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2018-08-15 22:27:00 CET

Local heroes rock the Rothenbaum

Thole/Wickler claim first German victory in Hamburg

Clemens Wickler (left) and Julius Thole won their first game of the tournament inside the Red Bull Beach ArenaClemens Wickler (left) and Julius Thole won their first game of the tournament inside the Red Bull Beach Arena

Julius Thole and Clemens Wickler’s season could just about to get even better.

The German pair, who joined forced last year, have beaten some of the best teams on the sand this year and won a bronze medal at the four-star event in Espinho in July.

Having qualified for the World Tour Finals as the highest ranked German men’s team, they knew they would face a tough ask on home sand – but the duo got their tournament off to the perfect start with an excellent straight sets (21-19, 21-11) win over Russians Oleg Stoyanvoskiy and Igor Velichko.

For Julius, who hails from Hamburg, the win on their World Tour Finals debut was extra special in what was the final match of the day inside a packed Red Bull Beach Arena.

“It was an awesome start, we never expected it,” said the 21-year-old blocker. “We are proud to get the chance to play here and to get a start like this is very important – now we want to continue that way.

“We’re in a tough group – it’s the top eight teams in the world – so the level is extremely high. That means every victory is an important thing. Maybe now we have a chance of getting out of the group. We want to play our level of volleyball and entertain the crowd and see how far we can go.”

It’s been a whirlwind first season together for the German pair and playing in their first end-of-season finale is still something Thole can’t get his head around.

“We never imagined that we would be here,” he said. “The development of our season has been really good, we didn’t expecting anything like this.

“It’s unbelievable. We are by far the last seeded team here but we knew if we play at our best then it will be hard for teams to beat us.

“I look up in the crowd and see so many familiar faces. My school is one kilometer away, my university half-a-kilometer away so this is a special tournament that means a lot to me.”

Can the Germans continue from where they left off on Thursday? Julius and Clemens take on Olympic silver medalists Daniele Lupo and Paolo Nicolai at 11am CEST on court two. Watch the whole game on BeachStream.

That's why they call it thinking on your feet 😉 Play back today's #HamburgFinals matches on BeachStream [link in bio] @beachteam_thole_wickler @vodafone_de @hamburg_de

121 Likes, 1 Comments - Beach Volleyball Major Series (@beachmajorseries) on Instagram: "That's why they call it thinking on your feet 😉 Play back today's #HamburgFinals matches on..."

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