SC Potsdam before the start of the Champions League: Serving up the premier class

SC Potsdam before the start of the Champions League

Serve for the premier class

Potsdam's Antonia Stautz serving (Source: imago images/Norina Toenges)

imago images/Norina Toenges

Audio: rbb24 Inforadio | November 7, 2023 | SC Potsdam managing director Eugen Benzel | Bild: imago images/Norina Toenges

SC Potsdam starts the Champions League season with an away game in Poland on Tuesday. Who the opponents are, what the chances of progressing are and why participation could also be financially worthwhile.

Who are the opponents?

In its second Champions League season, SC Potsdam caught a very demanding group. The first game on Tuesday (6 p.m.) is against the Polish first division team Grot Budowlani Lodz. This could be the perfect opening opponent for the Brandenburgers because: “We have been here before and were very successful,” says managing director Eugen Benzel.

Both teams met in preparation, SC Potsdam won 3-1. “We were perhaps a little further along in development, so it can’t be rated too highly. But the girls know the conditions, the hall. It’s nothing new for anyone, that’s maybe a small advantage,” hopes Benzel.

The game plan

Tuesday, November 7th, 2023, 6 p.m

Grot Budowlani Lodz – SC Potsdam

Tuesday, November 14th, 2023, 7 p.m

SC Potsdam – Fenerbahce Istanbul

Thursday, November 30, 2023, 6 p.m

Calcite Stone – SC Potsdam

Wednesday, December 6th, 2023, 5 p.m

Fenerbahce Istanbul – SC Potsdam

Wednesday, January 10, 2024, 8:30 p.m

SC Potsdam – Grot Budowlani Lodz

Tuesday, January 16, 2023, 7 p.m

SC Potsdam – Calcite Stone

Probably the most difficult opponent in Group C is Fenerbahce Istanbul. “They are of course the clear favorites,” says Benzel about the Turks, who won the competition in 2012 and made it to the semi-finals in each of the last two years. The first home game, which has been sold out for weeks, is against Istanbul next week. Benzel expects a spectacle “and I think that’s what the girls will soak up. The fact that they even get the chance to play against such a top team.”

Benzel also had to ask about the third opponent in the group. “Of course I know a lot of international teams from the last few years, but Calcite Stone “I didn’t even know it,” he admits. The club is the Slovenian series champion, but, according to Potsdam’s coach Riccardo Boieri, the Slovenian league is not as highly regarded as the Bundesliga. But the Potsdam team still warns about one thing: “The most dangerous thing would be to underestimate the opponent.”

What is the goal and what are the chances?

“My personal goal is that we survive the group phase of the Champions League,” says the Potsdam managing director. “That would be a big dream and also the next, really big step.” To do this, the Potsdam women would have to finish at least second and would then either play in a playoff against other runners-up for a place in the quarter-finals or even reach it directly as the best runner-up.

A very ambitious project, but one that doesn’t seem impossible. Benzel is sure that first place in the group belongs to Istanbul. “If you look at the group as a whole, I would consider Kamnik as the fourth-placed player,” he continues. So it should come down to a duel with Lodz for second place. “That’s why this first game has a very important meaning,” he explains.

How did the premier class premiere go last season?

What does participation mean for the club?

Participation in the Champions League is for SC Potsdam enormously important on several levels. On the one hand, it is a “good reputation for the city” and of course also for the club. “It’s of course an even more important thing for the country. For example, the Turkish consul and the ambassador are coming against Istanbul. It’s not just a volleyball game, but also a sign of German-Turkish friendship in which politics also plays a role,” explains Benzel.

But taking part in the highest European competition is also financially interesting – now, it has to be said. While the clubs previously had to pay the TV production costs themselves (according to Benzel, around 12,000 euros per game), there are now lucrative bonuses for the clubs, comparable to the Champions League in football. The club receives 5,000 euros for a defeat and twice as much for a win. Added to this is the income from home games. According to Benzel, in a sold-out hall like against Istanbul, they are in the five-figure range and therefore “around three times as much as in a Bundesliga game”. Of course, the clubs also have costs: they have to pay an entry fee of 25,000 euros to the association; an away trip costs around 10,000 euros, according to Benzel. But: “If you go far, you might be able to come out with a plus at the end of a Champions League participation, which would help us to compete in the season.”

How does the team cope with the triple burden?

But how far will the Potsdam women get? After all, like last season, they have to cope with the triple burden of the Bundesliga, the Cup and the Champions League. “The way we started the season shows me that we have an even more homogeneous team than last year. That can of course help us a lot with the triple burden,” Benzel is optimistic. Of course, the Brandenburg women want to be spared from bad luck with injuries. And it is important that all players get their playing time so that the load is well controlled. “That’s why you need a broad squad and we have that this year. That’s why I’m very happy with how we’ve put the team together and think we can achieve a lot.”

Broadcast: rbb24, November 6th, 2023, 9:45 p.m

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