Germany opposite Louisa Lippmann warned her international team-mates they “must not become cocky” as they aim to reclaim their place among the world’s top 10 teams by excelling at the Volleyball Nations League.
Lippmann, who plays for Bisonte Volley Firenze in Italy’s Serie A1, said Felix Koslowski’s team have a good opportunity to improve on their world ranking of 15th when the 2019 VNL begins in Opole, Poland, on May 21.
Before then, Germany will take part in the Montreux Volley Masters, where they face China, Japan and Poland at the 34th edition of a tournament that serves as something of a warm-up for the VNL and the European Championship.
A call for focus
Lippmann helped Firenze to a seventh-placed finish in their domestic league this season and is one of Koslowski’s key players as Germany look to better their 11th-placed finish at the 2018 VNL, where she was her team’s most prolific point-maker.
Germany beat Brazil at both the VNL and the World Championship last year, leading to many backing them for great things this year, but the 2017 and 2018 German Volleyball Player of the Year urged her colleagues to remain focused on progressing their game rather than expecting glory.
“We must not become cocky; we have to take small steps,” the 24-year-old told FIVB.com.
“Our team has to keep playing and the VNL is exactly the right stage for that. It is the perfect stage to battle with the top 16 teams of the world.”
Germany play three home matches between June 11 and 13, taking on the Dominican Republic, Belgium and the Netherlands in Stuttgart.
Lippmann said the matches will provide an opportunity to give German volleyball a shot in the arm.
“For German volleyball this is a big chance to present the sport and make volleyball more popular,” she said.
“The German fans will get the chance to see some high-class volleyball without travelling to other countries.
“We should use this opportunity to show how unique our sport is.”
Team in flux
Koslowski was more modest about Germany’s chances, saying his side are going through a transitional phase.
Following the retirement of senior player Maren From after the 2018 World Championship, Koslowski said the Montreux Masters would be a valuable chance to redevelop his team.
“I’m looking forward to the season and we’re going to test new players who can move up and prove themselves to the national team,” said Koslowski.
“We are still in a state of flux,” continued the 35-year-old National Team head coach. “It will be our first summer without Maren Fromm.
“All the more I look forward to the Montreux Masters and the start of the Volleyball Nations League as well as the home game in Stuttgart, where every player can prove herself.”