by Simon Daish
In a repeat of last season’s quarter-finals match between the two sides Simon Gauzy once again earned a 1st leg brace for TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen as Borussia Düsseldorf’s ambitions of reaching the final for a second consecutive year were dented.
Hugo Calderano gave the hosts the perfect start to the tie, defeating Anton Källberg across four games (13-11, 8-11, 11-9, 11-4) prior to Simon Gauzy’s fantastic outing against Timo Boll (11-8, 11-8, 3-11, 11-9) as Ochsenhausen raced into a 2-0 lead.
Determined efforts from Kristian Karlsson and Timo Boll, who saw off Jakub Dyjas (9-11, 11-7, 5-11, 11-9, 11-7) and Hugo Calderano (11-9, 9-11, 11-13, 11-5, 11-4) respectively, may prove valuable for Düsseldorf heading into the return leg but with Simon Gauzy claiming a dramatic win against Anton Källberg in the decider (11-6, 7-11, 5-11, 11-7, 11-8) it was the Ochsenhausen players celebrating a 3-2 victory at the conclusion of the 1st leg.
Defending champions TTC Fakel-Gazprom Orenburg have moved a step closer to appearing in another Champions League final after establishing a commanding 3-0 advantage from its 1st leg tie with Sporting Clube de Portugal.
Reaching the semi-finals on its debut in the Champions League, Sporting Clube de Portugal has surely been one of the standout teams in this season’s competition but any dreams that the Portuguese outfit may have had of qualifying for the title match look to have been crushed following a devastating display from Russian opponents TTC Fakel-Gazprom Orenburg.
Quadri Aruna put up a terrific fight in the opening fixture of the match, taking Vladimir Samsonov right down to the wire but the win ultimately went to the Orenburg player (11-4, 10-12, 11-6, 10-12, 11-7). João Monteiro and Diogo Carvalho also fought bravely for Sporting, but defeats to Jun Mizutani (11-7, 11-3, 11-9) and Dimitrij Ovtcharov (11-7, 11-4, 11-4) brought the contest to a close.
TTC Fakel-Gazprom Orenburg and Sporting Clube de Portugal will meet once again on Friday 6th April with Borussia Düsseldorf and TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen playing out the 2nd leg of their match on the same day.
European Champions League: Results and Fixtures