TTCLM draw: Two champions in Group A
The draw was held today, July 6th, in Saarbrucken: defending champion and 11-times winner Borussia Dusseldorf (No. 1 seed) and two-times champion AS Pontoise Cergy (No. 6) share Group A
The 2018/19 Table Tennis Champions League Men draw, held today at the Victor's Residenz-Hotel in Saarbrücken, delivered Group A with two champions, actual one, Borussia Dusseldorf (No. 1 seed) and former TTCLM winner AS Pontoise Cergy. These two clubs have won 13 titles in total: German side holds record with 11, while French team was crowned twice. The draw was held with the presence of ETTU President Ronald KRAMER.
Other two teams in the Group A are 2017/18 TTCLM semi-finalist, Portugal`s champion Sporting (No. 9 seed) and Czech Republic`s Table Tennis Club Ostrava 2016 (No. 13).
“It will of course be difficult again this year, the other clubs are very good. Our group is interesting. We will once again play against many friends. Although when it’s match time, we won’t be friends for 3-4 hours – but we will of course be fair!”, stated Andreas PREUSS, Borussia Dusseldorf`s Manager.
Group B brings clashes between 2012 TTCLM runner-up UMMC from Russia, last year`s newcomer and quarter-finalist Stella Sport La Romagne (No. 12), Poland`s KS Dekorglass Dzialdowo and Austria`s Walter Wels.
The 2012 semi-finalist Saarbrucken (No. 4 seed) from Germany is the favorite of Group C, challenged by Bogoria Grodzisk Mazowiecki from Poland, France`s Angers and Denmark`s Roskilde, last season`s quarter-finalist.
Four-times winner and current runner-up Fakel Gazprom Orenburg, 2016 runner-up Eslovs, former quarter-finalist Hennebont from France and this year`s newcomer Muhlhausen from Germany, will share Group D.
Top 16 European clubs are going to fight for the title in this prestigious competition established in 1960 under the name of Europe Club of Champions. Two best sides from each group will secure their places in the knockout stage.
A total 34 players ranked among the Top 100 at the ITTF World Ranking list are promising spectacular season, with some new names, like UMMC`s FANG Bo from China (actual No. 32), the runner-up from the 2015 ITTF World Championships in Suzhou.
Many clubs have made significant changes in their line-ups. Defending champion Borussia signed the 2018 ITTF African-Cup winner Omar ASSAR (WR 17) instead of Stefan FEGERL, while 2017/18 TTCLM runner-up Orenburg has parted ways with former Assian champion Jun MIZUTANI and signed 2015 ITTF European Championships silver medalist Marcos FREITAS (WR 16). Four-time TTCLM champion Fakel Gazprom now has three former Borussia`s players: Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (WR 3), Marcos FREITAS and Vladimir SAMSONOV (WR 26).
No. 3 seed and 2012 runner-up UMMC strengthened its line-up with one more world class player, Jonathan GROTH (WR 19) from Denmark. No. 4 Saarbrucken kept just one member from its last year`s starting trio, Patrick FRANZISKA (WR 25), while LIAO Cheng-Ting (WR 46) and Darko JORGIC (WR 67) are new names.
Sporting Clube de Portugal, actual No. 9 seed and last season`s semi-finalists, is continuing with the same line-up from their debuting campaign: Aruna QUADRI (WR 22), Joao MONTEIRO (WR 71), Diogo CARVALHO (WR 194).
German Post SV Mühlhausen 1951 e.V, the 2018/19 No. 10 seed, will be unique TTCLM newcomer. They will be represented by former Niederosterreich`s Daniel HABESOHN (WR 53), Ovidiu IONESCU (WR 64), Lubomir JANCARIK (WR 113) and Steffen MENGEL (358).
More information: here