by Simon Daish
Following a commanding 0-3 away victory in the opening leg, Fakel Gazprom Orenburg headed into the second match knowing that German club Borussia Düsseldorf would require an almighty recovery to prevent the Russian side from lifting the trophy.
In a similar fashion to the opening fixture Dimitrij Ovtcharov was the first player to take to the table for Orenburg, and as irony would have it the German competitor ended up breaking German hearts as the 28-year-old saw off Düsseldorf’s Kristian Karlsson across four games (11-9, 9-11, 11-8, 12-10).
The result meant that there would be no way back in the title race for Düsseldorf but that didn’t prevent the German club from putting up a brave fight.
Jun Mizutani gave Orenburg a 2-0 advantage after the Japanese player defeated Timo Boll in straight games (11-7, 11-5, 11-8), but impressive showings from Anton Källberg and Stefan Fegerl in their encounters against Vladimir Samsonov (11-6, 8-11, 11-2, 4-11, 12-14) and Alexey Smirnov (10-12, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7, 9-11) brought the tie level at 2-2.
However, it was the home fans who enjoyed the better outcome as Jun Mizutani registered his second win of the match, overcoming Kristian Karlsson (11-7, 11-9, 11-5) to give Orenburg the 3-2 triumph and its fourth Men’s European Champions League crown.
Coincidentally, TTC Berlin Eastside also claimed title no.4 at the competition as the German side recovered to prevail over Polish club KTS Siarka ZOT Tarnobrzeg across two legs in the Women’s European Champions League final.
Despite suffering a 3-2 away loss in the opening leg Berlin had the home crowd advantage in the return leg, and the German club’s fans left the second match with smiles on their faces.
Shan Xiaona avenged her opening leg defeat to Li Qian as the Berlin player stormed to a clean sweep win (11-8, 11-5, 11-2), but Tarnobrzeg responded well with Han Ying’s confident display against Petrissa Solja (9-11, 1-11, 4-11) levelling the second match.
Then it was the turn of Georgina Pota to represent Berlin on the table and yet again the 32-year-old came through against Viktoria Pavlovich with a straight games win (11-7, 11-6, 11-4), before Shan Xiaona ensured Berlin’s title defence with her fifth game success over Tarnobrzeg’s Han Ying (5-11, 12-10, 11-6, 9-11, 11-4).