One top-ranked German team remains intact for 2019

Hamburg, Germany, February 19, 2019 - While attention on women's beach volleyball in Germany has focused on the retirement of Kira Walkenhorst that resulted in the formation of three new partnerships, the pairing of Victoria Bieneck and Isabel Schneider has remained intact entering the 2019 portion of the 2018-2019 FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour calendar.

"For sure many changes were happening in Germany," said the 27-year old Bieneck, who is starting her eighth full season on the FIVB World Tour.  "We will keep the focus on us and our team. The future will show the rest."

The Bieneck/Schneider partnership started two years ago in the United States and has continued for 19 FIVB World Tour events with the German pair currently ranked 11th on the international ranking and 10th if you eliminate the disbanded German pairing Chantal Laboureur/Julia Sude.

"Victoria and I shared a great experience winning the under-23 FIVB World Championships in 2013," said the 27-year Schneider, who is starting her seventh international season. "When there were some changes in team constellations and in the federation after the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, we decided also for a change and teamed up to go the way to Tokyo 2020 together."

At the 2013 U23 Worlds in Myslowice, Poland, Bieneck and Schneider captured the gold medal by winning seven-straight matches and defeating Brazilians Eduarda "Duda" Lisboa/Thais Ferreira 2-1 (19-21, 21-12, 15-13) in the 42-minute finale.

Isabel Schneider (left) and Victoria Bieneck after winning the U23 world title

After that Myslowice world finals for players under the age of 23, Bieneck teamed for three more FIVB World Tour campaigns with Julia Grossner while Schneider continued playing with Teresa Mersmann before forming their partnership for their first event together in February 2017.

Since then, Bieneck and Schneider have earned one FIVB medal with a third-place finisher in China at Xiamen in their second international start together after placing 25th in their World Tour debut at Fort Lauderdale.

Bieneck and Schneider have competed in four final fours and five quarterfinal appearances with 15 top nine placements and a 45-40 match record together. In their final 2018 event, Bieneck and Schneider placed ninth at the FIVB World Tour Finals in Hamburg where the Germans dropped matches to the world's second-, third-, fourth- and seventh-ranked teams.

In their final Hamburg match in pool play, eventual 2018 FIVB World Tour Finals winners Agatha Bednarczuk/Duda of Brazil defeated the German pair 2-1 (19-21, 21-17, 17-15) in 51 minutes. Barbora Hermannova/Marketa Slukova of the Czech Republic, who placed second in the 2018 World Tour Finals, also defeated Bieneck and Schneider in three sets 2-1 (20-22, 21-13, 15-12).

Isabel Schneider (left) and Victoria Bieneck at the 2018 FIVB World Tour Finals in Hamburg.

Before making their first appearance on the FIVB World Tour next month in Australia on Sydney's Manly Beach March 6-10, Schneider said her team has been training "in Hamburg and the training facilities are great.  We have spent most of the preparation there. At the end of December, we flew to Tenerife for a few days and after a short time at home, we went to a cool training camp in Cape Town."

As for training, Schneider said she and Bieneck are "always working very hard on our physique and technique. There is not just one area, we are working on the foundation and making our game more consistent in every phase."

For Bieneck, it was her team's move to Hamburg in January 2017 to start working with coach Imornefe Bowes that ignited the partnership.  "It was our daily hard work which laid the base for our consistent performance last year," said Bieneck. "Having the opportunity to play the World Tour on this high level gave us a lot of strength and we developed as a team even more."

German glee on the FIVB World Tour for Victoria Bieneck (left) and Isabel Schneider

Schneider added that she is "convinced that in the past months, full of hard work and a lot of training, we have brought us some steps further.  Now we look forward to a first challenge in Sydney, followed by another training block."

With both players making their first "serious" bid for an Olympic berth, Bieneck and Schneider are looking forward to the 2019 FIVB World Championships in Hamburg from June 28 through July 7 at Rothenbaum Stadium.

"The World Championships in Hamburg on home ground is definitely something very special and is a season highlight," said Bieneck.  "Besides our other season goals, we will focus and prepare for the World Champs as part of our road to Tokyo."

Schneider added that she is "looking forward to the World Championships.  It has a special role in the season planning.  There is a high focus on this tournament, but all other competitions are important on our way starting in Sydney next month."

Since the creation of new partnerships of Laura Ludwig/Maggie Kozuch, Karla Borger/Sude and Laboureur/Sandra Ittlinger has created much of the German Beach Volleyball news, Bieneck and Schneider's partnership has been "flying under the radar".

For Bieneck and Schneider, "flying under the radar" is okay.  "For us, we need to focus on us and our idea to improve our game," Bieneck added as the German quest for another Olympic medal at the quadrennial looks to be in good hands with the country's four women's teams.


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