by Ian Marshall, ITTF Publications Editor
The end result: it was the champions of yesteryear with Timo Boll, Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Bastian Steger on duty, the no.2 seeds who prevailed; for the Austrian outfit comprising Robert Gardos, Stefan Fegerl and Daniel Habersohn, the no.10 seeds, it was defeat, medal chances had disappeared in the Brazilian afternoon air.
A three matches to one result was the outcome.
Timo Boll Provides Perfect Start
Absent injured and thus not on duty in Schwechat in 2014, the last time Germany secured the European crown, was Timo Boll but in the previous five editions, starting in Belgrade in 2007, he had been on duty and very much he had been the key player.
In Rio de Janeiro, he was the player sent out first by Jörg Rosskopf, the 1992 European champion and now for several years the head coach of the German Men’s Team.
Timo Boll duly repaid the faith displayed; a contest that was arguably closer than the straight games verdict suggested (14-12, 11-8, 12-10), it was first blood to Germany.
European champions a plenty, it was the current holder of the continent’s Men Singles title who was next into the arena for Germany.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov, like Timo Boll duly responded, he accounted for Stefan Fegerl in three straight games (11-7, 12-10, 11-8), the Austrian very much missing the opportunity when he held a point to level the match in the second game.
“Timo had beat Robert Gardos in the European Olympic Games qualification tournament in Halmstad; in the first game he was game point down, he had an edge. We knew Dima was in good shape, so we were confident.” Jörg Rosskopf
The momentum very much with Germany, Bastian Steger entered the theatre to partner Bastian Steger.
Again the phrase of European champion was very much in evidence, their opponents, Robert Gardos and Daniel Habesohn had won the Men’s Doubles title at the 2012 European Championships staged in Herning, Sweden.
It was the European champions who prevailed, they emerged successful against the partnership formed by Timo Boll and Bastian Steger (11-7, 3-11, 11-8, 611, 11-3).
Eyes Focus on Bastian Steger
Thus as one day earlier against Chinese Taipei when Germany had posted a three-one success, eyes focused on Bastian Steger.
Against Chuang Chih-Yuan he had recorded a three games to nil win (11-8, 11-9, 11-7); in opposition to Stefan Fegerl he did exactly the same (11-8, 13-11, 11-7).
“We knew how to play against Stefan, how to receive his service; Bastian is now playing at a higher level and consistently at a higher level. We have three good singles players in the team.” Jörg Rosskopf
A place in the semi-final for Germany was assured; a place for the third consecutive Olympic Games.