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Champions League Men - 3 Sep 2013

TT Classic opening new MECL season


There is no better way to start the new Men’s European Champions League than one we can see this Wednesday (September 4th, 19h00, live and free on Laola1.tv) in Multiversum Schwechat / Werner Schlager Academy. Great rivalry between SVS Niederosterreich an

There is no better way to start the new Men’s European Champions League than one we can see this Wednesday (September 4th, 19h00, live and free on Laola1.tv) in Multiversum Schwechat / Werner Schlager Academy. Great rivalry between SVS Niederosterreich and Borussia Dusseldorf will be continued as the peak of the day which starts by LIEBHERR 2013 European Championships draw, on same place.

These two clubs met one another in group stage in previous two seasons and all four games won German side (3:1, 3:2 in 2011/12, 3:2, 3:2 in 2012/13) But, Austrians always were very close, losing one match on their soil thanks to unexpected Borussia`s hero Janos JAKAB. They also fought in 2010/11 semi final when Timo BOLL & Company reached their third MECL final and title in a row (2009-11).

Austrians have the same names in the team as last year (CHEN Weixing, LEUNG Chu Yan, Daniel HABESOHN and Stefan FEGERL) whilst guests arrive with their new no. 3, Indian Kamal ACHANTA who had successful debut in Bundesliga last week, contributing in victory against Grenzau (3:1, he beat JANCARIK 3:2). The club earlier explained that convalescence of Christian SUSS’ (knee-injury) will take several months which means that will not be available until the end of the year. Six times individual European champion Timo BOLL and Patrick BAUM are still no. 1 and no. 2 respectively.

“They still have players on same level as SUSS”, stressed Niederosterreich`s LEUNG Chu Yan, explaining why he expects, as always, big fight against Düsseldorf’s Lions.

Russian Fakel of Gazprom hosts French Angers, hunting third title in a row, with same trio: Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, Vladimir SAMSONOV, Alexei SMIRNOV. On the other side, guests trie to reach quarter final in its comeback to MECL. Angers was beaten by UMMC in last season’s ETTU Cup quarter final, and it was expected, knowing that Verkhnaya Pyshma`s side won that cup.

“Domestic matches in Orenburg always generate so much interest among fans of table tennis in our town - speaks Orenburg`s coach  Valeriy SALABAEV. – So it affects the players of Fakel of Gazprom and their responsibility for the result as well. The forthcoming game is especially expected as it is the first match to be held in the new Table Tennis Centre of Russia that is starting operation to the full capacity. The opposing team is very strong, able to compete with any club. We plan to use our best forces in the game and are aimed at winning it.”

Fakel of Gazprom`s manager TTC Alexander MYASNIKOV is also very careful, but optimistic: “Our rivals – are the only European club against we have negative ratio of wins and losses. Our players are concentrated on the victory. The match in Orenburg is traditionally planned to be held as a great sports festival”.

Group B, unique with four teams, starts with two games in the cities which hosted MECL semi finals in last two editions: Saarbrucken and Pontoise. German Saarbrucken expects Swedish Eslov who returns to the main club’s competition. Germans has new coach (Slobodan GRUJIC) and new player (Tiago APOLONIA), while Olympic medalist Bastian STEGER and Bojan TOKIC continue. They must be very motivated to erase poor performance in opening round of Bundesliga (0:3 from Werder). Swedish team has two host players Robert SVENSSON (world’s no. 130) and Mattias ÖVERSJÖ (no. 288) and Dan Kasper STERNBERG (no. 224).

Pontoise had good 2012/13 season and now FREITAS, WANG Jian Jun, KARLSSON and FLORE are faced with big task in the new beginning. They expect new Russian champion and one of MECL favorites UMMC which changed its no. 1. Japanese Jun MIZUTANI takes leading role from Chinese defender HOU Yingchao, and other players are Croatian TAN, host SHIBAEV and Portuguese MONTEIRO.

New champions of Bundesliga, Werder Bremen opens 2013/14 MECL season on their soil, against newcomer from Austria. CHUANG Chih-Yuan, Adrian CRISAN, Constantin CIOTI and Paul DRINKHALL are able even for the top, so it’s clear how hard MECL debut expects Austrians (ZHAN Jian, Zolt PETE, Dominique PLATTNER, Lehel DEMETER). Werder had superb start in national league, beating Saarbrucken 3:0 without losing any set.

“Our team has prepared very well during summer and is highly motivated for playing at the MECL for the first time. However, SV Werder Bremen surely is one of the top teams in the MECL. Having their last match against Saarbrücken in mind, which they won without even losing one set, our (quite high) expectation is to win at least one game, as well as gaining some experience for our future matches within the MECL”.

MEN`S EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ROUND 1

GROUP A: Orenburg – Angers (September 6th, 12h20 CET)
GROUP B: Saarbrucken – Eslov (September 6th, 19h30 CET), Pontoise – UMMC (September 7th, 19h45 CET)
GROUP C: Werder – Walter Wels (September 6th, 19h00 CET)
GROUP D: Niederosterreich – Borussia (September 4th, 19h00 CET, live and free on Laola.tv)

Alex MILETIC, EWT

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