The 2017/18 Table Tennis Champions League Men draw: Winners of the last six seasons in Group A
Four times winner and reigning champion Fakel-Gazprom Orenburg will face double champion AS Pontoise Cergy in group stage
The draw for the 2017/18 Table Tennis Champions League Men, held today (Jun 29th) in Paris, gathered again the best 16 European clubs.
Winners of the last six seasons will play in the same group (A). They are four times winner, defending champion and No. 1 seed, Fakel-Gazprom Orenburg (won TTCLM 2012, 2013, 2015, 2017) and double champion, No. 8 seed AS Pontoise Cergy (2014, 2016). Their opponents in that group are former TTCLM quarter-finalist, K.S. Dartom Bogoria Grodzisk Mazowiecki (No. 12) from Poland, and newcomer Sporting Clube de Portugal (No. 13).
Four participants who reached TTCLM semi-finals in the last five years will share Group B. The 2012 runner-up and actual No. 4 seed UMMC (new Russian champion) is named as a favorite, but each club sees its chance in this well balanced group. No. 5 seed and 2012 semi-finalist from Germany, Saarbrucken (in 2012 semi-final they were beaten by UMMC after very close returning game) will again target at least quarter-final, but same ambitions have 2013 runner-up Chartres AS TT (France, No. 10 seed) and 2016 finalist Eslövs AI BTK (Sweden, No. 14).
The 2009 runner-up TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen (Germany, No. 3 seed) and actual ETTU Cup winner Stella Sport La Romagne (France, No. 7) are considered as favorites in Group C. But, they must confirm it against well experienced challengers, TTC Ostrava 2016 (Czech Reoublic, No. 11) and SPG Walter Wels (Austria, No. 15).
Record holder with 10 TTCLM titles Borussia Dusseldorf, two times runner-up in last three seasons (2014/15, 2016/17) is the biggest name in Group D. Timo BOLL & Co. again start as No. 2 seed, followed by strong Polish side, TTCLM newcomer K.S. Dekorglass Dzialdowo (No. 6) who has world No. 7 WONG Chun Ting from Hong Kong. Other two teams in this group are former TTCLM quarter-finalist GV Hennebont (France, No. 9) and Roskilde Bordtennis BTK 61 (Denmark, No. 16).
The draw was guided by ETTU Deputy Secretary General Pierre KASS and ETTU Ranking Committee Chairman Igor HELLER.
Last season was concluded by the clash between Fakel-Gazprom Orenburg and Borussia Dusseldorf. Russian club managed to return on the top, beating German side 6:2 in aggregate score (3:0 away, 3:2 home). Japanese MIZUTANI finished season with a perfect 16-0 individual score. Orenburg is again stressed as clear favorite, as it continues with one of the strongest ever line-ups in TTCLM: Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, Jun MIZUTANI, Vladimir SAMSONOV.
The 2017/18 TTCLM groups (with seeding place and points)
(1) Fakel-Gazprom Orenburg (RUS) 8343
(8) AS Pontoise Cergy TT (FRA) 6946
(12) K.S. Dartom Bogoria Grodzisk Mazowiecki (POL) 6390
(13) Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR) 6332
(4) TTSC UMMC (RUS) 7225
(5) FC Saarbrücken TT (GER) 7130
(10) Chartres ASTT (FRA) 6683
(14) Eslövs AI BTK (SWE) 6329
(3) TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen (GER) 7556
(7) Stella Sport La Romagne (FRA) 6959
(11) TTC Ostrava 2016 (CZE) 6552
(15) SPG Walter Wels (AUT) 6100
(2) Borussia Düsseldorf (GER) 7658
(6) K.S. Dekorglass Dzialdowo (POL) 7036
(9) GV Hennebont TT (FRA) 6908
(16) Roskilde Bordtennis BTK 61 (DEN) 5928