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Tiebreaker Times

2024 VNL Season

Lukas Kampa steers Germany to upset victory over France in VNL Manila

Germany kept its 2024 FIVB Men’s Volleyball Nations League Final Round hopes alive with a huge four-set upset, defeating France 25-23, 25-27, 25-20, 25-23 on Wednesday at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Eagles improved to a 4-5 win-loss record, tying with Argentina for ninth place, just behind eighth-place Cuba’s 3-3 record, thanks to captain and setter Lukas Kampa.

A strong passage of play in the fourth set ended with a double contact violation called on Lukas Masse, tying the score at 23.

Then Kampa found Moritz Reichert and György Grozer for the decisive kills to complete the upset.

“It feels great because it’s been a while since we’ve beaten France. What makes me proud today is that we managed to come back more than once after being down by three points,” said the 37-year-old veteran playmaker, who finished with 30 excellent sets in this match.

“In emotional and heated moments, we managed to stay cool and win the game.

“The entire team was ready to play offensively, and for me, it was easy because I could choose from different options. It wasn’t just one guy who was heating up. We adapted pretty well to them tactically, so overall, it was a good team win,” he continued.

The first two sets saw victories for the team that executed better in transition, with Germany and France splitting the frames.

With better passing in the opener, the world No. 12 Germans were able to send the ball to their 37-year-old attackers.

Grozer led the charge with five points, including the set-clinching spike, 25-23, against the Joris Seddik block.

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The 2022 champions, however, would not be denied the second set as Jean Patry and Trevor Clevenot found their marks.

France’s block was also on point, with Yacine Louati’s fourth block turning the tide in his squad’s favor, leading to a 27-25 equalizer.

In the third set, middle blocker Lukas Masse used the service line to Germany’s advantage, carving out back-to-back service aces at the onset.

Those serves put France out of its system, leading to easy kills in transition.

Another Grozer attack posted a huge 17-11 cushion for the Germans in the frame, which was enough even as France tried to mount a comeback with Patry and company chipping into the deficit.

Grozer led the Germans’ balanced attack with 21 points on 18 kills, one block, and two service aces in his VNL debut in Manila.

Meanwhile, Reichert and Masse chipped in 12 points each.

Germany will have little rest but will try to use this momentum when they face another in-form squad, Canada (5-4), on Thursday at 11:00 AM.

On the other hand, Patry finished with 20 markers for France on 17 spikes, two blocks, and one service ace. Clevenot added 16 points on 15 kills and one block.

France will regroup and battle Iran (0-8) on Friday at 11:00 AM, hoping to regain its place in the upper half of the Top 8.

Grew to appreciate various sports from tennis to judo. True-maroon kiddo since the new millennium. Fanboy. Singer. Occasional sports writer.

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