capital's team under the leadership of Piotr Graba as the most reliable candidate for PlusLiga's gold. Project Warszawa defeated all competitors in the first round of the championship, including Jastrzębski Węgiel on their home court, currently overtaking the capital's team in the league table.
In the last round, Piotr Graba's volleyball players lost to Olsztyn away after 8 consecutive victories. The match just didn't work out for Project, and I think these (0:3) are beneficial for a club performing in the leading positions, enabling them to relieve the pressure of this unbeaten streak.
In terms of the lineup, in my opinion, the capital's team is very strong. This season, the Project volleyball players can easily claim PlusLiga's gold medals and try to win the Challenge Cup, even though they face tough competitors, like the Turkish Galatasaray and, of course, the Italian Monza. As for the leaders of the Warsaw team, I want to commend the valuable contributions of many players, but I'll focus on three of them. Kevin Tillie and Bartłomiej Boładź, who constitute the playing foundation of Project Warszawa, are worth noting, alongside with Artur Szalpuk and Yury Semeniuk, who are equally important in attack and its organization. The absence of Linus Weber is noticeable, but the team is coping even without him.
Project Warszawa is a robust team and a contender for all titles, so Norwid Czestochowa, undoubtedly being much weaker than this championship leader, requires a proper tactical approach from the capital's team.
Three consecutive victories improved Norwid Czestochowa's standing in PlusLiga. If the team under Leszek Gudzjak hadn't lost any games to lower-ranking competitors previously, they might indeed have found themselves in the top eight.
In the last round, Norwid Czestochowa overcame Gdansk on home turf, demonstrating a very distinctive performance. Two sets featured impeccable play by Gudzjak's team who, albeit succumbing to their rivals with the score of (26:28), retained the initiative for much of the set.
The Polish southern club features a compact roster, including a couple of top-quality players who largely determine the team's overall success. For example, David Dulski is a vigorous attacking force who fortunately got into gear after initially being stalled at the championship outset. Rafał Sobanski tends to be consistently efficient in almost every match. Damian Kogut, the libero, performs outstandingly. Perhaps Norwid Czestochowa would consider selling him off whenever an opportunity arises.
It will be intriguing to see if Leszek Gudzjak's team can match the top championship contender by showcasing strong volleyball, especially on their opponent's territory. It's clear who the favourite is, but Norwid Czestochowa should never be underestimated. They are capable of performing impressively against higher-ranked rivals.
Despite the recent success of the southern Polish club, I would bet on Project Warsaw. They need to outpace Jastrzębski Węgiel to affirm their leading position in the table. Achieving this requires winning in such ordinary championship games.