by Simon Daish
The reigning European Champions from Germany, Borussia Düsseldorf began its title defence campaign in fine style with a 3-0 hammering of Sporting Clube de Portugal in Group A.
Opening with a solid display from Omar Assar in his encounter with Diogo Carvalho (11-3, 11-4, 7-11, 13-11), Düsseldorf followed up with victories from Kristian Karlsson and Anton Källberg, who accounted for Quadri Aruna (11-7, 9-11, 12-10, 11-9) and Bode Abiodun (14-12, 11-5, 7-11, 11-4) to seal the win.
Can Akkuzu handed French outfit AS Pontoise-Cergy an early lead against Czech opponents TTC Ostrava 2016, requiring five games to see off Tomas Tregler (11-5, 11-4, 11-13, 11-8, 11-4) before Mattias Falck and Tristan Flore finished the job with victories over Felipe Olivares (11-9, 11-6, 13-11) and Ondrej Bajger (11-9, 11-6, 11-8).
Over in Group D, last season’s silver medallists TTC Fakel-Gazprom Orenburg were made to work hard for their opening round success against Post SV Mühlhausen: new signings Marcos Freitas and Yan An were both pushed right down to the wire against Daniel Habesohn (11-6, 9-11, 11-4, 4-11, 11-3) and Ovidiu Ionescu (15-13, 8-11, 11-5, 8-11, 11-7) while Dimitrij Ovtcharov needed four games to see off Steffen Mengel (10-12, 11-3, 13-11, 11-6) as the Russian Giants earned two group points.
Runners up in 2016, Eslövs AI BTK enjoyed a strong start to the group with young Swedish star Truls Moregard earning impressive results against Fan Shengpeng (11-5, 11-5, 11-9) and Liam Pitchford (11-7, 11-7, 11-9) as the Swedish side prevailed at home to French rivals GV Hennebont by a 3-1 score-line.
K.S. Dartom Bogoria Grodzisk Mazowiecki and FC Saarbrücken sit at the summit of Group C following 3-0 victories over Roskilde Bordtennis BTK61 and Vaillante Sports Angers TT. In Group B the early advantage lies in K.S. Dekorglass Dzialdowo and TTSC UMMC’s favour after the clubs from Poland and Russia stormed past SPG Walter Wels and Stella Sport La Romagne.