Germany waited 11 years for the title in Junior Boy’s Teams EventPhoto: Carlos FERREIRA
60th STAG European Youth Championships
Germany waited 11 years for the title in Junior Boy’s Teams Event at the European Youth Championships. After the generation of Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, Ruwen FILUS, Steffen MENGEL, Markus SCHLICHTER and Hendrik FUSS that has clinched the title in Sarajevo, Germany is at the top of the Europe again. In Guimaraes at the 60th STAG European Youth Championships Tobias HIPPLER, Gerrit ENGEMANN, Cedric MEISSNER and FANBO Meng led by the coach ZHU Xiaoyong avenged their defeat in the group stage and beat Russia on their way to the highest step of the medal rostrum.
“ I think that mental part of the game prevailed in the final. We lost against Russia very close encounter by narrow margin and we wanted to prove we could beat them. It could easily be different, but the opening game made a difference. ENGEMANN’s five games victory over Denis IVONIN opened the doors for success. In the second match HIPPLER already proved his skills against players with the defensive style. Artur ABUSEV had no chance,” explained coach ZHU Xiaoyong.
It was not only the match against Russia in group that was stretched to full distance. On their way to the final Germany beat Romania 3:2 in semis; by same margin Italy was denied of medal.
“Last year it was opposite situation concerning Italy. They overcame us and reached the gold. This year I changed the formation; we beat Italy in the quarterfinal and we made it to top.”
Coach ZHU Xiaoyong admitted, no one expects gold. They lost against Russia and against Spain, they were only two points away from a defeat and the third place in the group in the preliminary round.
“We fought hard for each win. Against Romania ENGEMANN had 2:2 and he was were 5:10 down against Rares SIPOS in the decisive game of the decisive match before we recovered to win and move to final. We had very hard time. Maybe we hope for medal, but gold came as a surprise for us at the end. There are a lot of teams with equal quality here. Everyone can beat everyone.”
The team already won the gold at the Italy Open earlier this year, whilst in Spain they were third. Can they repeat the success in singles event?
“It will be very difficult. We have very good team, but in individual competition there are a lot of favorites. Cristian PLETEA of Romania showed good shape, Greek’s Ioannis SGOUROPOULOS is also very good, Sweden has their aces….Very tight competition,” commented ZHU Xiaoyong.