by Simon Daish
The 1931 World Championships, hosted in Budapest funnily enough, saw Germany claim its first podium finish in the Men’s Singles draw with Nikita Madjaroglou claiming bronze and after a 26 year wait there was another bronze medal to celebrate courtesy of Heinz Schneider at the 1957 World Championships in Stockholm.
Eberhard Schöler led Germany to back-to-back bronzes in 1965 and 1967 but it was on home soil where he guided the country to its personal best finish on the Men’s Singles front, taking home a silver medal from the 1969 World Championships in Munich.
For all his outstanding achievements on the international stage, including a runner-up finish at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Jörg Rosskopf is one of the big-name stars who proved unable to add a World Championships Men’s Singles medal to his collection, although he did partner Steffen Fetzner to Men’s Doubles gold in 1989.
42 years on from Eberhard Schöler’s runner-up finish Timo Boll finally brought Germany’s long wait for a Men’s Singles medal to a close at the 2011 World Championships in Rotterdam, beating China’s Chen Qi in the last eight to restore the country’s hope of one day seeing a World Men’s Singles Champion.
Since then Germany hasn’t managed to surpass quarter-final stage finishes in the category, but the Liebherr 2019 ITTF World Table Tennis Championships presents the perfect opportunity to turn things around.
While there has been no official confirmation of Germany’s full squad line-up for Budapest 2019 you can expect to see Timo Boll have another crack at lifting the most prestigious of trophies table tennis has to offer and then there’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov who will be determined to enter his name into the history books. Two of Germany’s finest players, both in with a decent shot at success in Budapest.
Germany has actually enjoyed better luck in the hunt for the Women’s Singles title, with the country’s female athletes picking up more medals than their male counterparts but still remain without a gold.
In the second-ever edition of the World Championships held in 1928 Erika Metzger finished in the runner-up spot behind Hungary’s Maria Mednyanszky, a feat that was replicated by Mona Rüster three years later.
Astrid Krebsbach collected three medals – two silvers and one bronze – between the years 1933 and 1936 before Hilde Bussmann added another bronze to Germany’s collection in 1937. Gertrude Pritzi, who had been crowned World Champion on two previous accounts as an Austrian competitor, represented Germany following the Nazi annexation of Austria at the 1939 World Championships where she finished on the second step of the podium.
Germany’s only medal finish since came at the 1969 World Championships in Munich with Gabriele Geissler leading East Germany to silver.
Mounting a challenge for the Women’s Singles title at the upcoming World Championships will be a tough ask for Germany with Asia having locked out the medals podium for the last seven editions of the event but sport is anything but predictable and you can be sure that whichever player is out on that table they’ll give it their all.