2022 German champions Berlin Recycling Volleys (photo: Maximilian Franz)

Berlin Recycling Volleys completed a historic comeback in the German men’s Bundesliga championship series in front of over eight and a half thousand spectators at a sold-out Max-Schmeling-Halle on Saturday. Timothee Carle led the team to a 3-1 (25-20, 19-25, 25-23, 25-22) victory over VfB Friedrichshafen in the deciding match and to the club’s sixth consecutive and 12th overall national title. Berlin became the first-ever team to win the final playoff in the Bundesliga after losing the first two games of the series.

French international outside hitter Carle produced the match high of 20 points, including the winner. He scored three kill blocks and 17 hits at a 61% success rate in attack, to claim the MVP award of the match. Carle was also Berlin’s best scorer in Wednesday’s fourth game between the two teams, in which they claimed a 3-1 (24-26, 26-24, 26-24, 25-20) away victory to tie the series. He finished with 15 points, including two aces and 13 spikes. In match three on April 23, when the squad from the capital started their comeback with a 3-0 (25-23, 27-25, 25-17) shutout at home, Carle scored 11 points, second to his American teammate Benjamin Patch.

The US international opposite hammered out four aces towards a 19-point match tally and followed up with 12 points towards Berlin’s second win and nine towards the third. In both of the last two games, Patch was substituted for by Czechia’s 22-year-old former junior international Marek Sotola, who contributed 10 and 12 points, respectively.

Outside hitters Daniel Muniz de Oliveira of Brazil and Luciano Vicentin of Argentina were VfB’s leading scorers tallying 43 points each over the three matches.

Friedrichshafen, the most decorated team in the history of the Bundesliga with 13 trophies and winners of the national cup earlier this season, have played against Berlin in the last nine championship finals, but managed to win only one of them, back in 2015.

The bronze medals went to SWD powervolleys Dueren.

“This evening was a dream for us. To have played and won a fifth match like this against our archrivals in front of a sold-out arena with 8,500 spectators - more is simply not possible! I'm immensely proud of this team and how we all fought back from going down 2-0 in this final playoff series. It will take me a few days to come back to earth. Friedrichshafen were in top form in the season finale. They demanded everything from us, but luckily we made it in the end. The title stays in Berlin!” Cedric Enard, head coach of Berlin Recycling Volleys