OVTCHAROV vs. BOLL for the 6th TTCLM titlePhoto: Courtesy Borussia Dusseldorf
Two German players, actual World no. 3 and 2, will lead their sides in the final face-off between Fakel Gazprom Orenburg and Borussia Dusseldorf (both legs in May)
Fourth time in last eight years Fakel Gazprom Orenburg and Borussia Dusseldorf will decide the winner of the Table Tennis Champions League Men. German team, record holder with 10 crowns, beat Russian side, reigning champion and 4-time winner in the 2010/11 finals, while Orenburg was better last year and in 2014/15. Upcoming finals will be held in May (9-13th in Dusseldorf and 16-20th in Orenburg).
Unlike Borussia, Orenburg had an easy job in the semi-finals, beating Sporting Clube De Portugal 6-0 on aggregate. Dusseldorf`s side has defeated TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen in all-German clash by a narrow margin: with just 23 points in their favor (5-5 in matches, 22:22 in games).
Orenburg is going to play for its fifth title in last seven years, while Borussia hopes to improve its record to 11. Last year Russian club has lifted the trophy by 6-2 on aggregate, after decisive 3:0 away win in the first leg. Both sides kept their line-ups. Coach Vladimir ENDOLOV plays mostly with three same players - Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (actual World no. 3), Jun MIZUTANI (no. 11), Vladimir SAMSONOV (no. 37) – while Borussia`s Danny HEISTER combines with four – Timo BOLL (no. 2), Kristian KARLSSON (no. 19), Stefan FEGERL (no. 45) and Anton KALLBERG (no. 62).
Defending champion still has two unbeaten players, Japan`s Jun MIZUTANI (10-0) an Belarus Vladimir SAMSONOV (8-0). Other finalists win-loss records are following: Dimitrij OVTCHAROV 8-1, Alexey LIVENTSOV 2-2, Denis IVONIN 0-1, Fedor KUZMIN 0-1 (all four from Orenburg), Timo BOLL 13-3, Kristian KARLSSON 9-3, Anton KALLBERG 5-5, Stefan FEGERL 1-5.
Vladimir SAMSONOV and Dimitrij OVTCHAROV have won all four Orenburg`s titles. Belarus player is all-time record holder with 12 TTCLM crowns, taking first three with Borussia Dusseldorf (1997, 1998, 2000). OVTCHAROV also commenced his winning collection in Borussia`s jersey (2009), playing beside Timo BOLL. Now both stand on five apiece - BOLL (2005, 2006 – Gonnern, 2009, 2010, 2011 – Borussia), OVTCHAROV (2009 – Bourssia, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017 – Orenburg).