ECLW quarter-finals: Metz and Linz never-ending fightPhoto: PLOHE
2019/20 ECLW quarter-finals, leg no.1, January 10th
Never-ending fight between Metz TT and Linz AG Froschberg will be uplifted to another stage in the upcoming 2019/20 European Champions League Women quarter-finals, having first leg scheduled for this Friday, January 10th, 19:30 CET. Former two-time ECLW champion Linz AG Froschberg (no. 2 seed) travels to France, to meet 2017/18 Europe Cup winner Metz TT (France, no. 10). European no.1 Under 21 player Adina DIACONU and her teammates will try to stop best ranked European player at the ITTF Rankings Sofia POLCANOVA (world no.14) who has 5-2 win-loss record after group stage.
It will be a fourth knockout clash between these two clubs in last five seasons. Austrian team emerged victorious in previous three meetings, each time in the quarter-finals. First match-up, 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. Gunther RENNER’s side eliminated Metz in 2018/19 quarter-finals, after two 3:2 wins.
"We expect again full house in Metz, always thrilling to see the massive number of fans in France. Traditionally we have expectations to win, but both teams can act on the same level, the match day performance will decide, and which team is more hungry will finally make it", stressed Linz president Gunther RENNER.
Reigning ECLW champion KTS Enea Siarka Tarnobrzeg (Poland, no. 3 seed) faces last year’s ECLW quarter-finalist SKST Stavoimpex Hodonin (Czech Republic, no. 5). Former Tarnobrzeg’s Natalia PARTYKA is going to host her compatriots in the leg no.1 to be held in the Czech city of Hodonin. Polish champion enters knockout phase unbeaten (4-0, Group C), as well as its best player HAN Ying (6-0), but host side prepares strong respond with Hong Kong’s NG Wing Nam (6-1).
Four-time ECLW champion TTC Berlin Eastside (Germany, no. 1 seed) is going to play against 2015/16 ECLW semi-finalist and 2018/19 Europe Cup winner, UCAM Cartagena TM (Spain, no. 7). Berlin, who beat twice Spanish side last year in a group stage, is a huge favorite in this match-up. Sweden’s player Matilda EKHOLM faces her former club.
Three-times in a row ECLW quarter-finalist in the last four seasons, TT Saint-Quentinois (France, no. 4) will meet ECLW newcomer GIRBAU VIC TT (Spain, no. 11) aiming its very first semi-finals. Polina MIKHAILOVA (5-0) and Sofia-Xuan ZHANG (4-1) should take leading roles in this meeting.
"For the fourth time in five seasons, TT Saint-Quentin is through the ECLW quarter finals. It is a new challenge against another Spanish team, Girbau-Vic TT, runner-up of the 2018 ETTU Cup. After the first place in Group B, coach Franck DELCAMBRE would like to keep on the good results with the same players: Canadian Mo ZHANG, French Aurore LE MANSEC and Russians Polina MIKHAILOVA and Olga MIKHAYLOVA. The opposition will be strong with four international players, including Sofia-Xuan ZHANG. The result of the away match should influence the February match in Saint-Quentin where the French public would like to support their favourites. Both clubs have never reached the ECLW semi-finals. What a challenge", stated Jean-Louis POLARD, TT Saint-Quentin team manager.
Three ECLW champions enter knockout stage unbeaten: former four-time winner TTC Berlin Eastside 4-0 (12-1), actual champion KTS Enea Siarka Tarnobrzeg 4-0 (12-2) and two-time winner Linz AG Froschberg 4-0 (12-5).
Linz's Chief Marketing Officer Robert Renner commented on the "upcoming ECLV 2020/21 revolution":
Linz's head of marketing Robert Renner commented "the upcoming revolution of 2020/21 ECLW":
"It`s a good development to tighten the period the ECLW is played in including quarterfinals, because who can understand a 10 months season with 5 home matches maximum. Getting more focus from media and for sponsors should be easier then, shorten the duration of a Team Matches and the single matches inside a team match to reach the window of an 90-120 minutes, that should make it more relaxed for the spectators and easier to handle for the broadcasters. The biggest step forward will be the ranking/qualification for ECLW through Clubs results/all-time table with three years recalculation. All these impulses could have huge positive impacts on the future of ECLW, and I`m personally thankful to ETTU Executive Board to give our league the chance to make this step."
2019/20 ECLW quarter final, leg 1, January 10th
SKST Stavoimpex Hodonin (CZE) – KTS Enea Siarka Tarnobrzeg (POL) 18:00 CET
UCAM Cartagena TM (ESP) - TTC Berlin Eastside (GER) 19:00 CET
Girbau-Vic TT (ESP) - TT Saint Quentinois (FRA) 19:00 CET
Metz TT (FRA) – Linz AG Froschberg (AUT) 19:30 CET