Courtesy of Beach Volleyball Major Series Media Service Team
Packed Red Bull Beach Arena treated to spectacular home triumph
Clemens Wickler and Julius Thole’s Hamburg Finals adventure will continue on Saturday following the German youngsters’ unbelievable quarterfinal victory over Edgars Tocs and former Olympic bronze medalist Martins Plavins.
A packed Red Bull Beach Arena was rocking to the noise of the home fans following the epic three-set thriller that saw Clemens and Julius book themselves a semifinal against Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sørum – a team they have already beaten this season.
The local heroes won the first set only to be pegged back in the second, but there was no denying Wickler/Thole, who are just 23 and 21 years-old respectively, in the decider.
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” said Hamburg native Julius. “The Latvians played so well, Plavins is a great defender but I think Clemens showed he’s excellent, too. It was a great game, we showed the chemistry of our team was there. We knew we would get our chance if we kept calm and it worked. All our hard work pays off with this win.”
Clemens added: “We didn’t expect to get this far… I don’t know what to say, we gave it everything and the crowd played their part. The noise was unbelievable and they pushed us on. When you get in that flow and the crowd are with you it’s great.
“Every team which is here is because they are the top seeded in the world, so we knew we would play against some very high level players, but we have had a bit of luck and crowd on our side. Our coaches has given us some good tactics and I hope he’s able to come up with something again on Saturday.”
The Germans have met their semifinal opponents twice before and were, until earlier today, the last team to beat Anders and Christian following their win in Espinho.
But Clemens knows they face a big task against the current world number ones on the Red Bull Beach Arena sand on Saturday afternoon.
“We have played twice and lost once and won once,” added the defender, who was springing around the court like superman in the win over the Latvians. “Hopefully we can fight hard again and maybe win this one.
“Our coaches watch every game and we know how Anders and Christian play but they are probably the best team in the world at the moment. It won’t be easy but with crowd with us anything can happen.”
The semifinal line-up is now complete. At 2.15pm CEST, the Germans meet the Gstaad and Vienna Major champions, while in the second semifinal it’s an all-Polish affair as Kantor/Losiak take on Fijalek/Bryl at 3.30pm CEST.