Champions League Men

Czech champions HB Ostrov Havlíčkův Brod looking forward duel against Borges Vall

Photo: Courtesy Jaroslav Odstrcilik / Czech Table Tennis Association

Czech champion HB Ostrov Havlíčkův Brod will play in the Champions League after six years. And in addition, they host one for the groups of the 1st stage of the competition. Birell Arena will welcome the Spanish team ASISA Borges Vall, the Italian Top Spin Messina Fontalba and the Portuguese GDCS Juncal.

There will be a big fight for one promotion spot to the 2nd stage. Havlíčkův Brod played in the European Cup last season and finished in the quarterfinals. Before the new season, however, he strengthened his line-up and will also play in the Champions League with the Czech representative Pavel ŠIRUČEK. Another new player in the HB Ostrov jersey is Tomáš MARTINKO, the trio of Tomáš TREGLER, Michal OBEŠLO and Dmitrij PROKOPCOV remained from last season.

 "Since only the winner of the group will advance to the next stage of the tournament, I am satisfied with the draw. The group does not have any big favorites and the chances of promotion are even," said club manager Miroslav JINEK.

The fans are especially looking forward to the match against the Spanish ASISA Borges Vall, who the Czech club eliminated last season in the quarter-finals of the European Cup after the "golden match". The two previous ones ended with a ratio of 3:2. Viktor BRODD will be the support of the Spanish club again this year, other players on the roster are Marc DURAN, Joan MASIP, Alberto LILLO and Jose Louis ANDRADE.

The Italian Top Spin Messina Fontalba will also be a tough opponent. Last season, he won the second title in the club's history. Portuguese Joao MONTEIRO and Ukrainian Jaroslav ŽMUDENKO left the team, but two new reinforcements arrived. The Italian international Matteo MUTTI will have his older brother Leonardo by his side, as well as the Polish Robert FLORAS. Other members of the team are Marco Rech DALDOSSO and Marcelo PUGLISI.

Portugal's vice-champion GDCS Juncal will be the fourth team in Group A. Last year in the European Cup in Havlíčkův Brod, they lost 0:3 to the home team, but this year everything may be different. The team consists of Kirill SCHVETS and the pair of Romanians Eduard IONESCU and Mihai SARGU. The fourth is Jose Miguel MAGALGAES.