Leon spikes against Leal’s block during a 2023 Coppa Italia semifinal (source: legavolley.it)

Leon spikes against Leal’s block during a 2023 Coppa Italia semifinal

The upcoming sixth leg of the Italian SuperLega Credem Banca has plenty of top-calibre clashes on the programme, but in what is probably the most anticipated game of the leg, two great Cuban-born stars with changed nationalities, Poland’s Wilfredo Leon and Brazil’s Yoandy Leal, will go face to face as second-placed Sir Susa Vim Perugia host third-placed Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza on Sunday.

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Both Sir and Gas Sales are on a 4-1 win-loss record, but the team from Perugia has already collected 13 points, one clear of the opponents from Piacenza, ahead of their head-to-head encounter at the Pala Barton on November 19 at 17:30 local time (16:30 UCT). The two teams’ only defeats this season came at the hands of last season’s finalists, Cucine Lube Civitanova and Itas Trentino Trento, respectively.

In addition to the two above-mentioned outside hitters, there could be more Cuban presence on the court in Sir’s opposite Jesus Herrera and Gas Sales’ middle blockers Robertlandy Simon and Roamy Alonso, among the abundance of other stars on both sides of the net.

The reigning club world champions and Supercoppa Italiana laureates from Perugia have won nine of the 10 encounters with the team from Piacenza in history, but Gas Sales’ only win came in their most recent meeting, a straight-set victory in February’s Coppa Italia semifinal, before they went on to claim the trophy.

In another big game on Sunday, defending champions and current table leaders Itas Trentino Trento will welcome fourth-placed Mint Vero Volley Monza at 18:00 (17:00). Trentino are the only unbeaten team in the SuperLega so far this season and top the standings on 13 points from five games. Vero Volley are just a point below, on 12 points and a 4-1 win-loss record, separated from Gas Sales on set ratio.

“Trento is historically a taboo place for us, where we have never managed to win. Our goal is to arrive ready. They are the Italian champions; they are very strong and still undefeated. We are aware that it will be a difficult match, but we want to play a strong game.” Massimo Eccheli, head coach of Mint Vero Volley Monza

Yet another high-level clash between two of the top six teams will take place on Sunday. Starting at 16:00 (15:00), sixth-placed Valsa Group Modena will entertain fifth-placed Cucine Lube Civitanova, with both teams on a 3-2 win-loss record, but the visitors having collecting eight points, one more than the hosts.

“We are working as hard as we can these days for Sunday's match against Lube Civitanova and want to make the most of these moments we have available.” Uladzislau Davyskiba, outside hitter of Valsa Group Modena

The weekend will open on Saturday at 18:00 (17:00) with ninth-placed Pallavolo Padova Padua (2-3) hosting seventh-placed Rana Verona (2-3). The other two matches will be played at the same time on Sunday. Eighth-placed Cisterna Volley (1-4) will welcome winless Gioiella Prisma Taranto, while 11th-placed Farmitalia Catania (1-4) entertain 10th-placed Allianz Milan (1-4).

SuperLega Credem Banca 2023-2024 5th leg schedule:
Nov 18, 18:00 local (17:00 UTC): Pallavolo Padova Padua v Rana Verona
Nov 19, 16:00 local (15:00 UTC): Valsa Group Modena v Cucine Lube Civitanova
Nov 19, 17:30 local (16:30 UTC): Sir Susa Vim Perugia v Gas Sales Bluenergy Piacenza
Nov 19, 18:00 local (17:00 UTC): Farmitalia Catania v Allianz Milan
Nov 19, 18:00 local (17:00 UTC): Cisterna Volley v Gioiella Prisma Taranto
Nov 19, 18:00 local (17:00 UTC): Itas Trentino Trento v Mint Vero Volley Monza