English champions IBB Polonia London are in for a huge test on their second campaign in Europe’s Volleyball Champions League as they come up against former winners Trentino in their opening match.
IBB Polonia have been drawn in Pool F of Round 1, meaning they will face the Italian giants Trentino as well as Serbian champions OK Vojvodina.
The matches will be played in Trento, Italy, at the end of September. The Londoners will come up against Trentino on 29th September and OK Vojvodina on 30th September.
In total, 18 teams have been split into six different pools for Round 1 of the Champions League, which is organised by the CEV. The winner of each pool then proceeds to Round 2.
To boost their ranks and build on their Champions League debut in 2019, the club are looking to make some superstar signings. The first to be announced is Marcus Nilsson, a 37-year-old opposite who has a wealth of experience at the top level of professional volleyball. He picked up a Champions League medal in 2013 with Russian side Lokomotiv Novosibirsk and was picked as the competition’s MVP in 2009 and 2013.
Bartek Luszcz, Chairman of IBB Polonia, said: “The next volleyball superstar is joining us. Marcus will be an incredible asset to the team as we approach the new season. In September we encounter Trentino, who are multiple times Italian Champions, the winners of the Champions League and Club World Champions. We also play the current champions of Serbia – Vojvodina Novi Sad. This is a massive challenge for us, but an equally massive opportunity to promote the club as well as English volleyball. Having such a gem as Marcus in our team, I believe that we will play a good game in the Italian arena and we will show that we are a team with ambitions and aspirations for the future.”
Marcus Nilsson added: “I am thrilled and looking forward to the upcoming season which I will spend in London with IBB Polonia. I will bring all my experience and try to help the team in the Champions League. I am also optimistic that I will increase the awareness of the sport in the UK, increasing the passion of British sports fans towards the sport. We will also aim to attract prestigious events to the capital where everyone will be able to watch the highest level of sport live once again.”
In recent years IBB Polonia has signed other volleyball superstars. The most recent was Brazilian legend Giba, who won a gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, silver at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics and played for IBB Polonia between 2018 and 2019.
More signings are set to be announced in the run up to the team’s Champions League fixtures.
IBB Polonia made their Champions League debut in 2019 against Croatian champions Mladost Zagreb. In the away match they had a tough introduction to the competition, losing out to straight sets (25-11, 25-17, 25-14).
For the home leg (pictured), the club put on a real spectacle with 1,000 fans cheering them on at the iconic Copper Box Arena. Unfortunately, there was no fairytale comeback for the first Volleyball Champions League match to take place on English soil. IBB Polonia once more lost out to straight sets (25-9, 25-12, 25-22).