Superlega 2023 - News.

Tasunori Otsuka in VNL action

Tasunori Otsuka in VNL action

After Japanese stars Yuki Ishikawa, Yuji Nishida and Ran Takahashi tested their skills in the SuperLega Credem Banca, it is time for another Japanese international to make his way to Italy for the start of the next club season. 23-year-old outside hitter Tatsunori Otsuka has signed with Allianz Milan. The club announced the transfer on the eve of Otsuka and his Japanese teammates’ start of the national team season in the Volleyball Nations League.

The 1.95m-tall athlete will replace his distinguished compatriot Ishikawa, who was part of Allianz’s roster for four seasons, but recently transferred to Sir Susa Vim Perugia.

“Yuki told me that I would find an excellent club, an excellent team and, above all, that I could learn a lot here,” Otsuka told “The SuperLega, in my opinion, is the best championship in the world and that says it all. Milan have very strong players and a high-level staff. They are real fighters and convey great passion to everyone, even when I watched their matches long before I knew I would become an Allianz player.”

Allianz will be Otsuka’s first foreign club. He arrives from Japan’s Panasonic Panthers Hirakata, where he played for the last three seasons, earning several medals in domestic competitions. In season 2022-2023, he made it on the Dream Team of the Japanese league.

After achieving some excellent results as a member of Japan’s youth and junior national teams, Otsuka has been part of the senior national team since 2021 and represented the host nation at the Tokyo Olympics. Last year, he was part of the Ryujin Nippon squad that earned a historic VNL bronze and triumphed at the 2023 Asian Championship.

“I can say that I work very hard on both the offensive and defensive phases every day. My move to Milan goes precisely in this direction, with a great coach like Roberto Piazza. I will give my all for Allianz Milan,” Otsuka added. “I'm starting to study English and Italian with commitment, so in the next interviews I will say something more...”

Schnitzer to replace Loser

After announcing the arrival of Tokyo 2020 Olympic champion with France Yacine Louati as the first incoming transfer for next season, last week Allianz also announced the addition of 24-year-old Canadian international Jordan Schnitzer as a replacement for departing Argentinean middle blocker Agustin Loser.

It will be the third foreign club for the 1.98m-tall middle, after he played for Germany’s SVG Lueneburg in 2022-2023 and claimed the 2023-2024 national title in France with Saint-Nazair Atlantique. Schnitzer’s national team bio includes four continental-level silver medals – from the 2021 and 2022 Pan American Cup, the 2023 NORCECA Championship and the 2022 NORCECA Final Six. He was also part of the squad that earned Canada’s ticket to the 2024 Olympic Games at last year’s FIVB Road to Paris Volleyball Qualifier in China.

Canada (CAN) vs. Mexico (MEX) men - Pool C #7302668

Jordan Schnitzer in attack during the Olympic qualification tournament in China

“Obviously, my goal is to get into the Canadian shortlist for the Olympics too and then I will do everything to earn a starting role. Ultimately, if I can summarize without risking sounding irreverent, the goal is to win an Olympic gold with Canada,” Schnitzer said in an interview for the club website. “I've heard very good things about the Allianz team and the city, so I'm sure I'll really enjoy this experience. The Italian SuperLega is a very competitive championship. I'm just waiting to be put to the test together with my teammates to achieve the best possible result. Replacing a really strong blocker like Agustin Loser motivates me to give my best and also improve the results obtained by Allianz Milan in the past season. Roberto Piazza is a great coach and I can't wait to meet him in person.

“I would like to tell all the Milan fans that I am very happy to come and play for Allianz Powervolley Milan next season! I can't wait to meet the fans and go and win in the Italian championship!”