2018-08-16 20:11:00 CEST
Wickler and Thole make it three in a row and advance to the elimination round
Clemens Wickler’s and Julius Thole’s magic run in the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals Hamburg 2018 presented by Vodafone continues at full pace as the Germans have booked their places in to the elimination round after their third straight victory at the Rothenbaum.
The only team to represent the host country in the men’s tournament, Wickler and Thole took down the third top-ten team in the world in a span of 24 hours on Thursday after they defeated Latvians Aleksandrs Samoilovs and Janis Smedins in three sets (17-21, 21-12, 15-12).
“It’s been one of the best 24 hours of my life, certainly top-two,” Thole said after the match. “Every tournament is different and the bronze medal we won in Espinho was unbelievable. But it’s a great step forward for us. Just to see that we progressed a lot and that we can play at this level and beat these teams, it gives us a lot of self-confidence.”
The Germans are not only guaranteed in the elimination round in their home soil of Hamburg but are also positioned to win Pool A and advance directly to the semifinals. To do that, they’ll need to defeat Poland’s Bartosz Losiak and Piotr Kantor on Friday and finish pool play with a perfect 4-0 win record that would put them directly in the competition for medals.
“We’ll try not to think that a victory tomorrow will take us to the semifinals,” Thole added. “One of the reasons we won these games is because we are just going out there and enjoying the crowd and having fun in the matches. Being here for us is just a reward for our good season and we’ll keep approaching it that way.”
The fans, by the way, are of the major reasons for the success of the German rising stars in the tournament. Playing behind a packed Red Bull Beach Arena, Thole and Wickler are just feeding from the crowd’s energy as the move forward in the World Tour Finals.
“We knew that if we played our best beach volleyball we would be a tough team to beat,” the blocker explained. “Of course we didn’t expect to win these three top teams, the level is so close and there are really no big differences between the teams. One of the main reasons for our success is the crowd. They are helping us a lot and making us fight harder.”
Samoilovs and Smedins, on the other hand, said goodbye to their season against the Germans. The Latvians, who won four medals in 2018, including a bronze in the Fort Lauderdale Major, lost all their four matches in Hamburg and finished the World Tour Finals in ninth place.