2017-03-07 13:52:00 CEST

Tuesday Talent: German guys on the up

We focus on Germany’s Böckermann/Flüggen

Markus and Lars celebrate during their home tournament at the smart Major Hamburg last year.Markus and Lars celebrate during their home tournament at the smart Major Hamburg last year.

It’s a golden era for beach volleyball in Germany. Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst dominated the 2016 season with an unprecedented haul of Olympic, Swatch World Tour Finals, European and National titles.

Add Chantal Laboureur and Julia Sude flying the flag for Europe at the Fort Lauderdale Major by winning bronze in a tournament bossed by Brazilians, plus the new team of Karla Borger and indoor star Maggie Kozuch, and you can see why the Germans are becoming one of the most feared nations on the sand right now.

But wait one second. While all is going great for the girls, nobody is talking about the guys!

So step forward Markus Böckermann and Lars Flüggen. Given Laura and Kira’s unbelievable achievement in Rio last summer you could be excused for forgetting that German men were still strutting their stuff on the Copacabana.

Markus, 31, and Lars, 26, joined forces at the start of the 2015 season and went on to achieve their dream of playing on the world’s biggest stage in Rio last August.

The pair’s performance on the court began with a bang with two gold medals to their name on the FIVB World Tour in 2015; firstly in Fuzhou in April before they stormed to the top of the podium in November 2015 in Doha.

The boys are all smiles after booking their spot at the 2016 Olympics with a victory at the smart Major Hamburg.The boys are all smiles after booking their spot at the 2016 Olympics with a victory at the smart Major Hamburg.

Together, the duo’s displays on the sand have been uber consistent. Their most recent result – fifth at the Kish Island event in Iran – was their 26th World Tour tournament as a team.

As well as their precious two gold medals they have taken silver three times. Last season they took second place in Antalya but 2016 will be best remembered for their fifth place finish in Hamburg.

On a dramatic, sun-drenched day of action on home sand the boys ousted countrymen Kay Matysik and Jonathan Erdmann in a winner-takes-all clash on Center Court to book their ticket to their first Olympic Games.

Come Rio, and drawn in Pool B, the Germans faced a tricky task against Poland’s Kantor/Losiak, Barsouk/Liamin of Russia and eventual bronze medalists Brouwer/Meeuwsen but they bravely bowed out of the competition at the Pool Play stage – despite coming close to beating the Dutch in a thrilling three-setter.

While disappointed, the boys committed themselves to another season together in 2017 and started with yet another top 10 finish of their partnership at the Fort Lauderdale Major – and that included a superb straight set win over second seeds and A1 Major Klagenfurt champs Samoilovs/Smedins.

Having finished in the top 10 a total of 14 times from their 26 tournaments, and now they have made a solid start to the new season, Markus and Lars enter their third campaign together in good heart…and who knows what they can achieve this summer…


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