Everything you need to know about the Beach Volleyball World Championships 2019
The 12th edition of the Beach Volleyball World Championships takes place in Hamburg from Friday 28th June to Sunday 7th July.
No fewer than 96 pairings from 38 countries will be taking part with a total of 216 games being played.
As well as the tag of world champions, the prize for victory is massive with the winning duos booking a coveted place at Tokyo 2020.
Champs return with new partners
Most of the attention in Hamburg will be on home pair Laura Ludwig and Margareta Kozuch in the women's tournament.
Ludwig won gold at Rio 2016 with Kira Walkenhorst before the pair claimed their first world title a year later in Vienna.
The 33-year-old took time out to have a baby and teamed up with former indoor volleyball player Kozuch after Walkenhorst announced her retirement in January.
Olympic champ Laura Ludwig back in action after 20-month break
Olympic champ Laura Ludwig back in action after 20-month breakGermany's Olympic golden girl Laura Ludwig makes her return to competition at the FIVB Beach World Tour event in Xiamen this week after taking a baby break. The 33-year-old is teaming up with former Germany volleyball team captain Margareta Kozuch as her longtime partner Kira Walkenhorst recently retired.
In the men's competition, 2017 champions Evandro Gonçalves and Andre Loyola Stein have split and are now competing against each other.
Golden future for golden pair Bruno Schmidt and Evandro?
Bruno's partner at the 2015 Worlds in the Netherlands and Rio 2016, Alison Cerutti, is also playing in Hamburg.
Alison - who was also world champion in 2011 and has a silver medal from London 2012 - will compete alongside Alvaro Filho.
Brazilian pair wins Men's Beach Volleyball gold
Brazilian pair wins Men's Beach Volleyball goldBruno Schmidt and Alison Cerutti win gold for Brazil in the men's beach volleyball final at Copacabana Beach.
After their silver at Rio 2016, Agatha joined forces with Nanjing 2014 Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Eduarda Santos Lisboa, better known as Duda.
Agatha and Duda have made for a formidable partnership in recent years with the latter just 18 when they won in Rio in May 2017, making her the youngest World Tour victor in history.
They have continued to win tournaments including last year's World Tour Finals. and will be one of the fancied teams in Hamburg.
Barbara is now alongside Fernanda Alves with their biggest win coming in the World Tour 5* event at Fort Lauderdale in March last year.
This is a big tournament for three-time Olympic and three-time world champion Kerri Walsh Jennings and her new partner Brooke Sweat.
The pair are seeded 18, the fifth-highest from the United States, after receiving a wildcard to compete in Hamburg.
The leading duo from the USA are Alix Klineman and April Ross, Walsh Jennings' partner at Rio 2016 where they took bronze.
Ross is yet another former world champion having been victorious in 2009 with Jennifer Kessy, her partner at London 2012 where they took silver.
With each country only permitted a maximum of two spots at Tokyo 2020, the 40-year-old great has her work cut out if she is to make her sixth Olympic Games.
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The 39-year-old Swiss-born blocker (2.06m tall) is seeded sixth with Nick Lucena.
There is just one pair in Hamburg that can boast a world title together.
The Dutch pair took bronze at Rio 2016 and go into this tournament ranked seven in the world.
They have yet to win a medal at world or Olympic level, but the ninth seeds will be hopeful of breaking their duck this year.
Vikings favourites for men's crown
The team to beat in the men's competition is Norway's Anders Mol and Christian Sørum.
The defending World Tour champions have won eight of their previous 11 international tournaments, being beaten just once in their last 24 matches.
For the last 47 weeks, they have topped the world rankings.
Mol and Sørum have certainly put their country on the global beach volleyball map and the Vikings are now making their World Championship debut.
The Am Rothenbaum Stadium in Hamburg will host the FIVB Beach Volleyball World Championships over the next 10 days.
In each of the men's and women's competitions, there are 12 pools of four teams taking part in round-robin matches.
The top two in each group plus the four best third-place finishers will go through to the knockout stages.
The women's round of 32 begins on Wednesday 3rd July with the men's starting a day later.
Friday 28th July to Wednesday 2nd July
Women's and men's pool matches
Wednesday 3rd July
Women's round of 32; men's pool matches
Thursday 4th July
Women's round of 16; men's round of 32
Friday 5th July
Women's quarter-finals and semi-finals; men's round of 16
Saturday 6th July
Women's final and bronze medal match; men's quarter-finals and semi-finals
Sunday 7th July
Men's final and bronze medal match
Check out the complete schedule here.
There is live daily coverage of the tournament on Olympic Channel in the United States and associated territories. Details can be found here.