World Champs Preview – Pool A

12.06.2019 - Hamburg, Germany

We preview all 24 pools ahead of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships Hamburg 2019 presented by comdirect and ALDI Nord. Here’s what to expect from the men’s pools A, B and C.

Meet the teams

Anders Mol/Christian Sørum - Norway (1)
Team: Debut
Mol: Debut
Sørum: Debut

Pedro Solberg/Vitor Felipe – Brazil (22)

Team: Debut
Pedro: 17th (2007), 17th (2009), 5th (2011), 5th (2013), 3rd (2015), 9th (2017)
Vitor: 5th (2013), 5th (2015)

Jonathan Erdmann/Sven Winter – Germany (33)
Team: Debut
Erdmann: 33rd (2009), 9th (2011), 3rd (2013), 9th (2015)
Winter: Debut

Sergio Gonzalez/Luis Reyes – Cuba (38)
Team: Debut
Gonzalez: 9th (2015), 9th (2017)
Reyes: Debut

The lowdown

Anders Mol and Christian Sørum are the undisputed number one team in the world right now, but they will both make their World Championships debut in Hamburg. Will they be able to remain nearly unstoppable or will nerves play a factor? Brazilians Pedro Solberg and Vitor Felipe are still a new team, but they clearly have both the talent and the experience to make noise at any level. Germans Jonathan Erdmann - a last-mintue replacement for the injured Alex Walkenhorst - and Sven Winter will rely on the home crowd support to advance, while Cuban Sergio Gonzalez, now paired with Luis Reyes, has always meant trouble for higher-seeded opponents in the most important beach volleyball international events in recent years.

Game to watch

It’s hard to imagine the Beachvolley Vikings not taking the first place of the pool, but it’s also very clear that the other spots are all up for grabs. With that in mind, the matchup between Brazilians and Cubans could be pivotal to determine the final standings. And don’t forget that Pedro and Gonzalez have some history between them as they have crossed paths at both the 2015 World Championships and the Rio 2016 Olympics with one victory for each side. Sunday, June 30, at 5pm CET. Court 2.

Did you know?

Serial partner swapper Pedro Solberg is set to make his seventh appearance at the World Championships and he’ll do so with (surprise!) his seventh different partner. The Brazilian veteran debuted in the event in 2007 and has played in every subsequent edition, with, in order, Harley Marques, Pedro Cunha, Rhooney Ferramenta, Bruno Schmidt, Evandro Goncalves and Guto Carvalhaes. 

POOL B

Meet the teams

Grzegorz Fijalek/Michal Bryl - Poland (2)
Team: 17th (2017)
Fijalek: 5th (2011), 17th (2013), 17th (2015), 17th (2017)
Bryl: 17th (2017)

Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs – Latvia (24)

Team: Debut
Plavins: 37th (2007), 37th (2009), 4th (2011), 17th (2013), 17th (2015), 17th (2017)
Tocs: 17th (2017)

Philipp Arne Bergmann/Yannick Harms – Germany (30)
Team: Debut
Bergmann: Debut
Harms: Debut

Mohamed Abicha/Zouheir Elgraoui – Morocco (45)
Team: 37th (2017)
Abicha: 37th (2017)
Elgraoui: 37th (2017)

The lowdown

Grzegorz Fijalek and Michal Bryl have been a force in the World Tour recently and are probably playing the best volleyball of their careers. Will they manage to meet the expectations and dominate the pool? Plavins and Tocs have the potential to be a threat to the Polish as they have both experience and athleticism to match their opponents. Bergmann and Harms can also be dangerous, as they showed when they won a World Tour gold medal in 2018, and they will have the home crowd behind them. Abicha and Elgraoui are the dark horses here, but they’ve already been at the World Championships before and won’t have to deal with the anxiety of a debut.

Game to watch

The Polish and the Latvians are the clear favorites to win this pool and their matchup should determine which of them will come up on top and, in theory, have a more favorable draw in the elimination round. Fijalek and Bryl have won all three previous matches against Plavins and Tocs, but the score was always close. Tuesday, July 2 at 4pm CET. Court 3.

Did you know?

Fijalek and Bryl have played in four World Tour gold medal matches since July 2018, but they are yet to top the podium together. Each time they made it to the finals they were stopped by Norway’s Anders Mol and Christian Sørum.

POOL C

Meet the teams

Viacheslav Krasilnikov/Oleg Stoyanovskiy - Russia (3)
Team: Debut
Krasilnikov: 9th (2015), 3rd (2017)
Stoyanovskiy: 17th (2015), 17th (2017)

Clemens Doppler/Alexander Horst – Austria (21)
Team: 9th (2013), 17th (2015), 2nd (2017)
Doppler: 33rd (2001), 17th (2003), 25th (2005), 9th (2007), 17th (2009), 9th (2011), 9th (2013), 17th (2015), 2nd (2017)
Horst: 9th (2007), 9th (2009), 17th (2011), 9th (2013), 17th (2015), 2nd (2017)

Alex Ranghieri/Marco Caminati – Italy (34)
Team: Debut
Ranghieri: 17th (2017)
Caminati: Debut

Yusuke ‘Gottsu’ Ishijima/Yuya Ageba – Japan (41)
Team: Debut
Guttsu: Debut
Ageba: Debut

The lowdown

Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy found a quick chemistry for their new team after they joined forces last September and have already won multiple World Tour medals. The Russians will be aiming for a spot on the podium in Hamburg, as will Clemens Doppler and Alexander Horst, who are not short in experience, combining for 16 World Championship appearances among them. Alex Ranghieri has once been a beast at the net and is on his way to regaining his best form alongside Marco Caminati after going through knee surgery last year. Gottsu and Ageba are bringing Japan back to the World Championships one year before the country hosts the Olympics and will use the opportunity to get experience for Tokyo 2020.

Game to watch

The duel between Russians and Austrians is expected to be one of the most intriguing of the entire pool stage. It will be the first time the teams cross paths and while Krasilnikov and Stoyanovskiy are clearly one of the best teams in the world now, Doppler and Horst have proven on multiple occasions that they can do damage to anyone with their game. Monday, July 1, 5pm CET. Court 2.

Did you know?

Pool C reunites half of the medalists of the 2017 edition of the World Championships as Doppler and Horst secured a silver medal in Vienna while Krasilnikov partnered with Nikita Liamin to claim bronze at the Danube Island.