Champions League Men | 15 Feb 2023

TTC Neu-Ulm won the opening leg thriller against Borussia Düsseldorf

TTC Neu-Ulm won the opening leg of the Champions League semifinal against Borussia Düsseldorf. Unlike the German Cup Final Four on January 8, when they won first ever club’s title by beating Borussia Düsseldorf in straight matches, this time was much harder. In Pfaffenhofen the clash that gathered five players from the top 15 in the World, went full distance.

Borussia Düsseldorf, won their last Bundesliga duel against TTC Neu-Ulm 3-0 in Pfaffenhofen on November 13.

Fourth in the world rankings Tomokazu HARIMOTO arrived in Germany on Sunday evening to replace LIN Yun-Ju and tonight he gave his team dream start with the victory over World’s no. 10 Dang QIU (11:8, 7:11, 11:1, 11;8). In fourth match the 19-year-old Japanese lost to Anton KÄLLBERG who performed superbly tonight (11:7, 8:11, 8:11, 11:8, 4:6).

“I am very happy for my wins, and I am sure that we have a great chance on Sunday after today’s 2:3. We are all looking forward second leg. We will learn from today’s match what we can improve and to we will make sure that we do everything to beat them in next match,” said KALLBERG.

World’s number 11 Dimitrij OVTCHAROV, who celebrated his 500th victory in an individual competition at the WTT Contender in Amman (Jordan) last week and scored valuable points for the ranking list as a finalist, recorded one win tonight. He also lost to Anton KÄLLBERG who is currently ranked at the position no. 19 in the World (5:11, 10:12, 9:11), but in the decisive match he overcame Dang QIU (11:6, 11:13, 11:8, 11:8).

“Anton played amazingly tonight and he gave us two great victories. Unfortunately, me and Timo could not deliver another point for the team, but our chances are still there in the second leg. I hope it will be better in front of home crowd and that we will come out victorious,” said QIU.

World’s no. 6 Truls MÖREGARDH overcame World’s no. 15 Timo BOLL after he recovered from 1:2 in reverse (11:8, 7:11, 7:11, 11:5, 6:0).

“My match was very tough one. Timo and I had a lot of ups and downs. Also KALLBERG played very good today. He beat two players in Top 10 and now we hope we will break him next time,” said MÖREGARDH.”Now we put Borussia under pressure before the Sunday’s match, but we are aware how difficult is going to be. It will be very close, but our goal is to move forward and to win the title in Champions League.”

Timo BOLL said: “We feel that we missed some chances, but overall it was a quite good game for both teams. And most important thing is that we have new chance on our home soil to reach the final. However it is still a long way.”