06.07.2019 - Hamburg
Get ready. Get ready for it.
The blocks. So many blocks. So many that even Clemens Wickler got in on the party. We’ll check the stats in a second.
At 6.30pm CEST the Red Bull Beach Arena will be the place to be. A meeting between the World Championships’ two most impressive, most-watchable teams. Wickler and Julius Thole against Anders Mol and Christian Sørum. For a place in the final of the World Championships.
It’s hard to believe that both of these teams are playing in their first World Championships. It’s hard to believe that the oldest player among the quartet, Wickler, is just 24. The future is now.
Phil Dalhausser is 39. He admitted he’s going to retire after next year’s Olympics after he and Nick Lucena were defeated by Julius and Clemens meant they exit Hamburg with a fifth place.
But the Thin Beast, voted seven-times the world’s best blocker, knows when he leaves the sand for good the sport is in a good hands with these two talented tandems.
“It’s amazing how good these young players are – not just the blockers, the defenders, too,” admitted the 2007 world champion. “It’s pretty incredible they’re all under 25. These teams are the future of beach volleyball.”
The semi-final promises to be one of the most exciting matches in recent beach history. The next generation.
So, the statistics. Blocks? Mol 38. Thole 38. Something has got to give and it’s going to be fun watching it unfold. In front of what will be the biggest crowd in beach volleyball history.
“The Norwegians are the team to beat,” said Clemens after their straight sets win over the Americans. “In Anders they have the best blocker in the world right now.”
Thole dreamt of being a beach volleyball player. Dalhausser was his idol. Just like Anders. Having beaten Phil, Julius is eyeing his next victim: his fellow rising star, for a place in their biggest match of their careers to date.
“It was a great feeling to beat Phil and Nick – especially in a quarter-final at a home world championship,” said Thole. “I’m still surprised to be honest. Phil showed over 15 years why he is the best blocker.
“Anders and Christian are playing well. We will have the crowd on our side.”
The Germans will indeed have a capacity Red Bull Beach Arena behind them come 6.30 tonight – but will it be enough to beat the Vikings? It didn’t work last year in the World Tour Finals semi-finals.
But this means more. Something’s got to give. And when the ball rises high above the net, sparks will fly. What a game this is going to be. Don’t miss it.