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Anders Mol against Alexander Brouwer in the Paris Elite16 final

It is not impossible to defeat Anders Mol and Christian Sorum, but it sure is very, very difficult. If anyone knows best how it’s done, it’s probably Alexander Brouwer and Robert Meeuwsen. Many of the other participants in this week’s Volleyball World Beach Pro Tour Finals have yet to figure it out and will be highly motivated to do so at a high-profile event like the one in Doha.

· Watch all matches at the Beach Pro Tour Finals in Doha live on Volleyball TV.

No doubt, the Beachvolley Vikings are the big favourites to claim the historic title. They are the reigning world and Olympic champions and the number one team in the FIVB World Ranking. They won the last edition of the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Tour Finals in Italy and are who would bet against them at the Beach Pro Tour Finals in Qatar? Since Mol and Sorum stormed the international beach volleyball stage in 2018, they have rarely lost when it really matters, especially if they are both in good health and shape.

Judging by past results, the Dutch pairing of Brouwer and Meeuwsen have a good shot at confronting the Norwegians successfully. Actually, the two teams knew each other quite well even before Mol and Sorum made their big breakthrough and embarked on their victorious quest at the Gstaad 5-star in 2018. They had met five times in official international competition and Brouwer and Meeuwsen had always managed to come out on the winning end.

After that turning point in Mol & Sorum’s journey as a team, however, the balance shifted, but still the Dutch standouts are one of only two pairs to have defeated the Norwegians more than once since then (the other pair being former world champions Viacheslav Krasilnikov and Oleg Stoyanovskiy of Russia). Brouwer and Meeuwsen won four and lost five of the nine encounters they’ve had with the Norwegians since July 2018, excluding any health-related forfeits.

Most recently, the Dutch pair were also the only duo that managed to beat the Vikings at the World Tour Finals in Cagliari, before the latter went on to win the trophy. Brouwer and Meeuwsen also managed to beat Mol and Sorum twice at the inaugural Elite16 event in Rosarito, in the pool phase and in the semifinals, but the Norwegians returned the favour with victories in the pool phase and in the semis at the Ostrava Elite16. Mol and Sorum then also won the most recent meeting between the two teams, shutting the Dutchmen out in October’s Paris Elite16 final. The overall head-to-head, however, is still 9-5 in favour of Brouwer and Meeuwsen. It will change one way or another when the rivals meet again on Friday in a Pool B match in Doha.

Among the other teams in Pool B, Czechia’s Ondrej Perusic and David Schweiner are the only pair to have ever defeated Mol and Sorum, but that happened way back in their first head-to-head encounter at the Montpellier 1-star tournament in 2017. The Norwegians beat the Czechs the next five times they met, most recently in the 2021 Cagliari World Tour Finals gold medal match and the 2022 Ostrava Elite16 final.

Brazil’s Renato Lima and Vitor Felipe have taken on the Vikings twice, losing both the World Championship 2022 final in Rome and the Elite16 bronze medal match in Uberlandia. The only match between Mol and Sorum and Italy’s Paolo Nicolai and Samuele Cottafava, on the other hand, took place in the Rosarito Elite16 pool phase, when the Norwegians won in three sets. Both Vitor Felipe and Paolo Nicolai, however, have tasted victory over the Vikings once each, but with different partners, way back before that turning point in Mol & Sorum’s career.

The leaders of the other men’s pool at the Doha Finals, top-seeded pair Cherif Younousse and Ahmed Tijan of Qatar can also brag about having beaten Mol & Sorum, even twice. But again, that was back in the first half of the 2018 season. The two duos did not meet in 2022, but the Vikings won all three of their matches in 2021.

Italy’s Adrian Carambula and Alex Ranghieri claimed a tight three-set victory over the Norwegian pair the only time they met face to face, and once again, that was way back in 2017.

However, there is one team in Pool A which won their last game against Mol and Sorum and that’s Andre Stein and George Wanderley. In a hard-fought Uberlandia Elite16 semifinal in November, the Brazilians capitalised on home court advantage to come back from a set down and defeat the Norwegians, after losing their previous three encounters earlier in 2022.

Mol and Sorum have occasionally lost matches to Michal Bryl or Bartosz Losiak, but never to the two together. Since the two Poles joined forces last year, they lost all three of their 2022 games against the Vikings. Marco Grimalt and Esteban Grimalt of Chile also lost all three of their encounters with Mol and Sorum, the two most recent at September’s Elite16 in Paris.

Certainly, as the Finals in Doha unfold from January 26 through 29, Anders Mol and Christian Sorum will be the team to beat. It will be very difficult, but possible...