The former coach gushes about the Polish star. “Maggie Stysiak? She's a big girl”

The former coach gushes about the Polish star.  “Maggie Stysiak?  She's a big girl"

Magdalena Stysiak played in Italy for years. He will soon face his former club in the semi-finals of the Champions League. Marco Gaspari, coach of Vero Volley Milano, recalls cooperation with the Polish attacker.

There are no more Polish clubs in this year's Champions League. The last of them, ŁKS Commercecon Łódź, said goodbye to the prestigious competition after a two-legged defeat against Vero Volley Milano. For the Polish champions, advancing to the top eight was already a great success. The clash with the leading Italian club was a severe test, but also a lesson for the future.

Marco Gaspari gushes over Magdalena Stysiak

Paola Egonu, Alessia Orro, Brenda Castillo and Miriam Sylla – these are just some of the stars of Marco Gaspari's team. For the next season, the Italian is building a team that will threaten the hegemony of Imoco Conegliano (including Joanna Wołosz). In Serie A, they are still fighting for second place in the table before the play-offs. In turn, they reached the best four in the Champions League. In the semi-final they will face Fenerbahce Istanbul. The club's colors are represented by Magdalena Stysiak, who previously represented the team from Milan before her transfer to Turkey.

– I worked with Magda for two great years. I can say we had a great relationship. We will meet again soon, because we will play against her Fenerbahce. It will be nice to see her, although… maybe not entirely, because now she will be standing on the other side of the net. She is a great player, extremely effective. Playing against her won't be easy. Even though we will be rivals during the match, we will hug each other tightly after the match. She's a big girl, so she'll need a big hug (laughter), Vero Volley coach Marco Gaspari told “Wprost”.

A clash of two Italian friends

The match between the teams from Milan and Łódź was also a clash of old friends. Alessandro Chiappini and Marco Gaspari faced each other for the first time two decades ago. At that time it was the third level of the competition. After 20 years, they faced each other in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Gaspari spoke in kind words about his older colleague. He wished him good luck in Poland and at the same time… apologized for winning.

– It was a nice feeling to face Alessandro. I have known him for 20 years, if not more. Years ago, he led the club with the third team from Marsciano. In turn, I took my first steps in my hometown of Ancona. We were already facing each other then. It's really amazing that after so many years we meet again, this time on a completely different level – said the manager of the Serie A runner-up.

– Alessandro is a great manager. In virtually every club he achieved results commensurate with his abilities. I can apologize for beating your Italian, but understand… that's our job (laughter). In fact, wherever you look, you will find a coach from our country. You have Stefano Lavarini and Marco Fenoglio in Poland, so you know what I mean. Alessandro, I wish you all the best. I hope that he will achieve another success with the club this season – the younger Italian wished him luck.

Fight for the Serie A championship

Vero Volley Milano is fighting hard to maintain second place before the end of the regular phase. The position will mean playing against the seventh-placed Serie A team in the quarter-finals and possibly facing the third- or sixth-placed team in the semi-finals. Nobody from Milano, Scandicci or Novara wants to finish in fourth place, because it means fighting with the unpredictable Chieri in the quarterfinals and (most likely) competing with Conegliano already in the semifinals.

– I'm certainly concerned about the calendar. We play every three days, and the schedule does not announce any changes. If we win quickly in the Serie A quarterfinals, we will have a full week to prepare for the next match. If not, we will play with this demanding rhythm until the end of the season. I have to react to this by rotating the squad. During the match against Pinerolo, I changed the main volleyball players because it is impossible for them to play everything all the time, said Gaspari.

– We still pay a lot of attention to physical preparation. In fact, the climax of the season is yet to come. Of course, resting during the season carries the risk of failure and loss of points, but on the other hand we are fighting for second place with Scandicci and Novara. All three of them won't spare everyone at once. Serie A is very demanding this year, added the coach born in 1982.

Three Polish women in the Champions League semi-finals

Magdalena Stysiak will face her former club on March 12 and 19. The second pair of Champions League semi-finals consists of Imoco Conegliano (Joanna Wołosz) and Eczacibasi Stambuł (Martyna Czyrniańska, Przemysław Kawka and Łukasz Filipecki).

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