New national coach Winiarski as a helper in the volleyball emergency

“The energy on the field” is important to him, announced the new national volleyball coach Michal Winiarski, “and that the team fights together from start to finish”. In the first game under the direction of the Pole, the German men have now fulfilled both criteria straight away. The German team won against hosts Canada at the start of the Nations League in Ottawa 3-0 (25:19, 25:20, 30:28) – quite surprising, because the Canadians are twelfth in the world rankings better than the Germans (14th .), and Winiarski had to do without two important pillars when nominating his squad: setter Lukas Kampa, who is skipping the North American games, and attacker Georg Grozer, who will be out for the whole year. “We decided together that he would sit out this summer and recover,” explained Winiarski: “We all know how good Georg is, but he’s not a young player anymore either.” The star player is 37 years old, just now times a year older is the new national coach.

Winiarski can look back on a terrific career, which he crowned by winning the World Cup as captain of the Polish national team in 2014. Three years later he ended his playing career and started as an assistant coach at the first division club Skra Belchatow. Less than five years later, he is now responsible for the German national volleyball team as national coach.

The opportunity was favorable, and Winiarski boldly seized it in early April. Seize opportunities, this ability has already marked him as a successful outside attacker. Conversely, it can also be said that the need was great, because the German Volleyball Association (DVV) lost its national coach overnight. The Italian Andrea Giani, almost a decade and a half older and even more successful as a player than Winiarski, had just extended his contract but then signed on overnight with Olympic champions France. Giani’s five years in Germany had started well with silver at the European Championships in 2017, but suffered a severe setback when he missed out on participating in the 2018 World Cup and ended disappointingly when he missed out on qualifying for the Olympics.

Winiarski now wants to use the opportunity to start over under tougher competition conditions. In the Nations League, the top 16 teams in the world compete against each other. A total of twelve games are scheduled for each team in the preliminary round at three different venues. Germany meets Argentina (Thursday, 5 p.m.), Bulgaria (Friday) and Serbia (Saturday) in Ottawa. The journey then continues to Quezon City in the Philippines (June 21 to 26) and Osaka in Japan (July 5 to 10), before the final round of the top eight takes place in Bologna at the end of July.

Giving young players the chance to play in the spotlight is what Winiarski says is the first goal of the long international trips. Against Canada, 22-year-old Linus Weber benefited from Grozer’s waiver in the diagonal position. Weber played through and scored 14 points. Only outside attacker Christian Fromm, who scored 18 points, was more successful. In the short term, Winiarski wants to prepare the newly formed German team for the World Cup in his home country of Poland and Slovenia at the end of August in the best possible way. In the medium term, Germany should once again be among the top ten teams in the world rankings. And above all is the qualification for the Olympic Games in 2024. The German men were last at the Olympics in 2012. In Paris they would then meet Giani again.



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