Someone at the Berlin Volleys had taken precautions. That’s why the players wore black T-shirts with the inscription: “Now it beats 13 – Triple – German Champion 2023” soon after the successfully completed last rally. With a 3:1 (25:18, 25:18, 16:25, 27:25) home win against VfB Friedrichshafen, the team became German volleyball champions for the 13th time and crowned a season in which they had previously had already won the Supercup and the German Cup. The club is also catching up with record champions Friedrichshafen.
What Kaweh Niroomand promised afterwards in all the jubilation and hustle and bustle in the Max-Schmeling-Halle, which was sold out with 8553 spectators, almost sounded like a threat to the competition in the Bundesliga. “We will have a strong team again next season,” announced the Volleys managing director.
“I’m very proud to have won this title,” said Vice-Captain Ruben Schott with a smile. But sadness crept into the joy. One of the most important builders of success is leaving the club: Cedric Enard will retire after five years as head coach. “He is an outstanding professional, an outstanding communicator who has internalized our project of promoting volleyball,” said Niroomand, acknowledging the Frenchman’s work.
The word “fantastic” dominated in Enard’s very emotional farewell speech, which was held in English. It was “a fantastic journey over five years,” said the 47-year-old to the audience over the hall microphone. He announced: “I will always stay in close contact with Berlin.” Enard’s record: He led the BR Volleys to four championships and two cup wins.
The few dark points in the course of the season, such as the two hearty 0:3 packs in the Bundesliga at the beginning of the year in Giesen and Lüneburg, were immediately erased by the team through committed behavior in the following games. Enard’s successor has already been determined. From next season on, Brit Joel Banks (48) will be in charge as head coach.
Enard is leaving, another important pillar remains: Johannes Tille has extended his contract with the BR Volleys for another three years, Niroomand said after the final. The player was honored as the most valuable player (MVP) in all three games in the final series against Friedrichshafen. “He’s a complete player and also incredibly quick-witted,” says Niroomand.
In just six days, the BR Volleys managed the feat of defeating their arch-rival from Friedrichshafen three times in the Best of Five final series. 3:1, 3:0, 3:1 – these were the results. The last victory on Saturday was of course in acute danger after a confidently played 2-0 set lead. In the fourth round, VfB was close to the tie-break at 21:17 and 24:22.
“That’s when you start to think,” said Ruben Schott afterwards, “but I told my team-mates beforehand that we mustn’t let ourselves be intimidated and that we have to keep going.” No sooner said than done: after defending three Set balls from VfB, the BR Volleys immediately used their first match ball to defend against a block to win and win the title.