Zvezda's key to winning the titleArticle
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Which were the decisive moments in this women’s finals? Why Zvezda won the title. Read the analysis of Björn Pazen.

Zvezda's key to winning the title

Both Champions League titles this season - men’s and women’s - were won by the team playing the second leg away. After Ciudad Real have beaten Kiel on home court, now Zvezda Zvenigorod also won in Austria against Hypo. Which were the decisive moments in this women’s finals? Why Zvezda won the title. Read the analysis of Björn Pazen.


Zvezda won with better attacking game / Photo by Leo HagenThere were 4,000 spectators in the hall, giving their support and preparing to celebrate afterwards. It was a great public for a final – but maybe they put some extra pressure on Hypo. For the Zvezda players – most of them played several finals of World and European championships – it was no problem to play “against” such crowd with their enormous international experience. They kept cool. Words of acknowledgement to the spectators: unlike it happened elsewhere before, they watched Zvezda lifting the trophy in the spirit of fair play.


Hypo had to win by two goals after losing the first leg 24:25. So the tactics was not to take too much risk. After a bad start Hypo returned into the game and had the chance to go ahead by more than two goals, but then the Russian defence grew very strong.

Looking at both finals, Hypo probably lost the title already in Russia when they were leading by five goals but they gave it away.

The tactics of Zvezda was business as usual: strong defence, shots from nine metres – something that they’ve been practicing for several years.


Ony Do Nascimento was dangerous from the wings / Photo by Leo HagenHypo didn’t take advantage from this position: Sabine Englert played an outstanding match with 16 saves, which gave a motivation to the team.

On the other side, the Zvezda goalkeepers were by far not so effective, though Trefilov changed them very often. Their save percentage was very low.


Zvezda are known for their great middle block with tall players such as Romenskaya and Polenova. Besides them they have tough defence specialists such as Shipilova or Andryushina – a real Russian wall. But sometimes they played too hard and Zvezda received many suspensions.

Hypo couldn’t take advantage of this either. The Hypo defence on the other hand could not stop the strong Zvezda’s back court players. Only the pivot position was nearly defended well.


Zvezda won the finals in attack. Trefilov had many options, but all the tactics were based on back court players and a better defence may have stopped the Zvezda express.

Polenova and Saidova with the cup / Photo by Leo HagenIn the first half the spectators have seen the 15 minutes of Irina Poltoratskaya, the best Zvezda scorer with ten goals. After the break Ekaterina Andryushina was unstoppable and also Anna Kareeva and Elena Polenova scored decisive goals.

In Hypo too much responsibility was put on the shoulders of playmaker Oh. She tried everything and her goals and assists were spectacular, but in the end it wasn’t enough. In the whole CL season the strength of Hypo were their counter attacks with first and second waves. However, in the decisive final match the second wave never arrived for the counter attacks. On the wings only Nascimento could score.

As Zvezda changed two players from attack to defence, it could have been a great chance for the fast Hypo players to break the ice and win the title. But they didn’t take the opportunity very often.

TEXT: Björn Pazen