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    ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle: Historic Victory in Polish Volleyball Champions League Final

    The ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle team emerged victorious in the Polish final of the Volleyball Champions League, creating a monumental moment in Polish sports history. The match, held in Turin, carried tremendous emotional weight, capturing the attention not only of ardent volleyball fans but also the wider public. It was an unprecedented event for both teams from the Polish PlusLiga to meet in the decisive clash on the court.

    Despite the absence of Italian teams, which had a negative impact on the atmosphere in the stands, and the proposal by the Polish Volleyball Federation to relocate the event to Poland, the final evening of the 2022/23 Champions League was exceptional. Turin lived up to expectations, and the Italians showcased their unwavering love for volleyball, regardless of their own clubs’ success.

    The female final saw the stands nearly filled to capacity, including a significant presence of fans from Jastrzębski Węgiel and ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle. However, there was a bitter note caused by the CEV’s decision. The federation caused disappointment among the Polish fans by forbidding official fan groups from entering the venue with flags and banners. These symbols, known as “sektorówki,” are a constant presence in the home arenas of both Kędzierzyn-Koźle and Jastrzębski Węgiel, and special commemorative versions were prepared for this important day of the season. Ultimately, they remained in cars, although some may have managed to smuggle them inside.

    Nevertheless, even without these iconic symbols, the Pala Alpitour was filled with a deafening roar. As the clash of giants unfolded, the supporters of ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle grew louder, their eruption coming only after the fifth set. They demonstrated remarkable patience and eventually achieved their goal. Kędzierzyn-Koźle secured the hat-trick in Europe, becoming the fourth Polish club in history to reach the pinnacle of European volleyball. ZAKSA claimed victory in the last two editions, while Płomień Milowice triumphed in the 1977/78 season. However, the circumstances were vastly different back then.

    In recognition of their achievement, the CEV awarded the Champions League winners a prize of €500,000 to be shared among the team. The silver medalists received half of that amount. By comparison, the winner of the UEFA Champions League in football earns €20 million. Among the spectators in Turin was the coach of the Polish national team, Nikola Grbić. On June 5, the players selected from the finalist clubs should join the national team camp. However, they are unlikely to be considered for the lineup in the first Volleyball Nations League tournament.

    In conclusion, the Polish victory in the Volleyball Champions League final marked a historic moment for the country’s sports landscape. The thrilling atmosphere in Turin, despite the absence of Italian teams, showcased the passion and dedication of Polish volleyball fans. ZAKSA Kędzierzyn-Koźle’s triumph added another chapter to their remarkable European success, further solidifying Poland’s position as a force to be reckoned with in international volleyball.

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