15.07.2021 - Vienna, Austria
The 64 beach volleyball teams that will compete in the A1 CEV EuroBeachVolley presented by Swatch, from August 11-15, in Vienna, now know how their paths to continental glory will start as the tournament’s drawing of lots was completed on Thursday in the Austrian capital’s town hall.
The draw was conducted by popular sports journalist Karoline Rath-Zobernig and oversaw by CEV supervisor Oguz Degirmenci, who were joined at the stage by some of Austrian top players, including two-time European champion Clemens Doppler and his partner Alexander Horst, Rio 2016 Olympian Robin Seidl and the country’s women’s top team of Katharina Schützenhöfer and Lena Plesiutschnig.
“I’d like to thank the city of Vienna and the Austrian government for being able to host the European Championships this year,” said ACTS CEO and Founder Hannes Jagerhofer. “Organizing an event of this magnitude in the uncertain conditions we had until not long ago was a real challenge and our team couldn’t have done it without their support and also from our sponsors, who once again trusted us to do something special. We’re building a really nice venue in downtown Vienna and I can promise it will look spectacular.”
The 32 teams in each gender were allocated in eight different pools and the first stage of the tournament will feature a Modified-Pool-Play-Format. Pool winners will advance directly to the Round of 16 while the teams that finish second and third in each of the eight groups will have to play an extra elimination match before it.
Reigning European champions Joana Heidrich and Anouk Vergé-Dépré of Switzerland head Pool A as the top-seeded women’s team in the event and will compete with the Netherlands’ Marleen van Iersel/Pleun Ypma and the Finnish teams of Riikka Lehtonen/Niina Ahtiainen and Taru Lahti-Liukkonen/Anniina Parkkinen.
The home team of Plesiutschnig and Schützenhöfer heads Pool H and will play against Spain’s Liliana Fernández/Elsa Baquerizo, Russia’s Ksenia Dabizha/Daria Rudykh and Czech Republic’s Michala Kvapilová/Michaela Kubicková.
“We have a nice pool, but there are no easy groups in this tournament,” Schützenhöfer said. “We’ll prepare well and will try to play our best. We’re really happy to be back in Vienna after two years. We consider ourselves a good team but we typically perform better in front of our home fans and we can’t wait to do it again.”
Three-time defending champions Anders Mol and Christian Sørum of Norway took the top spot among the men and will face Switzerland’s Adrian Heidrich/Mirco Gerson, Austria’s Robin Seidl/Philipp Waller and France’s Quincy Aye/Arnaud Gauthier-Rat on Pool A.
Austrian veterans Doppler and Horst were placed on Pool B and will compete against Czech Republic’s Ondrej Perusic/David Schweiner, Switzerland’s Marco Krattiger/Florian Breer and Latvia’s Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs.
“Our pool could be better but it could be worse too,” Horst reflected. “We normally have a hard time against the Czechs, we have played them quite a few times already and I’m not sure if we’ve ever won. The Swiss are good too and Plavins has been competing for several years just like us so it will be interesting to face him once again.”
The home team of Martin Ermarcora and Moritz Pristauz heads Pool H and will meet Russia’s Konstantin Semenov/Ilya Leshukov, Belarus’ Aliaksandr Dziadkou/Pavel Piatrushka and Belgium’s Dries Koekelkoren/Tom van Walle.
The 2021 EuroBeachVolley will happen right after the Tokyo Olympics and all of the 48 players who will shortly represent the continent in Japan will head straight to Austrian capital to play on it. Besides them, 12 other Olympians will also fight for the European crown next month.
The complete match schedule is expected to be released over the next weeks.