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Volleyball - 22. April 2016.

Germany – Seeking to break through in the Final Six

The FIVB Volleyball World Grand Prix opens the 2016 season with 12 of the best teams in the world competing for the much-coveted top spot in Group 1 of the premier annual women’s tournament.
As the new edition of the World Grand Prix approaches, FIVB.com will be putting a team in the spotlight each week as they compete to reach the Group 1 Finals in Bangkok, Thailand from July 6 to 10. Germany is the sixth team to be featured in the 12-part series.
Germany – Seeking to break through in the Final Six
Germany made their debut in the very first edition of the World Grand Prix in 1998, when they finished eighth overall. Sixteen participations later and the world No.11 are still seeking to improve on their two bronze medal finishes in 2002 and 2009.

Their most notable performances in the competition came on the third week, in front of their home fans in Stuttgart. There they secured two wins over the Dominican Republic 3-0 (25-12, 25-11, 25-18), and Serbia 3-1 (23-25, 25-18, 25-22, 25-22).
The Germans are hoping that this seventh place finish could be the springboard to break into the Final Six of this year’s World Grand Prix, and they have the capacity to upset the top teams in the world. Earlier in 2014, they trounced the United States in the Montreux Volley Masters final in Switzerland to win the title for the first time.
Looking back to their earlier history, Germany took bronze medal in their first appearance as a unified nation in 1991 and took another bronze medal in 2003.
Germany’s recent success on the continental stage includes a gold medal finish in the European League in 2013 and their silver medal finish in 2015 under then-Italian coach Giovanni Guidetti, who has since moved on to coaching the Netherlands. Germany also finished as runners-up in the European Championship in 2011 and 2013.
Since May last year, Germany are in the process of transition with another Italian coach, Luciano Pedulla, who also served the Italian national team as an assistant coach. Pedulla holds a lot of experience as he was instrumental in Italy’s silver medal victories at the World Grand Prix and the European Championships; and multiple CEV and national league titles at club level.


Player to watch – Margareta Kozuch
Margareta Kozuch was already considered as one of the best young female athletes in her native Hamburg, being named as the city’s sportswoman of the year in 2005, the same year she entered the national team.


Now, she is considered as one of the greatest German volleyball talents after earning honours with the national team, including Best Scorer at the European Championship in 2009 and Best Spiker in 2011. She was named as German sportswoman of the year in 2010.
In 2013, Kozuch was at the forefront of the German squad that won the silver medal at the European Championship in Berlin, Germany. Kozuch has established a stronghold in her position as the country’s top wing spiker, who has delivered big victories with her consistent offence and remarkable defence.

At 188cm-tall, the German captain already played for clubs in six countries, including Germany, Italy, Russia, Poland, Azerbaijan and China. After the 2014 World Championship in Italy, she signed a contract with a Chinese Club, Shanghai, before moving back to Italy to play for River Volley Piacenza in the 2015 season. Most recently, Kozuch won the CEV Volleyball Women’s Champions League with her new Italian club Pomi Casalmaggiore.


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