2017-08-17 15:46:00 CEST
Lorenz Schümann talks about teaming up with Markus Böckermann for the Swatch World Tour Finals
The answer came as quick as a shot. “Markus definitely makes more silly jokes,” Lorenz Schümann said with laughter. Silly jokes were the first thing coming so Lorenz’s mind when he thought about playing with Markus Böckermann at the Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Final in Hamburg, presented by Vodafone.
Normally, 25-year-old Schümann plays with Julius Thole and Böckermann with Lars Flüggen on the World Tour. However, a knee injury – sustained at the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships presented by A1 in Vienna – has ruled out Lars. So now it will be team Böckermann/Schümann at the Finals. They have never played together before, but both athletes know each other very well. They both live and practice in Hamburg. As an opponent, Markus is not the biggest fan of his new teammate. “At the moment, victories count 3-1 to me. I am his nemesis,” Lorenz told us with a big smile. This season, Schümann/Thole have already beaten Böckermann/Flüggen twice, most recently in June’s Poreč Major. The 2-1 victory secured Schümann/Thole a path to the elimination round and their best result ever at the a Major tournament – 17th.
Hamburg Major the launchpad for success
Nevertheless Schümann’s favorite tournament was last season’s Hamburg Major, because the tennis stadium Rothenbaum is the place where the success story of Schümann/Thole began. From the reserve list, they jumped into the qualification just the evening before the tournament started. They surprised with two wins and made it to the main draw at their first international tournament together. “Hamburg has been kind of a kick-off for us,” Lorenz explained. Since that day, the 1.92-meter tall defender Schümann and 2.05-meter blocker Thole made their mark at the FIVB World Tour. “At the beginning, is was a surprise to make it though the qualification,” says Lorenz. “Now it’s our claim.”
The 2024 Olympics is the big dream of the duo, who are the second best German men’s team in the rankings after Böckermann/Flüggen. Taking part on the FIVB World Tour Final is another step for Lorenz Schümann on his way up to the top. Germany received two wildcards for the men – one for Markus and Lorenz and one for Jonathan Erdmann and Armin Dollinger, who will compete with top eight teams of the world ranking and two other wildcards. “For me personally, it’s amazing to play here,” Lorenz said. But he is not just happy: “Julius and I applied for a wildcard as well,” he revealed. “I am really sorry that we cannot play together here, it’s sad and bitter for him. I would have loved to have shared this moment with him.”
Wildcard for the Finals
The same applies for Markus, who has very emotional memories thinking of Hamburg Major last year, where he and Lars qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio with a dramatic victory over countrymen Kay Matysik and Erdmann. Now Böckermann will miss Lars at the World Tour Finals, who needs surgery on his meniscus. Instead, Markus has his ‘horror' opponent standing at his side of the net who is looking forward to playing with him: “Markus has been one of the most steady players over the past four years and it will be a pleasure to play at his side,” Lorenz said.
However, one thing that he is not so enthusiastic about is living in the same hotel room with Markus. Lorenz watched the film Die Norm about the Olympic qualification, and there is a story about Lars and Markus running into each other when both going to the toilet at night.
That’s too much closeness for Lorenz – and he already figured out a plan: “I’ll stay in the hotel and Markus can sleep at home,” he jokes. You can only do these things when you play in your hometown, but that’s just one reason why Lorenz loves this tournament in Hamburg. “Last year, it was a great experience to have such a big crowd behind us. There is nothing better than playing at home.”
The Swatch Beach Volleyball FIVB World Tour Finals presented by Vodafone starts on Wednesday, August 23 and entry is free.