Germany’s volleyball players have significantly increased their chances of direct Olympic qualification with a surprise victory.

The team led by star attacker Georg Grozer beat hosts and favorites Brazil 3-1 (21:25, 25:19, 25:19, 28:26) in Rio de Janeiro. The selection of the German Volleyball Association started the qualifying tournament with three wins.

It was only the fourth German victory in 17 games against the fourth in the world rankings. The 38-year-old Grozer was once again the most successful attacker with 27 points. “I have goosebumps, I can’t believe what we did here today,” he said after the game. “We can’t celebrate yet, we still have a long way to go.”

Now against the world champion

Less than 24 hours after the game, Germany’s next difficult game against world champions Italy is on Wednesday (6.30 p.m./VBTV). The team will have to do without captain Lukas Kampa, who will be out for the rest of the tournament due to a calf injury.

All teams play against each other once in three groups of eight in Brazil, China and Japan. The top two teams in each group will receive tickets to Paris 2024.

Every game in Rio counts for another reason: points are awarded for the world rankings, which next year offers a last chance for Germany’s first Olympic participation since 2012. Here too, Germany made up a lot of ground by beating Brazil.