2017-08-21 14:58:00 CET
We take a closer look at the 12 men’s teams going for gold at the Rothenbaum
Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst, Austria
The Austrians will be competing in their second Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals after placing ninth in the 2015 event. Doppler and Horst placed second at the recently-completed FIVB World Championships in Vienna after losing the gold medal match to Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola of Brazil. Two-time Olympic teammates and three-time Summer Games participants, Doppler and Horst started playing together in 2012 with four podium placements and six final four finishes in 50 FIVB World Tour events together. Doppler began his FIVB career in 1998 and Horst in 2003. Neither player has won a FIVB World Tour event with their appearances in finals being in 2012 (Star Jablonki) and 2016 (Poreč) and 2017 (Vienna). Doppler also qualified for the Athens 2004 Olympic Games with Nikki Berger, but was sidelined due to a knee injury.
Saymon Barbosa/Alvaro Filho, Brazil
Playing together for the first-time this season, Saymon and Alvaro qualified for the FIVB World Tour Finals via their international ranking. The Brazilians, who captured the 2017 season-opening event in the United States at the Fort Lauderdale Major in south Florida, placed 17th earlier this month at the FIVB World Championships in Vienna. Saymon started his FIVB career with 2005 world champion Marcio Araujo in 2015. Before teaming with Alvaro, Saymon netted a FIVB World Tour title with Gustavo "Guto" Carvalhaes at a 2016 stop in the United States at Cincinnati. Alvaro started playing on the FIVB World Tour in 2011 and captured gold medals with Ricardo Santos (2013 Gstaad) and Pedro Solberg (2014 Stare Jablonki). Alvaro and Ricardo placed second at the 2013 FIVB World Championships in Poland.
Evandro Goncalves/Andre Loyola, Brazil
Another first-season partnership on the international Beach Volleyball scene, Evandro and Loyola secured their spot in the 2017 Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals after becoming the seventh Brazilian men’s team to win the FIVB World Championship title August 6 in Vienna. It was Evandro and Loyola’s second podium placement of the season after finishing second in their first event together this past February at the Fort Lauderdale Major in the United States. While Loyola will be playing in his first Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals, Evandro has placed on the event’s podium twice with Pedro Solberg - third in 2015 and second in 2016. Evandro made his FIVB World Tour in 2011 and Andre in 2014. Evandro has competed in 63 FIVB World Tour events with five gold medals, 13 podium placements and 14 “final four” finishes. Andre has competed in 23 world tour events and earned his first FIVB gold medal with Oscar Brandao at a 2016 FIVB “open” event in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Ben Saxton/Chaim Schalk, Canada
As wildcard entrant for the 2017 Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals, Saxton and Schalk will be competing in the event for the third-straight season after placing seventh in 2015 and fourth in 2016. After posting two 17ths and three 25ths in their first five events in 2017, Saxton and Schalk rebounded to place fifth in the FIVB World Championships earlier this month after losing a three-set quarter-final match to eventual Vienna winners Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola of Brazil. The Saxton/Schalk partnership started in 2013 and the pair placed ninth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games as the Canadians competed in the “toughest” pool with pairs from Brazil, Cuba and Latvia. While the Canadians have not won a FIVB World Tour event together (one silver and four bronze medals together), Saxton and Schalk have netted two NORCECA gold medals. Saxton, who started competing in FIVB-sanctioned events in 2005 as a 16-year old with his first World Tour event being in 2007, has 86 world tour appearances to his credit. Schalk’s first FIVB event was 2010 with 66 FIVB World Tour participations to date.
Armin Dollinger/Jonathan Erdmann, Germany
One of two wildcard entrants for the German men in the 2017 Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals, Dollinger and Erdmann are completing their first season together highlighted by a fourth-place finish in April at the Xiamen Open in China. Dollinger played in his first FIVB World Tour event in 2012 and has been a regular participant since 2014. In 35 world tour starts, Dollinger’s best placement was the fourth with Erdmann in China. A ninth-place finisher at the London 2012 Olympic Games with Kay Matysik, Erdmann has been a regular on the FIVB World Tour since 2009 with 92 appearances featuring four podium placements and eight “final four” finishes. Erdmann and Matysik placed third together at the 2013 FIVB World Championships in Poland.
Markus Böckermann/Lorenz Schumann, Germany
Due to knee issues for Lars Flüggen, the Hamburg appearance will be the first international start for the Böckermann/Schumann partnership that received a wildcard for the 2017 Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. Bockermann, who placed 19th at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games with Flüggen, first appeared on the FIVB World Tour in 2008. Bockermann, who has participated in 77 world events, and Flüggen appeared in six gold medal matches with three title victories. Schumann is completing his second FIVB World Tour season with 16 starts to his credit highlighted by a fourth-place finish at the 2017 Kish Island Open in Iran where he and Julius Thole defeated Bockermann and Flüggen in the quarterfinals.
Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai, Italy
The Italians will be competing in their second Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals by qualifying via their international ranking. Lupo and Nicolai placed fifth in the inaugural Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals after losing in the 2015 quarter-finals to Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt of Brazil. Ten months later, Lupo and Nicolai also lost to the Brazilian pair in the gold medal match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. After reaching at least the quarterfinals in five of their first six events in 2017, Lupo and Nicolai have placed 17th in their last two FIVB World Tour starts at the Gstaad Major and the FIVB World Championships in Vienna. One of the more experienced pairs at the 2017 Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals, Lupo and Nicolai will be looking to validate their silver medal finish at the Rio 2016 Olympics Games with a podium placement in Hamburg. The Italians have captured three FIVB World Tour titles, including 2014 back-to-back tournament wins in China (Fuzhou and Shanghai). Nicolai debuted on the FIVB World Tour in 2008 (90 FIVB World Tour appearances) with Lupo’s initial start in 2010 (70 events). Lupo and Nicolai’s best FIVB World Tour finishes have been together with 18 podium placements and 20 “final four” finishes in 66 events. They prepared for this year’s season finale by winning the European title for the second successive year.
