Baku, June 15, AZERTAC
Germany coach Vital Heynen received a red card for his courtside behaviour as his team went down to a weakened Russia 3-1 on Sunday evening.
Heynen was incensed after he was denied the opportunity to challenge a point at the end of the third set, and voiced his frustration in forceful terms.
Having withdrawn from the FIVB World League, Germany brought their strongest team to Baku, but came up against a determined Russian side, and lost the first set 25-20. The world's number seven team then hit back in the second set as coach Sergei Shliapnikov's team lost momentum, with a Marcus Bohme spike winning the Germans the set 25-20.
The third set was another tight affair, but one that Russia came out on top of 25-23, despite Heynen's protestations, when he was shown a red card by referee Kari Partiainen. In keeping with the previous three sets, the fourth was close as both teams traded points, before Russia found some consistency to close another lengthy encounter 25-21.
Heynen was not overly critical of his team, but admitted that teams of Russia's caliber will punish you given the opportunity.
"If you play against good teams and give them some moments, it's sometimes hard to come back," Heynen explained. "The better team won today. We played okay, but it was a good Russian team."
In the final game of the night, Poland defeated France 3-2 in a see-sawing contest.
In the first set, Poland led 23-21 but after conceding consecutive points, went down 27-25. The Poles bounced back to win the next two sets 25-20 and lead 2-1 before losing focus and allowing France to cruise through the fourth set 25-10.
It was a big kill-block from Dawid Dryja that won Poland the deciding set 15-10 and brought a thrilling match to a close.