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Champions League Men - 22 Jan 2014

Giants’ clash at sold-out ARAG Center Court


The clash of the titans will be held this Sunday (13h00 CET) in sold out ARAG Center Court at Dusseldorf, between ten times European champion Borussia and title holder Orenburg. German club took its last trophy beating Russians in the final, three years a

The clash of the titans will be held this Sunday (13h00 CET) in sold out ARAG Center Court at Dusseldorf, between ten times European champion Borussia and title holder Orenburg. German club took its last trophy beating Russians in the final, three years ago (2011), reaching third consecutive title, while now Orenburg has a chance to win third one in a row. They are top two seeds, but there is just one place for them into the semi final of MECL.

“Orenburg and Düsseldorf are number one and two seeded teams in Champions League. In this both clubs four of the five best European players are fighting for the ECL-title. I think Orenburg is the favorite but our players will take the chance we got to play quarter finals. The shape of every player on this Sunday, 26th, will make the difference in all the matches.”, stressed Borussia`s coach Danny HEISTER.

His colleague on Orenburg`s bench, Valeriy SALABAEV believes that his club is able to continue its winning streak in MECL: Borussia Dusseldorf is the most distinguished club in the European Champions League, a very strong rival. We lost the Men’s European Champions League 2010/2011 final against this club because of our big defeat in Dusseldorf. We’d like to gain our revenge this season. We are preparing for this duel very seriously. We are going to play with our best forces.”

Borussia played under all expectations during the group stage, losing all four games against Chartres and Niederosterreich (two from each club), but got a second chance after disqualification of French champion (because of GAO Ning`s participations in Chuinese Super League). Borussia`s Manager Andreas PREUSS is sure that his side could not be considered as favourite: We are happy to get a second chance in ECL this season. Our opponent could not have been stronger than the one that was drawn by lot. Orenburg is not only the defending champion it is also the top-favorite of the title this year. It will be our match of the year. The ARAG CenterCourt will be sold out, we will have a great atmosphere and the spectators will see world class table tennis. And finally Timo (BOLL) end Dima (OVTCHAROV) will fight to be number one in Germany.”

There are no secrets between these two great clubs, knowing that the main Orenburg`s players were Borussia`s members. The individual facts from both sided are incredible: world’s no. 8 Timo BOLL is six times European champion, no. 23 Patrick BAUM is twice silver-medallist of ECH, no. 6 Dimitrij OVTCHAROV is actual ECH winner and Olympic bronze medallist, no. 10 Vladimir SAMSONOV is three times ECH winner and actual runner-up (1997 World Championships runner-up), no. 44. Alexey SMIRNOV is former Europa Top 12 winner, no. 50 Kamal ACHANTA is 2004 Commonwealth Games champion…

“The last duel in 2011 we won against Orenburg in the final”, said Patrick BAUM. “Nearly all of the players from today have been part of the finals at that time. We have to remember that match and our great success. But nevertheless to my opinion we are the underdog. Dima (OVTCHAROV) is number 6 in the world, Vladi (SAMSONOV) number 10. Dima is on the highest level in his carrier and Vladi is playing very strong at the moment, too. Timo (BOLL) and myself, we didn’t play that good in the first months of this season. I hope that we will be at a high level against Orenburg and also Kamal (ACHANTA). Then we will have a chance to beat Orenburg.”

The rematch to be held on January 31st (12h20 CET), at Orenburg.

Alex MILETIC, EWT

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