The 21st round of the Polish PlusLiga is underway. "Barkom-Kazhany" is set to square off against "Zawiercie" on neutral ground at the "WOSiR" sports hall. The Ukrainian team occasionally brightens up their gloomy stay in the second group of playoff contenders with victories, while "Zawiercie" is now fully engaged in the PlusLiga and the Polish Cup, having been knocked out of the European cups.
Just one victory over "Slepsk Suwalki" lifted the Ukrainians to the 11th spot. At the very least, Ugis Krastins's volleyball players need to look decent against their direct competitors. Failures have accompanied "Barkom-Kazhany" throughout the season, but I've noted that the team is quite decent, even if they don't always find success.
Defeating "Slepsk Suwalki" on their turf with a score of (3:0) is great, although it may seem that the Ukrainian team hasn't done anything extraordinary. On the contrary, they pulled themselves together after two consecutive losses and managed to win against a direct competitor from the lower part of the table. Now "Barkom-Kazhany" begin a series of challenging opponents, so losses are likely to occur, and later will come a chance to make amends by winning a couple of matches against competitors of their level.
The Ukrainian team boasts a number of good volleyball players. I sometimes do not praise Luciano Palonski, but he works wonderfully in attack and brings a lot of benefits to "Barkom-Kazhany". Naturally, Musse Gueye is still effective on the block, and diagonal Vasily Tupchiy is the leader in terms of points brought to his team, often receiving the MVP of the match, if the Ukrainians win.
"Zawiercie", feeling tired and experiencing a dip, comes to "Barkom-Kazhany" after being knocked out of the ECV Cup. We'll see if the Ukrainians can step up their game, but they certainly should not shy away from their abilities.
"Zawiercie" fell short in the golden set against "Resovia Rzeszow". Michal Winiarski's volleyball players played wonderfully during the main match, but there were not enough emotions for the main round, that's what they lacked at the crucial moment. In any case, "Zawiercie" looked decent in the ECV Cup and I even dared to call them the main favourites for the trophy.
Now the focus must be on the PlusLiga, with a passing match in the Polish Cup, assuming that "Zawiercie" doesn't play too weakly against "Rudzinec" from the third Polish division.
Mihal Winiarski's team continues to have a solid roster. Let's see whether the head coach of "Zawiercie" gives reserve players a chance to participate, but Karol Butrin, who hardly ever misses matches this season, is sure to be on the pitch. Bartosz Qwolek must show all his abilities, and Luke Perry will again try to produce good statistics in reception.
"Zawiercie" should not have problems with "Barkom-Kazhany", but the disappointment after their failure in the ECV Cup might lead to a careless performance in the championship, or conversely, this match might pull Michal Winiarski's volleyball players out of their minor crisis, forcing them to play even better than before the loss to "Rzeszow".
In the first round, "Zawiercie" defeated "Barkom-Kazhany" (3:0), and only in one set did they allow their opponent to win.
If the Ukrainians step up their attack, they could expect to win at least one set, thus, I would opt for a bet with an plus handicap for the nominal hosts of this game.