ETTU cup enters the fierce finish of the seasonETTU Cup Men
We progressed to the quarterfinal of the ETTU Cup with four clubs from the TT Champions League Men and Champions League Women joined the best four clubs in previous rounds of the most massive club competition in ETTU.
In the men's ETTU Cup this weekend will play Halmstads BTK vs. Weinviertel Niederösterreich, Istres Tennis de Table vs. Sten Ostrov Havlickuv Brod, Stella Sport La Romagne vs. SV Werder Bremen and DKV Borges Vall vs. Vaillante Sports Angers TT.
French coach Fabrice COUTOLLEAU looks confident before the start of the duel between Stella Sport La Romagne and Germany's SV Werder Bremen:
"So far we are very satisfied with our performance in ETTU Cup, since we are still in game in quarterfinals. In addition, being third in the French Pro A after the first part, give us enough confidence," said COUTOLLEAU.
Two clubs never meet on the international scene, but they are well connected.
"We know what to expect. Adrian CRISAN played last year for the German club and we faced Bastian STEGER when he was engaged to the Saarbrücken. We know their players and how good their team is, but our goal is always to win and this year it will not be the difference."
Halmstads BTK will host Austria's Weinviertel Niederösterreich in the first leg.
"It is a tough match for us against a strong team with a lot of European-cup and International experience. So, WN has to be the favorites, but we will try our best to play two good matches and hope we can reach semifinal," explained coach Ulf "Tickan" CARLSSON from Halmstads.
Coach CARLSSON admitted he cannot remember when those two clubs met in the past.
"Halmstad BTK has not played in Europe for many years, but I talked to some former Halmstad players, Fredrik HÅKANSSON and Thomas BUZA, and they told me they played against WN in the late nineties and won. But anyway, I think it is a long time since this two teams played against each other."
CARLSSON pointed up that he is very happy with club's performance in ETTU Cup, especially with the victory over Caen in France in previous round.
"Our goal in the ETTU-cup is to get as much experience of tough matches as possible for our players, and we are looking forward to this two matches against a very strong team as WN in the quarterfinal, " said coach." In the Swedish League we are number 3 at the moment and it is good. Our goal is to reach the final this season, like last year, and try to challenge Eslöv BTK, the no. 1 team in Sweden. Our players are in the good shape at the moment. We have had some rest over the holidays, but worked hard last 2 weeks preparing for the game on Friday. The club and the players are really looking forward the match against WN."
Vaillante Sports Angers TT will travel to Spain to meet DKV Borges Vall.
"We hope we will reach the semi final, but we have to be very careful. We are aware of Marc DURAN's quality as well as the strength of Chinese players. In addition, opening leg is on their soil and it is advantage for our adversaries," said President of the Vaillante Sports Angers TT Gérard SARAZIN.
Speaking about the first part of the season and the games in Table Tennis Champions League Men President SARAZIN said:
"Our first part of the season was nice. In TTECL we had a very difficult draw; eventually we finished second as well as Saarbrucken with 9 points each, but they moved further. In French Pro A we are third, but all the clubs at the top are very close."
The club is focused on the first goal.
"Our goal in ETTU Cup is to reach the semi final first and then we will see... It is difficult to speak about current shape of my players because we made a break from 21th of December. They had a rest for a while and now they are in the training camp. I hope it will be all right even if calendar is very bad with so many matches in a short period: ETTU Cup quarter final on Saturday, then Pro A on Tuesday and then Hungary open commences on Wednesday before the rematch of quarters on Monday..."
In the DKV Borges Vall, manager Luis Jose ANDRADE pointed that two clubs never meet before.
"First of all we are very happy and proud that we have reached the quarterfinal round. We know it is going to be a very difficult match because we know we will play against a very good team. But we think we have chances if there are close matches. We want to fight and if it's possible to make a surprise. There will be a great atmosphere in our home match and we will try to use it as our advantage."
Speaking about their performance in ETTU Cup ANDRADE added:
" In ETTU Cup we have reached the quarterfinals, and it is a great achievement to be in this round. In Spanish league we are now in the third position. We are aware there are two teams stronger than us. We will fight to try to reach the Champions League but we know our real position it's to be third. Now, our goal in ETTU Cup it's to compete against very good teams. We don't think about what round we want to reach. Only enjoy of every round we play. Our players are in good shape and very happy and motivated to play against very good french team. For Borges, a village with no more than five thousand people it's amazing to watch these players at home. "
Istres Tennis de Table will welcome Sten Ostrov Havlickuv Brod.
“It is the first time that we will meet. We just played against Prague two years ago with Thomas TREGLER. We know that the Czech team is very strong; they have not lost a game in their League and have made a very good first round in the Champions League,” explained Manager Eric MASSON.
How can you evaluate the first part of the season in ETTU Cup and in National league?
“The French League is now the most homogeneous in Europe. There are 24 players in the top 100 and very good Chinese players who have no world ranking. Our team is young, we are progressing. Our first part of the season gives us hope for future.”
French club already achieved the goal from the beginning of the season.
“Our first goal was to reach the quarter finals in ETTU. Now we will do our best to continue our way. We think we have a chance, we are ready and motivated.”