Luxembourg, April 20, 2017. VakifBank ISTANBUL have been a force to reckon with for many years already. The gold medallists from the 2011 and 2013 editions of the CEV Volleyball Champions League – Women will be vying this weekend for their third continental crown at Palaverde in Treviso, but first they will have to claim the Turkish derby with Eczacibasi VitrA in the semis. Two years ago in Szczecin, they lost in the semi-finals to that same opponent whereas last year their quest for the top honours ended in the gold medal match with hosts Pomì CASALMAGGIORE.
Together with Dinamo MOSCOW, VakifBank are the only team not to have dropped a single match in this year’s Champions League. They swept six matches in a row in Pool D – including two versus Eczacibasi – before in the Playoffs 6 they claimed back-to-back wins in their matches with Volero ZÜRICH.
The roster of VakifBank seems to get stronger with each season – and this time they signed probably the world’s best female Volleyball player, Olympic champion and MVP from the Rio 2016 Games Zhu Ting of China. On top of this, they have the outstanding Dutch opposite Lonneke Slöetjes, USA’s Kimberly Hill and Turkey’s star players Gözde Kirdar and Naz Aydemir Akyol.
There is no question that in terms of consistency at the highest level almost no team can match VakifBank. They have participated in the Final Four of the CEV Volleyball Champions League uninterruptedly since 2011 – with the only exception being the 2012 season.
As a result, fans can start looking forward to a classy all-Turkish semi-final with Eczacibasi, featuring two teams that in a few weeks will also participate in the 2017 FIVB Women’s Club World Championship in Kobe, Japan.
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