Piotr Kantor/Bartosz Losiak, Poland
Fifth-place finishers at the 2017 FIVB World Championships, Kantor and Losiak will be participating in their second Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals after qualifying via their international ranking. Kantor and Losiak placed fifth on the 2016 Swatch event in Toronto after being eliminated by Ben Saxton and Chaim Schalk of Canada. Despite both players being 25, Kantor and Losiak rank with Italians Daniele Lupo/Paolo Nicolai as the second-most experienced team in the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in terms of FIVB World Tour participations together (66). Kantor and Losiak competed in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and placed 17th with their last two setbacks to medal winning teams on Copacabana - Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen of The Netherlands (bronze) and Lupo/Nicolai (silver). Both players have been playing in FIVB events since 2009 as Kantor and Losiak have three youth world championships to their credit along with the world tour gold medal in 2016 at the Rio Grand Slam. The Polish pair has netted nine medals in 66 world tour appearances.
Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Nikita Liamin, Russia
Tied atop the 2017 FIVB World Tour points’ list with Brazilians Evandro Goncalves and Andre Loyola, Krasilnikov and Liamin will be the first Russian men’s or women’s team to compete in the Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals. Krasilnikov and Liamin are competing together on the FIVB World Tour for the first-time this season after placing fourth (Konstantin Semenov) and fifth (Dmitri Barsouk), respectively, with different partners at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In 10 FIVB World Tour starts this season, Krasilnikov and Liamin have topped podiums in Iran and The Netherlands, finished second in Moscow before netting the bronze medal at the recently-completed FIVB World Championships in Vienna. Krasilnikov started competing on the FIVB World Tour in 2012 with 44 appearances to credit that have produced three gold medals, 10 podium placements and 14 final four finishes. Liamin played in his first FIVB World Tour events in 2014 with 28 event participations to date. He has five total medals with four being with Krasilnikov.
Adrian Gavira/Pablo Herrera, Spain
Currently the most experienced tandem in the FIVB World Tour with 91 starts, Gavira and Herrera qualified for their second Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals via the international ranking process. The Spaniards placed ninth in the inaugural SWATCH FIVB World Tour Finals. Gavira and Herrera, who have earned more than US$1-million together on the FIVB World Tour, placed fifth at the recently-completed FIVB World Championships in Vienna. A four-time Olympian and silver medal winner with Javier Bosma at the Athens 2004 Summer Games, Herrera has partnered with Gavira since 2009. As the most productive team from Spain in FIVB World Tour history, Gavira and Herrera have captured two FIVB World Tour gold medals with 15 podium placements, 21 final four finishes, 46 elite eight appearances and 310 matches wins (65.5 percent). A 2002 FIVB under-21 world champion with Raul Mesa, Herrera played in his first world tour event in 2001 with 154 appearances to date. Gavira, who collected two FIVB youth world championship silver medals and played in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics with Herrera, entered his first world tour event in 2007 with has now appeared in 111 tournaments.
Phil Dalhausser/Nick Lucena, United States
As the No. 3 team on the 2017 FIVB World Tour points’ list, Dalhausser and Lucena qualified for their third-straight Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals via the international ranking process. The Americans placed second in the inaugural Swatch Finals in 2015 and were fifth at the 2016 events. Dalhausser and Lucena, who rekindled their partnership in August 2015, placed fifth at the recently-completed FIVB World Championships in Vienna. Dalhausser is a three-time Olympian and captured the gold medal with Todd Rogers at the Beijing 2008 Summer Games. After starting the Rio Olympic process with Sean Rosenthal, Dalhausser switched to Lucena and the pair placed fifth in the Copacabana Summer Games after losing in the quarterfinals to eventual champions Alison Cerutti and Bruno Oscar Schmidt. Both players started playing on the FIVB World Tour in 2005 with Dalhausser joining forces with Rogers in 2006 to start a seven-year run together. Only legendary Brazilians Emanuel Rego (77) and Ricardo Santos (56) have won for FIVB gold medals than Dalhausser (36, including seven with Lucena). To date, Dalhausser has appeared in 106 FIVB World Tour events with 64 podium placements and 68 final four finishes. Lucena has participated in 95 world tour events with 22 podiums and 25 final fours.
Theo Brunner/Casey Patterson, United States
Wildcard entrants for the 2017 Swatch FIVB World Tour Finals in their first season together, Brunner will be playing in the event for the first-time while Patterson was a seventh 2015 finisher with Jake Gibb. Brunner and Patterson’s best finishes this season have been a fourth in Brazil and a fifth in Croatia. Brunner, who joined the FIVB World Tour in 2013, earned his first international medal with Todd Rogers in 2014. He placed fourth at the 2015 FIVB World Championships with Nick Lucena. Patterson started playing internationally in 2011 and teamed with Gibb to win two FIVB events (2013 Shanghai and 2015 St. Petersburg USA) along with gaining a spot in the Rio Summer Games where the pair placed 19th.