ECLW: Linz and Metz ready for new stage in their rivalry
ECLW quarter-finals, Leg 2 (Feb 8-11). RENNER (Linz): "I think we are really ready to win". BORDES (Metz): "We must push up our level for hope". PALINA (Berlin): "We are not favourites". MIKESKA: "It will be fight over every ball."
Two-time ECLW champion Linz AG Froschberg hosts actual ETTU Cup winner Metz TT in the second quarter-final leg of 2018/19 ECLW this Sunday (February 10th, 16:15), after 3:2 away win two weeks ago. It will be a third knockout clash between these two teams in last four seasons. Austrian team won previous two meetings, both in the quarter-final stage. First one, in 2015/16, has been decided by just one-point difference – 5:5 in matches (19:19 sets, 347:346 points), while the second one, in 2016/17, Linz won 6-2 on aggregate.
"We are hungry for a victory now, POLCANOVA’s health condition looks good, Minnie SOO and Linda BERGSTROM play better and better, so the upward trend continues. I can`t even think about the chance that the international season could be over for us after Sunday. I think we are really ready to win", stated Linz’s president Gunther RENNER.
SOO Minnie won two games in Metz, against DING Yaping and Adina DIACONU who lost to Sofia POLCANOVA too. Carole GRUNDISCH beat Linda BERGSTROM, while DING overcame POLCANOVA to secure two points for French side.
"Everything is possible in table tennis, we must focus on every move, every second and every ball, risk when it`s time for it and play safe also sometimes. The match play decides and not the ranking, so it doesn’t mean anything that people say we are the favourites," explained Linz’s coach Zsolt HARCZI.
Metz’s president Philippe BORDES is looking forward to new clash with Linz:
"We are going to play third time against Linz this Sunday, in their great sport hall ... and we need to be full power in order to fight! Because it is a strong team, clearly favorite. Last weekend Sofia POLCANOVA was bronze medallist at Europe Top 16 Montreux, high performance too. First leg in Metz, we have lost 3:2 and we must now push up our level for hope... We will see soon!
Four-time ECLW champion TTC Berlin Eastside was favourite against SKST Hodonín – STAVOIMPEX, but Czech side won first leg 3:1, thanks to GUO Ruichen. Their second match will be held this Friday (February 8th, 18:30).
"Unfortunately, in the match on Friday, we are not favorites. We created this situation ourselves, the question is whether we can change it. To do this, all three players need the best game and a bit of luck," emphasized Berlin’s coach Irina PALINA.
Hodonin’s coach Jaroslav MIKESKA believes that his side faces another hard encounter with German team:
"First of all, we are all looking forward to the next quarter-final match against Berlin. As I already said before the first game, for our club it is historical moment to be in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and we were very happy that we could beat such a good team in the first leg. But again in the second leg I expect very close matches as it was in the first leg in Hodonín and it is still opened, because everything can happen. Of course we will try to do our best in every game in Berlin and we will see how the match will finish. For sure it will be fight over every ball. Everybody is healthy so we should play in the strongest setup and also our player Natalia PARTYKA proved herself in a good shape last week in Europe Top 16 Cup, where she finished in the 4th place. So, I think my team is quite decently prepared for the game in Berlin."
Reigning ECLW champion Dr CASL already booked its place among the best four teams (3:0 and 1:3 vs. Etival Clairefontaine), while two-time ECLW runner-up KTS Enea Siarka Tarnobrzeg hosts Sporting this Monday (February 11th, 18:00) after 3:1 away victory.
2018/19 ECLW quarter-finals
Dr. Časl - Etival Clairefontaine ASRTT 1:3
TTC Berlin Eastside - SKST STAVOIMPEX Hodonin (Feb 8, 18:30)
Linz AG Froschberg - Metz TT (Feb 10, 16:15)
KTS Enea Siarka Tarnobrzeg - Sporting Clube de Portugal (Feb 11, 18:00)
Etival Clairefontaine ASRTT – Dr. CASL 0:3
SKST STAVOIMPEX Hodonin – TTC Berlin Eastside 3:1
Metz TT – Linz AG Froschberg 2:3
Sporting Clube de Portugal – KTS Enea Siarka Tarnobrzeg 1:3