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Champions League Men - 23 Jan 2014

Pontoise plays the last trump


Men’s European Champions League is continuing this Friday and Sunday with four quarter-final games, but two of them are returning matches. Werder Bremen and Niederosterreich are very close to the semis, after excellent performances in first legs against P

Men’s European Champions League is continuing this Friday and Sunday with four quarter-final games, but two of them are returning matches. Werder Bremen and Niederosterreich are very close to the semis, after excellent performances in first legs against Pontoise and Angers respectively, while other four clubs are ready to play their first quarter final games: Hennebont – UMMC (January 24th, 19h30 CET), Borussia – Orenburg (January 26th, 13h00 CET, live on LAOLA1.tv).

According to the regulations, UMMC should be a host in first match against French side, but two clubs agreed to change it because of Hennebont`s problem with Russian visas. Russian champion plays its five consecutive MECL season, having always the biggest possible goal, but still has no title. This time Tatyana KUTERGINA`s side believes that Jun MIZUTANI (new no. 1 of UMMC, replaced HOU), Alexander SHIBAEV, Joao MONTEIRO and TAN Ruiwu are winning combination. They were playing in hot-cold style during the group stage (2nd place in B), but Japanese MIZUTANI reacted very well after critics that he got from coach KUTERGINA.

Hennebont surprisingly won the top spot of Group C, managing to beat away German champion Werder Bremen 3:0. Kalinikos KREANGA reminded on his best days against CHUANG Chih-Yuan and with him in that shape, French club is able fTwo top seeds will meet in Dusseldorf: Borussia – Orenburg. They won last five MECL titles, Borussia 2009-11, Orenburg 2012-13 and it will be interesting to see two powerful clubs in this stage. Timo BOLL & Co. got a second chance after poor performances in Group D (all four losses), thanks to disqualifications of Chartres. All six players in that clash are among the best 50 on ITTF ranking-list.

“I think the pressure is on the side of Orenburg”, says Borussia`s played, Indian Kamal ACHANTA. “They are number one in Europe at the moment. I hope that we will see two close and high-class matches in Düsseldorf and Orenburg to have a good advertisement for our sport.”

Two semi finalists will be known this weekend. Last week Werder beat Pontoise 3:0 at home, while Niederosretreich defeated Angers 3:1, playing in France.

During the group stage “The Greens” were far from the shape from last season, when they became German champions, but the team played unbelievable in first quarter final leg. The crucial moment was Adrian CRISAN`s win against WANG Jian Jun. Chinese led 2:1 in sets, but Romanian concluded the game winning 13:11 ultimate chapter. On the other side, Pontoise performed excellent in first six rounds, winning last five matches in a row. French club needs better win than 3:0 (9:5) to progress.

The 2008 MECL champion Niederosterreich did a big step to 2013/14 MECL semis, winning 1st quarter final game at Angers 3:1. Daniel HABESOHN pushed his team to the victory, defeating the 2013 European Championship’s bronze medalist Panagiotis GIONIS in opening clash. Angers counted on two points from Greek, who brought two victories against reigning champion Orenburg (against OVTCHAROV and SAMSONOV) but he suffered that night one more loss, from CHEN Weixing.

The 2013/14 MECL quarter-finals

First leg
Borussia – Orenburg (January 26th, 13h00 CET, live on LAOLA1.tv)
Hennebont – UMMC (January 24th, 19h30 CET)
Werder Bremen – AS Pontoise 3:0
Angers – Niederosterreich 1:3

Second leg
Orenburg – Borussia (January 31st, 12h20 CET)
UMMC – Hennebont (January 28th, 14h00 CET)
AS Pontoise – Werder Bremen (January 24th, 19h45 CET, live on LAOLA1.tv)
Niederosterreich – Angers (January 26th, 19h45 CET, live on LAOLA1.tv)

Alex MILETIC, EWT

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