The 2015/16 ECLW quarter-finals without clear favouritePhoto: Courtesy Fenerbahce
„This is the most interesting ECLW season so far”, stressed WSA Women Head Coach Neven CEGNAR, speaking before 1st quarter-final leg: Linz – Metz TT (Jan 15), Saint-Quentin –Cartagena (Jan 15), Fenerbahce – Zamek (Jan 18), STROCK – Berlin (Jan 18)
The upcoming 2015/16 ECLW quarter-finals will be a great promotion of women`s table tennis, as many experts are predicting. WSA Women Head Coach Neven CEGNAR emphasizes that the ongoing ECLW season is the best one in the history, concerning quality of the teams and how many title pretenders emerge in the competition. First quarter-final leg will be held this Friday and Monday: Linz AG Froschberg – Metz TT (Jan 15, 17:30 CET), TT Saint-Quentin – UCAM Cartagena (Jan 15, 19:30 CET), Fenerbahce – Zamek Tarnobrzeg (Jan 18, 16:30 CET), SVNO STROCK – Berlin Eastside (Jan 18, 19:00 CET).
Two times ECLW champion and actual runner-up Linz has a better tradition than Metz TT, but Frensh club showed better form during the group stage. However, Metz President Philippe BORDES refuses role of favourite in that clash:
„Linz team is a mountain for us! ECLW runner-up last year and winner in 2009 and 2013, we have lost two times, hence it will be a big moment. The draw is the draw... However, we prepare the second leg in Metz on Friday evening (January 22nd) as a great event in French table tennis.”
One more French club will play this Friday. Saint-Quentin`s Manager and Vice-President Jean-Louis POLARD stressed that his club already did a nice job making its place among the best 8 in the ECLW:
„We are very pleased and proud to be in the last 8 of the ECLW competition and the draw has decided of a surprising battle between the N°9 and N°11 teams. So both clubs can hope in the future but there is no good draw if in the end there is no qualification. Cartagena can be very confident with unbeaten SHEN Yanfei, the 2015 European Champion with HU Melek, and with 2008 European Champion, Ruta PASKAUSKIENE. The Spanish team finished top of Group B, beating SVNO STRÖCK as the third player, Chinese WANG Zhipei, can efficiently help her partners. So it should be a very interesting match.”
Reigning ECLW champion Fenerbahce will fight against its well known opponent Zamek Tarnobrzeg. Manager of Turkish champion, Gurhan YALDIZ explains:
„It will be very difficult match as always against them; we know very well each other. I think that the winner of this round can go to the final, so that is the reason why this round is so important for both teams. We like to make advantage in first home match because always is more difficult in Poland. I think it will be very good match in a good atmosphere”.
The 2011/12 runner-up STROCK hosts the actual top seed and double ECLW champion Berlin. WSA Head Coach Neven CEGNAR explains why this season is a special one for both, Schwechat`s side and ECLW in total:
„Even from the beginning of this season we expressed our pleasure and pride to have a place in this great ECLW company. I think we have the best ECLW so far, in terms of quality and similar level of the teams, so our club must be very pleased being a part of this quarter-final. We play against one of the best (maybe the best one club) in Europe, hence we will give our best to make a decent resistance against clear favorite Berlin”.
CEGNAR revealed that the youngest STROCK player Marie MIGOT will have a chance for her ECLW debut, playing alongside BILENKO, EKHOLM and RAKOVAC.
The 2015/16 ECLW Quarter-finals, 1st leg
Linz AG Froschberg – Metz TT (Jan 15, 17:30 CET)
TT Saint-Quentin – UCAM Cartagena (Jan 15, 19:30 CET)
Fenerbahce – Zamek Tarnobrzeg (Jan 18, 16:30 CET)
SVNO STROCK – Berlin Eastside (Jan 18, 19:00 CET).