by Simon Daish
Dessau will host the first qualifying match of Group A1 as Team Germany welcomes the impressive young line-up of Azerbaijan on Tuesday 27th February.
The Stag 2017 European Youth Championships was very much a breakout tournament for Azerbaijani table tennis with three medals including a title win in the Junior Girls’ Singles category courtesy of Ning Jing.
Speaking about the tie, German women’s coach Jie Schöpp admits that there is an air of unpredictability surrounding the match with Azerbaijan and insists that her team will take the opposition very seriously.
“Azerbaijan is an unknown quantity to us, we do not know what to expect. They are apparently working well, even with young players… Anyway, we will take our unknown opponent very seriously and start with an appropriate line-up, we want to live up to our role as the favourites and win the group as we are expected to do.” Jie Schöpp
Next up Germany will travel to Luxembourg on Tuesday 27th March, another encounter which Jie Schöpp believes could present a tough challenge for the European silver medallists.
“Ni Xialian can win against every player on a good day and the number two Sarah De Nutte has improved and trains very hard. This will be a challenging game.” Jie Schöpp