Champions League Men | 3 Sep 2014
Pontoise crown amid Russians and Germans
Who wants to predict the next Men’s European Champions League winner?! It seemed that everybody knew the answer last year, but it was a blunder. Nobody, except maybe a few Pontose`s members or fans, wondered French club having a chance in battle with Germ
Who wants to predict the next Men’s European Champions League winner?! It seemed that everybody knew the answer last year, but it was a blunder. Nobody, except maybe a few Pontose`s members or fans, wondered French club having a chance in battle with Germans and Russians. But, AS Pontoise Cergy shocked Fakel Gazproma Orenburg in the final, becoming the first winner from France since inaugural 1998/1999 season when Caen beat Borussia.
The last finalists now will meet in group stage (A), starting competition on home ground in Round 1: Fakel Gazproma Orenburg – Olimpia Unia Grudziadz (September 6th, 13h20 CET), Pontoise Cergy – Roskilde Bordtennis (September 6th, 19h45 CET). “We in Roskilde are happy to be back in “the good” company again. We got a very strong group with the number one seed, Orenburg and last years winner Pontoise. So it looks a little bit hard, but we hope that we can show some good table tennis and that MAZE will be fit to challenge some off the good players. We will do our best and maybe hope for third spot in the group, with some good play and a little luck. About first match away against last years winner Pontoise, very difficult, there players also just show good form in Czech Open… We look forward to the match, but don’t have so high expextations to the result”, stressed Roskilde`s team manager and player Allan BENTSEN his passion for this game means a lot for MECL.
Orenburg and Pontoise are continuing with same line-ups. Russian champion is third consecutive time no. 1 seed, having Dimitrij OVTCHAROV (world’s no. 4), three times single ECH gold medalist Vladimir SAMSONOV (no. 12) and former Euro Top 12 winner Alexey SMIRNOV (no. 71). Pontoise plays with its winning trio – Marcos FREITAS (no. 13), WANG Jian Jun (n. r) and Kristian KARLSSON (no. 75) – and, of course, promising Tristan FLORE waits for his chance.
“This is first season in history for my club in Champions League”, said Olimpia`s team manager Adam NOWAKOWSKI. “We are waiting for first match with Orenburg becouse we be play with one of the best club in Europe. All fans in Grudziadz wait for Champions League. We know about the good players who play in other teams but we have good team. in this “death group”. We have good players Yoshida Kaii, Bartosz SUCH, WANG Yang or HUANG Sheng Sheng. Bartek play in Borussia and Pontoise he like play in Europe and he don’t have stress before the matches. YOSHIda is a star and one of the best players who play in Poland. Young Patryk ZATOWKA have strong head and play without the stress. He won in Poland with WANG Zeng Yi, Pawel FERTIKOWSKI, Robert FLORAS, Bartosz SUCH. Olimpia-Unia Grudziadz be fight for win in all matches and we would advance to the next phase of the competition.
Favorite of Group B is French champion Chartres ASTT who was eliminated due to regulations at the end of year’s group stage (Singaporean GAO Ning played in Chinese Super League). Chartres kept same team which played in 2012/13 final: GAO Ning (world’s no. 11), Robert GARDOS (no. 30) and Par GERELL (no. 48). They will meet the 2008 MECL champion Weinviertel Niederosterreich this Friday. Werner SCHLAGER`s era was ended, so now Stefan FEGERL and Daniel HABESOHN have to confirm that they are capable to keep club on high level. CHEN Weixing left the team after many years and his place will take other well recognized defender, Chinese HOU Yingchao.
The 2012/2013 German champion Werder Bremen expects Eslov AI from. Thomas ANDERSSON, Eslov`s president of Swedish club, says: “We have a strong group and will have some very tough matches. However, this season XU Hui will represent the club in all of the matches in the Champions League as well all the matches in the Swedish League. XU Hui along with Robert SVENSSON who is very experienced and had several big wins in the MECL last season accounting for Bastian STEGER and Tiago APOLONIA. Mattias OVERSJO also performed well in the MECL last season beating Alexander SHIBAEV. The final team member is Simon BERGLUND a very talented Swedish International Junior player, he will be looking to gain experience at this level. Our goal as a club is to reach the quarter final stages qualifying through the groups”.
Werder Bremen made one big change (Bastian STEGER from Saarbrucken instead CHIANG Chih Yuan).
UMMC is the top seeded team in Group C, expecting last season’s semi-finalist Vaillante Angers this Fiday. Sten Marketing HB Ostrov goes to Saarbrucken which coach Slobodan GRUJIC emphasized: “Our goal is to reach at least quarter final. I am convinced that we can reach this goal if all players stay fit during the season. For Friday I think we have a very hard match against Ostrov. Their players will be very motivated. But I believe in our victory.”
From the other side Ostrov`s president Jan HRNCIRIK messages: “We know our opponent from Saarbrucken has very strong team. For us, every single match victory will be considered as a success”
Group D will confront on the opening day German and Polish champion, Borussia Dusseldorf and Bogoria Grodzisk (September 5th, 19h00 CET, live on LAOLA1.tv), as well as French GV Hennebont and new Austrian champion SPG Walter Wels (September 5th, 19h30 CET)
The 2014/15 MECL Round 1
GROUP A: Fakel Gazproma Orenburg – Olimpia Unia Grudziadz (September 6th, 13h20 CET); Pontoise Cergy – Roskilde Bordtennis (September 6th, 19h45 CET)
GROUP B: Chartres ASTT – Weinviertel Niederosterreich (September 5th, 19h00 CET); Werder Bremen – Eslovs AI (September 5th, 19h00 CET, live on LAOLA1.tv)
GROUP C: UMMC – Vaillante Angers (September 5th, 15h00 CET); FC Saarbrucken – Sten Marketing HB Ostrov (September 5th, 19h00 CET, live on LAOLA1.tv)
GROUP D: Borussia Dusseldorf – Bogoria Grodzisk (September 5th, 19h00 CET, live on LAOLA1.tv); GV Hennebont – SPG Walter Wels (September 5th, 19h30 CET).