Much has been new to the Lake Constance Society since this summer. The new coach comes with clear goals and a new playing philosophy. This Wednesday VfB Friedrichshafen starts the new season against Lüneburg.
After a good season, VfB Friedrichshafen ended up without a title again. In the preliminary round of last season, the team shone with only one defeat in 20 matches and deserved a champion of the preliminary round. In both the preliminary round and play-off matches, VfB had to admit defeat to the Berlin air hosts. In the final, Haveler clearly lost with a score of 0: 3. Next season, VFB Friedrichshafen wants to “reach the final again and make things difficult,” said press spokesman Matthias Liebhardt.
DVV . Cup
VfB Friedrichshafen also wants to have a say in the DVV Cup. The goal of the season to reach the finals in the cup as well as in the league will be hard work. In the previous season, VfB narrowly missed the final, losing 3-2 to cup champions Frankfurt and was eliminated.
Champions League scars
In the Champions League, people are still a little surrounded when it comes to goals. The scars left by the lost championship in the spring are very deep. Häfler had to withdraw his participation here, as a total of seven people, the entire coaching staff around former coach Michael Warm and three players who tested positive for coronavirus. When asked if last season was generally positive, press spokesperson Matthias Liebhardt laughs given the many positive tests in the team environment. “If things go better now, we certainly won’t get angry.”
Tactical Fox from “Down Under”
Coach Mark Lepidio is new on the sidelines. The Australian “volleyball nerd”, as he calls himself, has already worked in professional volleyball and has more than 20 years of experience as a coach. In 2010 he was signed by Berlin Recycling Volleys and two years later he ousted the current champion and current club Friedrichshafen from the throne. When asked if he could do it with the current team, he said: “It would be a good coincidence if that happened.”
It was followed by two more championships and the bronze medal in the CEV Champions League in Berlin. Lepidio then moved to Poland and was also the national coach of his native Australia in 2017. With VfB Friedrichshafen, he has clear goals: “I want to win every game. I don’t think too much about what will happen in the end.”
The 54-year-old Australian wants to teach the team his philosophy of play, but also knows that won’t be possible from now on. “In two weeks we will not be the team that we will be in six weeks or four months.”
Marc Lepidio also led a dream player to Lake Constance. The foreign striker and captain of the Montenegrin national team, Vugen Kasic, has signed a one-year contract with VFB. “Foen is a very experienced player that I have been following for a long time,” the coach said in a message from the club. “I want to do a professional job on and off the field […] I always do my best and pass it on to my teammates,” Kasic says of himself. That is why he is a “leading player” for Managing Director Thilo Speth-Westerholt who will “help us in many difficult situations”.
Home away games in Neu-Ulm
Curiosity is coming this season for the fans and the team. A journey of more than 100 kilometers to reach a home game. The German volleyball champions have to move to the Ratiopharm Arena in Neu-Ulm due to the lack of an auditorium in Friedrichshafen. The daily training routine will remain in Friedrichshafen, but there will be no match at the Lake Constance stadium.
“It is difficult for several reasons. On the one hand, we are far from our fans. We bring them to the arena with fan buses, but of course the Neu-Ulm is only a long way from Friedrichshafen. On the other hand, it is also better for the players before playing that you sleep in Your bed and not in the hotel, as on a long journey. It will of course be challenging to make this hall, which is new to us, our home ground”, says club spokesman Matthias Liephart.
However, Häfler is happy to have found the Neu-Ulmer Arena as a new living room. Matthias Liephart added: “The hall is of course great. Everyone was very satisfied in the first test match.”
On the other hand, fans fear the club’s alienation. And the Südkurier newspaper wrote in September that the “fan club” Häfler Monsterblock “has already expressed its dismay at the misery of the hall with killer candles and posters at a symbolic memorial in front of the neglected ZF Arena”. Managing Director Thilo Späth-Westerholt “has no interest in permanently leaving the Friedrichshafen site”.
A fresh start in the new season
Next season will be an option for a fresh start for Friedrichshafen. A new coach, a new lounge and new hope for the long-awaited championship title. Today, Wednesday (7:00 pm), the team can take the first step towards the play-off games against Lüneburg. Coach Marc Lepidio speaks clearly about the opening match of the Bundesliga season: “We have trained well and put in some good performances in the preparatory matches. So: we are ready!”
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