TTCLM semi-finals: All participants promise big fight!Photo: Courtesy Fakel Gazproma Orenburg
First semi-final leg will be covered live on LAOLA1.tv: AS Pontoise Cergy – Borussia Dusseldorf (March 9th, 19:00), FC Saarbrucken – TTC Fakel Gazprom Orenburg (March 10th, 19:00)
Table Tennis Champions League Men will gather four strong teams: 10 times TTCLM champion Borussia Dusseldorf, three times winner Fakel Gazprom Orenburg, reigning and double champion AS Pontoise Cergy and 2012 semi-finalist FC Saarbrucken Tischtennis. First semi-final leg is scheduled for this Thursday and Friday: AS Pontoise Cergy – Borussia Dusseldorf (March 9th, 19:00), FC Saarbrucken – TTC Fakel Gazprom Orenburg (March 10th, 19:00).
Defending champion Pontoise and Borussia met twice in the last two seasons, both times in the quarter-final stage. First, German side progressed to the semis, after two thrilling encounters (the winner was decided according set-ratio, 17:16), then French team responded with an aggregate score of 6-3 a year ago.
“Borussia is one of the best European teams ever. They are bigger favorite than us”, stated Pontoise`s coach Christian ADAM. “On the paper, yes, they are better. But we showed many times that we are capable for magic at home. The match will be held in sold-out hall, in front of 500 spectators. Our players have a heart for big games. Timo BOLL is aware that he was defeated by both, Tristan FLORE and Marcos FREITAS”.
Borussia`s players were in a good shape last week, playing national championships. Three of them became national champions: Timo BOLL in Germany, Stefan FEGERL in Austria and Anton KALLBERG in Sweden, while former Pontoise`s member Kristian KARLSSON finished third in the Swedish city of Halmstad.
“Pontoise is the winner of the TTCL of last season! They have a great team with a top No. 1 Marcos FREITAS, who can make four points against Düsseldorf! So Pontoise will be the favorite! We are very lucky to reach the half final over Ochsenhausen, while Pontoise won easy against Hennebont! In the last two years we had great matches against Pontoise! It will be a pleasure to play against this great team again”, stressed Borussia`s manager Andreas PREUSS.
Coach of German side, Danny HEISTER added:
“I am looking forward to this big match with two strong teams AS-Pontoise-Cergy TT and Borussia Düsseldorf. In the French league AS Pontoise-Cergy TT had some problems. But in the European Champions League they are excellent. So it will be an open battle in two interesting matches”.
Saarbrucken repeated his achievement from the 2011/12 season, when they were stopped by Russian UMMC after fully exciting returning clash. Now, other Russian side awaits German club.
“It’s a big honor and pleasure for us to host the main candidate for the crown and top seed of TTCLM. We will enjoy and give all we got. Of course, we will try to secure the result which bring us hope for the returning match”, explained Saarbrucken coach Slobodan GRUJIC,
Orenburg`s line-up is composed for the titles, with three world-class players: No. 5 Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, No. 6 Jun MIZUTANI and No. 11 Vladimir SAMSONOV.
„All our players are healthy and in good shape. The motivation of our team is simply high. Our opponent is very strong. Our team is already preparing hard for the SF1 TTCL match in Saarbrücken. We need a good result already in the first match and will give all we got.”
2016/17 Table Tennis Champions League Men semi-finals (1st leg)
AS PONTOISE CERGY – BORUSSIA DUSSELDORF (March 9th, 19:00, live on Laola1.tv)
FC SAARBRUCKEN TISCHTENNIS – TTC FAKEL GAZPROM ORENBURG (March 10th, 19:00, live on Laola1.tv)