by Simon Daish
While Germany’s women’s team has already guaranteed its place at the European Team Championships, the country’s men’s team still has some work to do before it can celebrate qualification for the tournament which is set to be hosted in Luxembourg between Wednesday 13th – Sunday 17th September.
Despite the odds being stacked up against Serbia which requires convincing victories in its two remaining matches to keep the qualification dream alive, German coach Jörg Rosskopf is expecting a difficult encounter when the Serbian team travels to the capital city of Berlin.
“The Serbian team has traditionally been very good and above all very motivated players who each European team can be very dangerous on a good day. That was also seen in the first leg”, Jörg Rosskopf.
Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Timo Boll are the two highest placed German players in January 2017’s ITTF World Rankings table holding positions six and 11 respectively, but neither one of the two competitors has made an appearance in Germany’s 2017 qualifying campaign so far.
Jörg Rosskopf has instead fielded the likes of Patrick Franziska and Ricardo Walther for the qualification matches, and has also given international exposure to 22-year-old Benedikt Duda and 20-year-old Kilian Ort. When asked about the significance of the selection of younger players, coach Rosskopf stated that it is his belief that the athletes will benefit from the experience further along the line in their sporting careers.
“The use of young players is very important for their personal development. Unfortunately, there are not many competition situations where they can gain experience in the national team. Only with the experience from such situations can they continue to cope with major tasks in the A team. It is extremely important that the players learn to play at a single table in front of many spectators”, Jörg Rosskopf.
Germany is just one match away from a potential spot at the 2017 European Championships and the men’s team is sitting in a comfortable position heading into its concluding match in qualifying group B tie. Jörg Rosskopf, however, has encouraged fans to turn out in their numbers for the all important match against Serbia to help guide the team to top spot in style.
“… the qualifiers act as a prerequisite for the European Championships… For this reason alone, their importance is very high. It is also a good opportunity to bring promising players closer to the top in important matches. We therefore hope in Berlin there is especially support for our young, ambitious team”, Jörg Rosskopf.