I’ll have a month off before meeting up with the national team in Poland, for a start, and the body will be glad. The move from Swiss NLA to German Bundesliga was what you’d expect. You just don’t see teams like Vfb Friederichshafen and Berlin Recycling in the Swiss league. Then again, what most struck me was the depth of the German league this season. Fifth to eighth place are almost within one victory of each other, with most of those teams taking a victory off one of the top four at some stage.
Upsets were pretty common, especially in the early stages, and it was only Friederichshafen which consistently held its head above the rest. It’s a fun league to play in, too. Even many of the bottom teams have strong support bases, so it’s common to play in front of an engaged and loud crowd. TVR Rottenburg comes to mind. After losing almost every match they would still attract a full house to home games--played in their all-pink arena, mind you.
TSV Herrsching (‘the coolest club in the world’) is another great atmosphere to compete in. Then there are the impressive stadiums of the league’s top teams, like Berlin’s Max-Schmeling-Halle, which never fail to showcase the sport. For me, it was a great experience and gameday was always a highlight. With this season behind me, the next focus is on national team. As I mentioned, the squad will return to Poland for a month-long training camp (held at the facilities of Mark Lebedew’s old club, Jastrzębski Wegiel).
It’ll be good to catch up with some old familiar GMVA faces there, with the goal for me being to secure a spot for some more tours. It’s a long and exciting national team season, with World Championships in September and a trip back to Melbourne in June for the Volleyball Nations event against Brazil, Poland and Argentina.
If I can stumble my way into either of those squads I’ll thank my lucky stars. All the best to the homeland. Keep up the good work.