23 Mar 2019

Borussia Düsseldorf won't be lifting the Men's Champions League trophy for a second year running after the 2017-2018 champions suffered a semi-final exit to Russian club TTSC UMMC across two legs.

by Simon Daish

Trailing by a 3-1 deficit following the 1st leg in Russia, Borussia Düsseldorf required a convincing home win in front of their home fans but despite achieving victory at ARAG CenterCourt the European champions ultimately missed out on a spot in the final.

Kristian Karlsson and Timo Boll handed the German side the perfect start, accounting for Jonathan Groth (11-5, 7-11, 11-5, 11-5) and Fang Bo (11-6, 11-6, 5-11, 12-14, 13-11) respectively to put the hosts to within a win from victory.

However, the semi-final comeback dream was dashed soon after as Andrej Gacina and Fang Bo produced winning displays against Omar Assar (14-12, 8-11, 11-4, 11-8) and Kristian Karlsson (7-11, 11-6, 11-3, 5-11, 11-9) – Anton Källberg beat Jonathan Groth in the decider (11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 14-12, 11-9) but it wasn’t enough to stop TTSC UMMC from progressing.

Standing in between TTSC UMMC and title is a familiar rival with TTC Fakel Gazprom reaching the final for the eighth occasion courtesy of a 3-1 home victory over French opponents Angers Vaillante TT.

The match began in surprise fashion as Jens Lundqvist posted a shock win at Dimitrij Ovtcharov’s expense (11-6, 11-9, 10-12, 11-8) to put the visitors ahead, but it didn’t take long for the Russian team to draw level again as Marcos Freitas simply outclassed Jon Persson (13-11, 13-11, 11-8).

Vladimir Samsonov then stepped up to defeat João Geraldo in the third meeting of the tie (12-14, 11-7, 11-9, 11-9) before Dimitrij Ovtcharov made up for his earlier defeat, seeing off Jon Persson by the narrowest of margins (3-11, 13-11, 7-11, 11-1, 13-11) to send TTC Fakel Gazprom through.

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2018-2019 ETTU Champions League Dimitrij Ovtcharov Fang Bo Anton Källberg