Takeoff or departure

waited! Spring and playoffs are almost synonymous, who have not met together in the Super League for a long time. The last playoff was played, it seems, in 2019, when "Kuzbass" sensationally defeated Kazan "Zenith" in the final. The next year, the knockout games were stopped by the pandemic, and just now - hello again!

Let's start with the qualifying round, truncated version 1/8 finale, in which eight teams will compete for four tickets to the quarterfinals. so, rub our palms, figuring out the chances.

The fifth and twelfth teams of the regular season meet and the favorite is obvious here. But the playoffs are good, anything can happen. for example, back in 2012, the team of the novice coach Plamen Konstantinov from Surgut beat Belogorye in 1/8 finale, sending future Olympic champions to the play-out.

I would like to see a repeat of that scenario for obvious reasons., but objectively, Belgorod residents today are noticeably better equipped, than Gazprom-Ugra, and experience, respectively, much less gaming problems. A series of seven victories at the end of the season is impressive, especially considering, that all this time the head coach of Belogorye Boris Kolchin was absent due to illness.

The strengths of Belgorod residents are well known: powerful Al-Khachdadi, universal Tetyukhin, creative Poroshin, sky-high Zabolotnikov, reliable Bragin. Throughout the season, the "Achilles heel" of the team was the position of the second player, but even here Ruslan Galimov gradually showed and proved his usefulness.

I will not make a prediction on the outcome of this series, because I can’t separate the cold analyst in myself from the hot fan of Gazprom-Ugra.

Kemerovo beat Nizhny Novgorod twice in the regular season, last time - in the 30th round, the other day, dry. It seems that the position of the teams, and personal meetings clearly indicate the favorite. But here's the thing: ASK - a pronounced cup fighter. Or a warrior? Still, the "Association of sports clubs". In any way, this team is able to tune in and grab almost any opponent at close range..

Kuzbass, on the other hand, is experiencing a certain identity crisis. Relatively recently - champion, dragged around the player by "better" teams, in their attempts at reincarnation (deserving, certainly, all respect) still backtracked a bit.

However, this is criticism in Hamburg, championship score. In ASK, everything comes from the opposite: fell out from the very beginning of the championship Egor Sidenko – Denis Antonov opened up diagonally first, then Pavel Zheleznyakov. Injuries of the finishers alternately brought Titic to the fore, then Pyatyrkin, then kitchen. With the return of Sidenko, a good rotation appeared on the edges of the grid. At all, "rotation" is a good word to describe a team, it is generally similar to a rotary motor, economical, but powerful. The weak point of rotary engines is durability, rather, her absence. At a long distance, Kuzbass is noticeably stronger. In two fights everything will be much more interesting.

Unpredictable series «Eniseum». Everything is more or less clear with Dynamo-LO: lovely pair of left-handed diagonals, great couple in play, work center. It's more difficult with Krasnoyarsk. They "swam" during the season, then sharply emerging, then plunging into some abysses. Honestly: I do not know, what Enisey is capable of in the playoffs. There's a lot depends on the mood., and this thing is psychologically thin - you can burn out. Sosnovobortsy are more seasoned, but there is Alexander Yanutov in Yenisei, able to keep the team for ... a subtle state of mind. We will see. In my opinion, the most unpredictable couple.

Though, of course, the most juice will be in this pair. Ufa in the last match denied the thesis that, that games with tops are practically not given to them, and "Torch" is only stomping to the heights. Plus "Torch" – physical talent, minus - youth, which must be balanced by Grankin with the seemingly recovered Sivozhelez. If Ural does not have Potaluk, we will not see his confrontation with Babkevich, and here a lot will depend on Rybakov. Diagonal can produce excellent matches, or maybe knock on the block - and who then to the barricades? It's just one question, and there are many. I'm also interested, how Anton Malyshev will cope with pressure, who grew up as a coach in Surgut. How much has grown - that's another question.

The special flavor of this series comes from the motivation of the rivals.: perhaps, only in this pair, failure to reach the quarterfinals will be regarded as a failure and failure to complete seasonal tasks. "Ural" assembled the lineup for the top eight, "Torch" historically there. It’s a little easier for Novy Urengoy players - they spent almost the entire season without the main diagonal, engaged in youth growth, who has everything ahead. Ufa residents need to justify current investments. hope, there will be a beautiful massacre.

Vanga dressed up and broadcasts:

"Belogorye" – "Gazprom-Yugra" without a forecast

ASK - "Kuzbass" 3:2 1:3

Yenisei – "Dinamo-LO" 1:3 1:3

"Torch" – "Ural" 3:1 1:3 -/+ in the golden set