by Simon Daish
Russian side Fakel Gazprom Orenburg made the trip to Germany for the opening match of the Men’s Champions League final, with Borussia Düsseldorf hosting the first of the two encounters.
The team of Timo Boll, Stefan Fegerl and Kristian Karlsson appeared to be a strong lineup for the hosts who were hoping to take full advantage of the home support.
However, while Düsseldorf may have fielded three very useful players it was the away squad of Dimitrij Ovtcharov, Jun Mizutani and Vladimir Samsonov who came through the match with a healthy 0-3 scoreline in their favour.
Opening the tie was an all-German battle between Timo Boll and Dimitrij Ovtchaorv, and as expected the spectators were treated to an excellent match of table tennis.
Timo Boll pulled off a fantastic recovery in the deciding game fighting back from 7-10 down to gain an 11-10 points lead, but Dimitrij Ovtcharov held his nerve and went on to give Orenburg the opening lead (11-7, 5-11, 8-11 11-6, 12-14).
Next up at the ARAG Arena was Stefan Fegerl’s encounter with Jun Mizutani and despite his best efforts the Düsseldorf player struggled to prevent his Japanese opponent from claiming a comfortable victory (7-11, 8-11, 5-11).
The tie ended when Kristian Karlsson lost out to Vladimir Samsonov (4-11, 11-9, 5-11, 10-12) as Orenburg left Germany with a brilliant result.
Fakel Gazprom Orenburg will host Borussia Düsseldorf in the second leg of the final on Friday 12th May.
Li Qian’s brace proved vital as KTS Siarka ZOT Tarnobrzeg established an important home victory over TTC Berlin Eastside (Photo: Hussein Sayed)
Not the start that Borussia Düsseldorf had been hoping for, and the bad news continued further into the evening for German club table tennis as TTC Berlin Eastside lost the opening leg of the Women’s Champions League final.
The team of Petrissa Solja, Shan Xiaona and Georgina Pota made the journey to Poland to face KTS Siarka ZOT Tarnobrzeg with the hosts selecting the strong lineup of Han Ying, Li Qian and Viktoria Pavlovich for the tie.
Han Ying got Tarnobrzeg off to the perfect start in the final as the 34-year-old overcame Petrissa Solja without dropping a game (11-7, 11-8, 11-8), and the Polish side soon doubled its lead as Li Qian defeated Shan Xiaona (11-5, 11-3, 12-10).
Berlin has managed to keep its hopes alive after Georgina Pota and Shan Xiaona registered respective victories over Viktoria Pavlovich (8-11, 9-11, 8-11) and Han Ying (6-11, 11-9, 3-11, 7-11), however, the advantage is in Tarnobrzeg’s favour as Li Qian’s four games triumph against Petrissa Solja (11-4, 11-9, 8-11, 11-6) gives the Polish club a 3-2 lead.
With the opening match having taken place in Poland, the two clubs will meet in Berlin for the return leg on Friday 12th May.