The old and new cup winner is called Borussia Düsseldorf. In front of nearly 3,900 spectators in the sold-out ratiopharm arena Ulm/Neu-Ulm, the team around top star Timo Boll secured the title for the sixth time in a row in the Liebherr Pokal-Final 2017/18. In a reissue of last year's final, 1. FC Saarbrücken TT are again left with nothing.
The dominance of the record champion and record cup winner Borussia Duesseldorf will remain unbroken for the time being in 2018, since the Liebherr Pokal-Finale 2017/18 was nothing else than a demonstration of power of the series winner from the Rhine. Borussia's coach Danny Heister also saw it that way: "If you see that we won 3-0 twice today, you have to say that we played a huge final." A huge final, that brought the team around top player Timo Boll the sixth cup victory in a row and the 26th cup success in total on Saturday afternoon. "We have worked very hard in the weeks before. That's why I'm very proud of my team and very happy about the title," Heister continued.
The way to the title, however, was much more difficult than the pure results suggest, "but today we have survived every tough situation," said Boll. For example, in the final against 1. FC Saarbrücken TT, when Patrick Franziska had Boll's teammate Kristian Karlsson on the verge of defeat. Only in the fifth game Borussia's Swede prevailed. Franziska was aware of the importance of his game. "I knew that I needed to win against Kristian for us to have a chance," said the 25-year-old. "It became so much more difficult against Timo afterwards." Saarbrücken's Tiago Apolonia braced himself against a repeat of the clear 0-3 defeat from the previous year's final, but had to give in clearly after winnig the first set against Boll. Patrick Baum finally had nothing to oppose Anton Källberg in the third singles. "Of course we are disappointed," admitted Saarbrücken's coach Slobodan Grujic. "Losing a final is always tough. But Düsseldorf win is deserved. They are and will remain the best team in Germany."
In front of 3,850 spectators in the sold-out ratiopharm arena Ulm/Neu-Ulm, SV Werder Bremen could not change that either. The second of Tischtennis Bundesliga TTBL) had traveled to the south with a lot of self-confidence, but was slowed down by Boll in the semifinals. The European record champion defeated Hunor Szöcs 3-0, giving the Romanian no chance. By contrast, Bastian Steger and Omar Assar lost much less clearly. Above all, Bremen's Egyptian new arrival is likely to be annoyed about his futile catch-up against Karlsson. After a 0-2 deficit, Assar forced the Swede into the fifth game, but lost his single anyway – and Bremen the match. "Our plan did not work out", top player Steger quarreled. "We were hoping for me to equalize and for Omar to take us into the lead. Unfortunately, we did not succeed. Still, we sold well here."
Ochsenhausen miss Gauzy
TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen wanted to sell more than just well in the second semi-final, but had to accept a major setback even before the first serve. Ironically, in the game of the year only 40 kilometers from Ochsenhausen away, top player Simon Gauzy was sidelined with a back injury. "We knew it would be hard without Simon. But the boys gave everything," said TTF sports manager Daniel Zwickl. But that was not enough against strong Saarlanders. Although the Japanese Yuto Muramatsu was able to shorten the deficit with a 3-1 win against Baum, Hugo Calderano then lost but second singles, too. Nevertheless Zwickl found conciliatory words: "There was a lot of pressure on Hugo today, one could see that. We hope to be back next year and want to do better then."
At the final press conference, Nico Stehle, Managing Director of the Tischtennis Bundesliga (TTBL), drew an extremely positive conclusion. "We can look back on an absolutely successful event in which we set a new visitor record with around 3,900 spectators. We would like to thank our numerous partners as well as the staff of ratiopharm arena, where we find ideal conditions for world-class table tennis year after year, as we have seen again today." In the future, too, one wants hold the final tournament for the German Table Tennis Cup in Ulm/Neu-Ulm, talks are already being held, Stehle continued.
Borussia Düsseldorf – SV Werder Bremen 3-0
Timo Boll – Hunor Szöcs 3-0 (11-7, 11-6, 11-7)
Anton Källberg – Bastian Steger 3-2 (11-9, 5-11, 11-8, 9-11, 11-9)
Kristian Karlsson – Omar Assar 3-2 (11-5, 11-4, 10-12, 10-12, 11-9)
1. FC Saarbrücken TT – TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen 3-1
Tiago Apolonia – Jakub Dyjas 3-2 (14-12, 9-11, 6-11, 11-9, 11-7)
Patrick Franziska – Hugo Calderano 3-1 (11-8, 11-9, 6-11, 11-7)
Patrick Baum – Yuto Muramatsu 1-3 (11-13 8-11, 13-11, 9-11)
Tiago Apolonia – Hugo Calderano 3-1 (12-10, 5-11, 12-10, 11-8)
1. FC Saarbrücken TT – Borussia Düsseldorf 0-3
Patrick Franziska – Kristian Karlsson 2-3 (9-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-9, 11-8)
Tiago Apolonia – Timo Boll 1-3 (11-5, 9-11, 3-11, 8-11)
Patrick Baum – Anton Källberg 0-3 (3-11, 8-11, 4-11)
Header photo above: BeLa Sportfoto