Champions League Men | 10 Mar 2015
MECL top seed with best line-up in Austria
After seven weeks break, the 2014/15 Men`s European Champions League continues by the 1st semi-final matches this Friday and Saturday. One of two games will be held in Wolkersdorf, Austria, where Wienviertel Niederosterreich hosts Fakel Gazproma Orenburg
After seven weeks break, the 2014/15 Men`s European Champions League continues by the 1st semi-final matches this Friday and Saturday. One of two games will be held in Wolkersdorf, Austria, where Wienviertel Niederosterreich hosts Fakel Gazproma Orenburg (Saturday, March 14th, 17h00 CET).
“There is no doubt that Fakel Gazprom Orenburg is favorite. Our players promise to do their best to make great matches”, stressed Niederosterreich`s President Dr Johann FRIEDSCHRÖDER.
The 14 times Austrian champion and 2008 MECL winner played variable during the group stage, but finished on the top of the Group B having 4-2 score. In the opening round, held in Chartres, the team showed how dangerous it could be, beating GAO Ning & Company 3:0 (9-1). Strong Chinese defender HOU Yingchao played the 15 individually matches so far, more than any other MECL player this season, having 12-3 score (39-14). He won all four his encounters in the quarter final against Bogoria, beating twice OH Sang Eun. Stefan FEGERL (5-5) and Daniel HABESOHN (5-4) contributed enough to secure semi-final spot for their side.
Two times MECL champion, Orenburg is aiming its third title. The team spends the last stage of the preparation in Dusseldorf. Dimitrij OVTCHAROV missed recent German Championships because of the injury received last Thursday during the practice, but he will be in the squad of the Russian champion.
Coach of Fakel Gazproma Orenburg Valeriy SALABAEV said: “Our rival is very strong and our team is preparing for this duel very carefully. We are having a training session in Dusseldorf where we’ll try to design the forthcoming match. Our team is incredibly motivated and determined to win this hardest battle. We are going to play with our best forces and do our best to create a kind of a margin for our home match.”
As in the previous five seasons, Orenburg easily passed its group (5-1) suffering just one defeat, from the last year`s champion Pontoise Cergy. In the semis they beat twice 3:0 Saarbrucken. All three Fakel Gazproma`s players fulfilled expectations of their coach so far: Dimitrij OVTCHAROV 7-1 score (26-8 in sets), Vladimir SAMSONOV 7-1 (23-7) and Alexei SMIRNOV 6-2 (20-12).
Other semi-final clash will be held in Chartres where French champion expects ten times European champion Borussia Dusseldorf (Friday, March 13th, 19h00 CET).