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Champions League Men - 15 Jan 2015

High-class semis to appoint the finalists


The last two weeks of the month of January will show us who are the finalists of the 2014/15 Women`s European Champions League. For sure, Austria will have its representative in the ultimate chapter, bearing in mind that two club from that country will me

The last two weeks of the month of January will show us who are the finalists of the 2014/15 Women`s European Champions League. For sure, Austria will have its representative in the ultimate chapter, bearing in mind that two club from that country will meet in the semi final – SVNO STROCK – Linz AG Froschberg (1st leg, January 19th, 19h00 CET), while in other clash German TTC Berlin Eastside will fight against Turkish Fenerbahce (1st leg, January 17th, 19h00 CET).

When Linz plays against STROCK it`s always super motivation for both sides, so it`s clear that new amazing encounter will be seen at WSA Hall in Schwechat. Since WECL establishing Froschberg always played in semi finals, winning two titles, 2009 and 2013, while the best result of the youngest WECL club, STROCK, is the 2011/12 final. LIU Jia & Co. are 14 times Austrian champion, taking all national crowns from 1998 until now, except three which belonged to its biggest opponent STROCK (2011, 2012, 2014). Schwechat club is the actual national champion.

In the group stage Froschberg (4-2 score) showed more than STROCK (2-4), finishing on the top of Group B, in front of reigning WECL champion Belin Eastside. LI Xiaodan is still unbeaten (5-0). She won all her four games in both matches against German side, while LIU Jia lost all four. Regarding STROCK`s performances in Group A, they lost all four first rounds, but reached the semis thanks to the wins against Szekszard (3:0 home) and Zamek (3:2 away). After that game STROCK`s published on its website its new motto: “We have no reason to fear of anybody” ! But, Linz sent clear messages that the final is reserved for its girls. We`ll see after the returning leg, on January 22nd.

Top seeded Fenerbahce went to Germany with awareness of the last season`s final, when they were beaten in both games by TTC Berlin Eastside (3:2 away, 3:0 home). Turkish champion is again considered as big favorite for the crown, winning all six games in the group stage. With two strong Chinese options, WU Yang (world`s no. 7, the best ranked WECL player) and WEN Jia, actual runner-up has a big advantage.

On the other side, Berlin is fully motivated to repeat achievements in its best season ever (last year they reached all three titles, German League and Cup and WECL). Good thing for coach Irina PALINA is the fact that Georgina POTA plays excellent (she occupies her best ever no. 14 on ITTF WR list) and that Petrissa SOLJA confirmed that she is able to secure important points as team`s no. 3. Of course, SHAN Xiaona knows very well how big expectations are from her.

2014/15 WECL semi finals, leg1
TTC Berlin Eastside – Fenerbahce (January 17th, 19h00 CET)
SVNO STROCK – Linz AG Froschberg (January 19th, 19h00 CET)

Alex MILETIC, EWT

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