2016-06-06 07:45:00 CET
Gold and bronze in Biel for German girls
Watch out! The Germans are warming up for this week’s smart Major Hamburg in medal-winning form!
Germany’s women scooped two of the three medals in the CEV Beach Volleyball European Championships in Biel, Switzerland, with Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst – Hamburg natives – retaining last year’s crown and winning gold with a straight sets victory over Marketa Sluková and Barbara Hermannová from the Czech Republic.
Not only is it back-to-back titles Ludwig/Walkenhorst, but it is a magnificent fourth in the Germans’ outstanding career as a pair together – and the duo will be gunning for gold again this week on home sand in Hamburg. Talk about perfect preparation.
The German smiles were also grinning from ear to ear before the final took place as Karla Borger and Britta Büthe claimed bronze in a typically competitive third-placed tussle against Russia’s Ekaterina Birlova and Evgenia Ukolova.
In a hugely close affair the German girls triumphed 22-20, 21-17, but more importantly the bronze medal and third place earned tightened their grip on an Olympic qualification place.
Borger/ Büthe did so thanks to a spellbinding quarter-final victory over their nearest challengers for the second German spot in the provisional rankings, Katrin Holtwick and Ilka Semmler. Borger/ Büthe took the first set 21-18 but Holtwick/Semmler fought back to level the set score in a dramatic second set (22-20). That set-up a decider in which Borger/ Büthe held their nerve to win 15-13.
All the talk this week will be, of course, who seals qualification for the Olympic Games with the smart Major Hamburg, the last tournament where ranking points count towards Rio this summer.
While plenty of decisions still need to be made, there is one thing we do know: the Germans will be going into this week full of confidence.