02 Oct 2017

The 2017-2018 season of the Men's European Champions League is officially underway as 15 teams from across the continent attempt to dethrone the defending champions TTC Fakel Gazprom Orenburg.

French club G.V Hennebont contributed one of the major surprises of the opening round of group stage matches, claiming a 2-3 away victory against Borussia Düsseldorf.

by Simon Daish

Home fans were expecting to see Borussia Düsseldorf begin the new Champions League campaign with a win as the German champions faced the side which finished in fourth position in the top flight of French table tennis.

Despite Timo Boll registering a brace for Borussia Düsseldorf with positive displays against Quentin Robinot (7-11, 11-6, 11-1, 11-2) and Liam Pitchford (11-5, 11-3, 13-11), the German team proved unable to pick up the maximum points on offer.

Quentin Robinot may have suffered a defeat in his opening match against Timo Boll but the Frenchman ended the evening in style, seeing off Stefan Fegerl in the deciding fixture (8-11, 8-11, 11-4, 8-11) to hand G.V Hennebont the win.

G.V Hennebont may picked up a shock win but another French team ended up on the receiving end of a surprise result as AS Pontoise-Cergy were dealt an opening match defeat by Group A rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal.

Quadri Aruna was making his Champions League debut for the Portuguese team but surely it was João Monteiro who stole the spotlight in the match, overcoming challenges from Can Akkuzu (2-11, 15-13, 6-11, 11-6, 8-11) and Marcos Freitas (5-11, 9-11, 11-9, 12-14) to see the visitors triumph by a 1-3 scoreline.

TTC Fakel Gazprom Orenburg were the dominant force on the European scene last season and look to be the team to beat once again following a strong performance from the Russian side in its opening Group A tie.

There was an early scare for the hosts as Dimitrij Ovtcharov conceded the opening two games in his encounter with K.S. TTC Fakel Gazprom Orenburg player Masaki Yoshida, but recovered well to put the home team ahead (13-15, 12-14, 11-4, 11-4, 12-10). Subsequent victories for Jun Mizutani and Vladimir Samsonov sealed a comfortable 3-0 win for the home side.

Russian champions TTSC UMMC made a terrific start to life in Group B enjoying a successful outing against Chartres ASTT while Stella Sport La Romagne negotiated a tricky opening Group C fixture against SPG Walter Wels.

European Champions League: Results and Fixtures

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2017-2018 ETTU Champions League Dimitrij Ovtcharov Joao Monteiro Quentin Robinot