European Championships

Germany's rejuvenated team clinched gold in Cluj

In the battle of the epic proportion Germany clinched the gold medal in the Women's Team Event at the GAZPROM European Team Championships in Cluj. In the fantastic final they overcame Romania. Portugal and France won bronze medals.

It is the sixth title for Germany in Women's Team Event at the Continental championships (they already won in 2015, 2014, 2013, 1998 and 1996. West-Germany won it twice, 1968 and 1962). On the other side, Romania was halted on their way to rewrites the history books with the third consecutive gold (previously they won it in 2019, 2017, 2005, 2002, 1992.).

The winner of the recently held POMEGRANATE Europe Top 16 Cup, Nina MITTELHAM overcame Bernadette SZOCS in the opening match of the final. World's no. 31 MITTELHAM was extended the full 5 games distance by World's no. 24 SZOCS (8:11, 11:7, 9:11, 11:9, 10:12), but in nerves wrecking finish Germany secured the lead. In the decisive game Bernadette had advantage 9:5, before Nina recovered to win the match.

Nina also beat Elizabeta SAMARA in the fourth match of the encounter (10:12, 11:8, 9:11, 11:9, 7:11).

“I did not expect I will play against SZOCS at the beginning. She is very dangerous player and I personaly finds difficult to play against her style of play. She won the opening game, but I recovered and generally I think that the mental strength was the key to success. I remember being 5:9 down in the decisive game against SZOCS, but I can not tell how I managed to win. I just kept on playing point after point,” said NINA.

Bernadette SZOCS (1995) and Nina MITTELHAM (1996) had a number of big matches in youth championships, in particular in EYC 2013 when Mittelham beat SZOCS in 2 semifinals (singles and doubles) and SZOCS won the doubles.

Sabine WINTER overcame Elizabeta SAMARA in straight games (6:11, 9:11, 10:12). Her match was remarkable. She managed to put almost every ball on the table.

“I played against her three months ago at the European Championship in Warsaw, in the quarterfinals, so I knew what I was going to expect, I prepared well and I’m happy that I managed to play very well, keep calm and won the match in the end.”

Did you felt prepared for another game if Nina lost the last one?

“I was prepared. Somehow, yesterday I was really nervous when Nina played the 2nd match. I didn’t want to play again. But today I was pretty relaxed, I would have been ready and I was just enjoying to play in front of this crowd even tho they would cheering against us. The atmosphere was good and it was a lot of fun to play this final, ”added Sabina.

In close five games match Daniela MONTEIRO DODEAN created the chance for Romania. She brought back her team in game again with the win over the Under 21 European champion Chantal MANTZ (7:11, 11:7, 11:8, 5:11, 7:11), but it did not last for long.

“It is so hard to speak now. We have silver in front of home crowd, we delivered a good final, but it hurt so much that we could not crowned such performance with gold. We wanted to give that joy to our supporters...” said SAMARA.

Young team of Germany played first ever Championships in this composition. But despite the fact that Germany's no. 1, 2 and 3 SOLJA, HAN and SHAN are not in this team, these players also have good records. Nina won the Top 16 last week, Sabine has 2 European women's doubles titles, Chantal won the EC U21 in 2017 and Annett won 3 titles in the U15 EYC 2021.

“This whole tournament was so challenging because just two days before the start our first player Petrissa SOLJA got sick and we couldn’t count oh her. I was strongly believing in our young player that they are in top shape having a good team spirit being able to beat anyone. To be honest I was not dreaming that we could win the gold. We went step by step; our first goal was to pass the group and then we want a medal against Poland. The final against Romania was the hardest match. The girls played unbelievable good. Sabine in her match against Samara won 3 – 0. It was for the very first time when she won against her. I am so happy that I don’t have words to describe my feelings”, said coach Tamara BOROS.

Romania played in 12 finals in total, they were in 6 of the last 7, they only missed 2014 (Germany played against Austria). SAMARA, SZOCS and DODEAN played in all their 6 last finals.