Georg Grozer: The man with the hammer
When Georg Grozer puts his hand to a ball, a murmur spreads through the volleyball halls of the world. His brutal serves are as feared as his thundering offensive shots.
But the 29-year-old is also a force to be reckoned with when blocking. He demonstrated this once again a few weeks during the final of the European Champions League, when his monster block against Matey Kaziyski clinched a 3-1 victory for his team Belogorie Belgorod over Halkbank Ankara.
Grozer wants to prove once again that he is one of the best spikers in the world when the 2014 FIVB Men’s Club World Championship gets underway from May 5 to 10 in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. This is a club title that the man with dark hair and strong upper arms has yet to win. He is a serious title collector – wherever he plays, success seems to follow him.
This was the case in Germany, where he was crowned national champion on two occasions, in 2009 and 2010, while playing for VfB Friedrichshafen. After moving to the Polish league he was Polish champion in his second season (2011/2012) with Asseco Resovia Rzeszów. He then moved to Belgorod where, in the early stages of the season, he played a major role in the team’s success in the Russian championship and in the National Cup of Russia.
This season he won the Super Cup and the National Cup in Russia, and was crowned the top club team in Europe with Belgorod. “It feels incredible and intense after such a success. It's something you dream about for years and work hard for, and then when you win it you can't believe it,” said Grozer.
However, he isn't planning on allowing this run of success to come to an end any time soon – after all, the FIVB Men’s Club World Championship is about to get underway. “I know I've already won a lot, but winning is fun. That is why I'm going to give it my all so that I keep on winning medals! My goals are the championship and the Club World Championship, which I haven't won yet. My aim is to play a perfect season.” This of course includes the absolute highlight, the FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship Poland 2014, where he has his sights set on making another dream come true with the German national team.
At the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where his incredible 39 points contributed to the 3-2 victory against Serbia in the preliminary round match, Germany was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Bulgaria, just as they were in the 2013 European Championships. Now it's time to win a medal – both Grozer and national coach Vital Heynen are convinced that it is possible to achieve this goal. “I believe that if we are all fit and healthy, both physically and mentally, then we will be able to go far in Poland. But we will have to work hard over the summer and believe in it as a team,” said Grozer. “It's one of my dreams and goals to win a medal for Germany. I don't have much time left to achieve this, but it could happen with this team. I'm sure of it!”
Naturally, it will largely depend on Georg Grozer, who is the best-known volleyball player in Germany by far. It is not without reason that he was voted Germany's volleyball player of the year four times in a row. It wasn't an obvious choice either; Grozer has only been playing for the German national team since 2007. Before that he played for his home country of Hungary. But then he followed in the footsteps of his father Georg Grozer Sr, who was a legendary volleyball spiker in Germany between 1988 and 1996. His nickname at the time was “Hammer Schorsch” - his much more successful son is sometimes called this today.
“I was always proud of my father. He taught me to learn from his mistakes. It wasn't easy to have such a successful father and I always wanted to do better than him. But I've managed to make a name for myself.”
Despite his leaping, the man who is six foot seven inches (two metres) tall has kept his feet on the ground. His secret is his own family. Georg Grozer has a soft spot for his wife Violetta and his two daughters Leana and Loreen. The man with the aggressive offensive shots has even had their names tattooed on his body.