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Champions League Men - 11 Mar 2015

Linz likes underdog role


It remains just two more games in the Women`s European Champions League which will decide the winner of the 2014/15 edition. The first final leg will be held this Sunday in Austria where two times WECL winner Linz AG Froschberg hosts actual runner-up and

It remains just two more games in the Women`s European Champions League which will decide the winner of the 2014/15 edition. The first final leg will be held this Sunday in Austria where two times WECL winner Linz AG Froschberg hosts actual runner-up and top seeded Fenerbahce.

Turkish champion is considered as a clear favorite, but they face upcoming clash with a clear warning from the latest final when they were upset by TTC Berlin Eastside. Fenerbahce is still unbeaten this season, having 8-0 score and losing just five sets in total, while Austrian side has 6-2, but buoyed by two fast wins in the semi-finals against domestic rival SVNO STROCK.

“We expect a sold out playing venue here in Linz. We specially activated in addition to our fans, the Turkey community in Linz. At least half of them are really in love with the Club of Fenerbahce Istanbul, I think the other half is for Galatasaray or Besiktas”, said Linz`s President Günther RENNER speaking about fan attitude of the Turkish.

Froschberg won twice WECL, in 2009 and 2013, playing two more times in the final. Coach BIAN Yadong combined five players in eight matches so far, with an excellent outcome of LI Xiaodan (8-0 score). Other four are LIU Jia (7-5), Sofia POLCANOVA (4-1), Iveta VECENOVSKA (3-3) and Camelia POSTOACA (1-0). They are aware that the biggest threat for them will be for sure the world`s no. 7, Chinese WU Yang, the best ranked player in the competition. But, Günther RENNER stressed that the 14 times Austrian champion is able to play against anybody:

“We are now the fifth time in the final, it`s not very new for us, but it could be new for some players of our young team, but also for WU Yang. We are happy that we are at the top of Europe again, now we want to have the summit cross. It was no easy season for us, but LI Xiaodan helped us in critical situations to get over it. Now we expect more input and greed from our home grown players. Nobody knows if a club can reach the Champions League Final again year for year, so every players has to find a way to compete on the highest level that is possible. The pressure is absolutely on the side of Fenerbahce, I think they need to win the title, we don`t. Usually we are best when we are underestimated, I hope this is still the same.”

Returning match comes on April 4th in Istanbul. Linz has a chance to become the first club with three WECL crowns, while Fenerbahce plays for its very first title.

Alex MILETIC, EWT

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