Lukas Kampa: "We have shown we can take on anyone"
Lukas Kampa motivates his teammates at the 2017 CEV Volleyball European Championship in Poland
In 2017, Kampa captained Germany to silver at the CEV Men's European Championship in Poland – the first medal for Germany in the history of the continental championship. In 2014, he also helped his country to third place at the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Championship in Poland.
Kampa was also named the best setter at the tournament in Poland and has enjoyed considerable success with his clubs. He was crowned a national champion with VfB Friedrichshafen in Germany, won the cup in Russia with Belgorod, and won the title in Ukraine. He currently plays his volleyball in Poland for Jastrzebski Wegiel.
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Kampa is from a family of keen volleyball players. His father Ulrich won 100 caps, and his brother David also played in the Bundesliga for a while. In an exclusive interview with the FIVB, he talks about the new FIVB Volleyball Nations League and the development of volleyball.
Lukas Kampa in action for Germany during the 2016 FIVB Volleyball World League
How important is the new Volleyball Nations League to you and your team this year?
Lukas Kampa: For us, the Volleyball Nations League is the only major event of the summer, which makes it the most important competition. As such, we are giving it top priority and want to field the strongest possible team. The fact that we unfortunately missed out on qualification for the World Championship means that the Nations League is our only opportunity to test ourselves against the best teams in the world.
What do you think about the new format of the Volleyball Nations League?
Kampa: I like the new format and the idea of playing and marketing the women’s and men’s competitions under one name. It is a challenging tournament with long journeys, but there will be spectacular volleyball every weekend.
What are your goals for the Volleyball Nations League? Which teams will be the toughest opponents?
Kampa: We want to reach the Finals, and so need to play well enough at the individual tournaments to achieve that. Every opponent will be a big test for us. It is impossible to name one favourite. We have shown that we can hold our own against every team in the world. It will be important for us to approach every match as though it were a final.
What are the German national team’s goals for this season?
Kampa: As well as the Finals in the Volleyball Nations League, our goal should be to continue to develop in all areas as a team and individually. The second part of the summer, which for us will consist solely of an intensive training camp, will certainly also be used to introduce young players to this standard and to increase the pool of players available for our national team.
What do you think about the technical innovations in volleyball, and how could the FIVB make the show even better for fans?
Kampa: A number of technical innovations, such as the video challenge or measuring the speed of serve, are a great way of making the game fairer and more attractive. In my opinion, there is still huge potential when it comes to the use of live data.
Germany celebrate winning silver at the European Championship in 2017
Which of your successes so far do you rate as the biggest?
Kampa: It is difficult to pick out one single success, as every success has its own story and emotions. However, the medals at the World Championships and European Championships definitely stand out, as does playing at the Olympics.
What dreams and goals do you still have as a volleyball player? How long do you want to play for? What are the most important titles you have your sights set on?
Kampa: It goes without saying that I would like to win another championship at club level, and to challenge for the title in the CEV Champions League. The biggest goal with the national team is definitely to qualify for the Olympic Games in two years, and to challenge for a medal there.
How important is volleyball in Germany? How did you get into the sport? And do people on the streets in Germany recognise you as a volleyball star?
Kampa: Volleyball is not yet as big as football in Germany, but we are working on it! I got into volleyball through my family, having played football for a few years as a boy. I don’t get recognised on the streets in Germany. That is more likely to happen in Poland, where I play my club volleyball.
How difficult is it for you to be away from Germany for a long period each year when you play in Poland with your club team?
Kampa: You obviously miss your friends and family, but fortunately I have my wife and son with me most of the time. That aside, I am very happy in Poland and can easily imagine staying here for a few years.
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