Zenit-Kazan – Belogorye: forecast and rate of Timur Khabibullin

As part of the tenth round, Zenit Kazan will host the ambitious team of Boris Kolchin – Belogorye.

Zenit-Kazan, after nine rounds of the Russian Super League, is in 2nd place in the standings, having won 8 out of 9 matches. In the last matches, Alexey Verbov’s wards successfully overcame the 1/16 finals of the CEV Cup, beating the Austrian “Zadruga” by the results of two-round confrontations with the same score 3: 0. It is worth noting how the team adds from match to match due to the coordinated actions of the players, and one of the main creators is the American tie-in Mike Christenson, who joined the Kazan team with his impeccable interactions with the forwards, even the central ones are trying to connect effectively, evenly distributing the load between the attackers. It seems to me that in this roster, as such, there are no weaknesses, each of the players complements each other on the court.

“Belogorye” after nine rounds takes 8th place with four victories in the asset. If we compare the last and the current season, then the work of the selection service in this off-season is definitely noticeable. We were able to collect some of the experienced players of the Russian Super League: setter Dmitry Kovalev, central blocker Igor Filippov, Serbian sideplayer Nemanja Petrich and libero Roman Bragin, who became the team captain. It is impossible not to note the main strengthening of the team in the person of the Moroccan diagonal Mohammed al Khachdadi, who so shock fit into the game model of Boris Kolchin, currently occupying the second place in the list of the most productive players in the championship. In addition, this season we have already played three matches with the leaders, where they lost in a stubborn struggle to Kemerovo Kuzbass, Moscow Dynamo and St. Petersburg Zenit with the same score 2: 3. This team has the potential, and under the guidance of the experienced head coach Boris Kolchin, the results should come. In the last match against Dynamo-LO, the main setter Dmitry Kovalev was absent, he was replaced by young Evgeny Zhogov, who presented his entire arsenal of his capabilities, but did not have the experience of playing at this level, thus Belogorye unexpectedly suffered a home defeat with a score of 1 : 3.
In today’s meeting, Dmitry Kovalev will be in the cage, which gives additional confidence in the positive handicap.

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The history of personal meetings proves to us: no matter in whatever line-ups both teams play, in most cases the matches between these teams develop quite stubbornly, where the winner can be determined in three or four games. With its renewed line-up, Belogorye has already shown how it can play against the championship leaders this season, and under such circumstances, a positive handicap on the guests looks the best option. I understand that the match will most likely end in three games in favor of Zenit Kazan, as Alexey Verbov’s charges show an overly stable game, and Belogorye with this line-up are capable of at least keeping the score difference in each of the games.

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