Surprising decision by Nikola Grbic. The volleyball coach explains. “Who would I leave behind?”

– If I gave Bednorz a two-week break now, it would mean he won’t go to the world championships – says Nikola Grbić. However, the Polish coach emphasizes that all seventeen have equal opportunities at the World Cup and explains why he took the three attackers.

Arkadiusz Dudziak

Nikola Grbic

Press material / FIVB / In the photo: Nikola Grbić

The coach, Nikola Grbić, made a decision. The Poles for the final tournament of the League of Nations will feature three attackers. However, the Serb previously said that he was a supporter of the traditional division.

Bartosz Kwolek, Mateusz Poręba and Jan Firlej are not going to Bologna. In an interview with WP SportoweFakty, the trainer explains the reasons for the decision and explains why he decided to appoint Bartosz Bednorz, who previously didn’t get many playing opportunities (the composition of the Poles can be seen HERE).

Arkadiusz Dudziak, WP SportoweFakty: You bring both Łukasz Kaczmarek and Karol Butryn to Bologna. Where did the idea come from to play against the three attackers in such a short tournament?
Nikola Grbić, coach of the Polish national team: It was a difficult decision. Whoever I called, I wouldn’t make a mistake. They were all excellent and deserved to be in the final tournament. Karol can give us more when we need change for a service. Kwolek, Firlej and Poręba also deserved to be among the fourteen.

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There is no apparent reason why I chose to name Karol. He may not play at all, and it could be the same with Firlej and the rest. Now the game is for the strongest possible formation. There is no time to rest and count. You have to focus to make our strongest possible line-up perform as well as possible.

The test phase is now over and are we now only focusing on the result?

Every match is a test: for Bednorz, Janusz, for every player the same goes for the training sessions we record. It’s all an ordeal. All the time I get some information about the players. This is both a testing and preparation phase for the World Cup. When making decisions, I took into account everything that’s happened so far, including the fact that Bednorz didn’t have a normal training process to compete with the other receivers.

It was all injuries. I wanted to give him a chance. I could take Kwolek, but then the question arises, what would I do with five receivers? When could they play? Would Poręba have a space to play? After all, it’s only three games and we have to present ourselves in the strongest possible team.

Is Bednorz 100 percent healthy and ready to play?

He is getting closer to his maximum. It’s not at its peak yet, of course, as it takes time to get in shape.

And why was Kwolek not in the Bologna selection?

Who would I leave behind: Fornal, Semeniuk or Śliwka? Taking five hosts would be pointless. We only have three games. for what? Just to ride him so he can sit on a bench? He earned Bologna, but in the same way as Firlej and Poręba. All seventeen deserved it. I don’t want to attach too much importance to it. This is not the end of the world for those who were not on the plane to Italy, because in the context of the world championship I am not canceling anyone.

Everything will be reset when we arrive at the training camp for the World Cup after the League of Nations final. In theory I could name all fourteen. I am satisfied with the way the players have trained. I’m sorry I can’t take them all. I wondered until the last minute who to call.

And what will Kwolek, Firlej and Poręba do when you are in Bologna?

None of them will train. It is still too early for clubs. I would have to leave half the staff in the country to train with three. I know this is not an ideal situation for them. They’ve been without volleyball for two weeks now. But there was nothing else for it. They get a plan and start practicing.

And they have the same chances to go to the world championship?

Naturally. The composition for Bologna was determined by nuances. That’s why I waited until the last minute to make a decision. I also looked at which player would have the most trouble coming back after two weeks of rest. It was one of the reasons why I chose Bartosz Bednorz.


He has had many problems with his back and neck. He could not train normally. It started, it stopped, it started again and again and again. I wanted to call him up for the second tournament in Sofia, but he didn’t go because he only had two training sessions left for this tournament. He came back later and worked with the U-22 squad and joined us. He had three training sessions and then it was immediately weekend in Gdańsk. If I gave him a two-week break now, it would mean he won’t go to the World Cup.

And Karol Urbanowicz? This is the player you doubted if you would make him to 17 for the preparations for the World Cup.

I have not yet decided with which group we will start preparing for the World Cup. He is part of this group and has shown how much quality he has at the European Under-22 Championship. He will definitely be on the list of 22 players that I have to propose, but I don’t know if he will get a chance in pre-season.

In the quarter-finals, the Poles will face the Iranian team. This is one of the two opponents that defeated us in the regular phase.

It doesn’t change much and I’d still like to beat them. This has its pros and cons when fighting the same team twice in the same tournament. I would be more concerned if we won easily 3-0.

And what are the team’s plans for Thursday’s quarter-finals?

We will prepare tactically for the match, normal pre-match exercises and the last gym is waiting for us.

Read more:
They did it! Polish volleyball players are bronze medalists of the European U-22 Championship!

Will Poland win the League of Nations medal this year?



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