PLAY-OFF: DECISION OR THIRD MATCH?



Which team enters the Liebherr TTBL-Finale on May 26? This question might be answered on the upcoming weekend when the second play-off matches are played. After their home loss, 1. FC Saarbrücken TT face a huge challenge as a guest of Borussia Düsseldorf, while TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell might demonstrate their strenght at home and force TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen into a third match.

Patrick Franziska

Serving in Düsseldorf on Sunday: Patrick Franziska (Photo: BeLa Sportfoto)

On the upcoming weekend, the second play-off matches of the Tischtennis Bundesliga (TTBL) are played. On Saturday evening (6 pm), TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell host TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen, defending champion Borussia Düsseldorf host 1. FC Saarbrücken TT on Sunday at 3 pm.

Heister: "Have to be wide awake"

For record champion Düsseldorf the situation is quite comfortable. The team of superstar Timo Boll won the first semi-final in Saarbrücken 3-1 and has the chance to seal the deal in front of their home crowd at ARAGCenterCourt und move into the final for the fifth time in a row. Nevertheless, coach Danny Heister warns his team of feeling to save. "The result of last sunday looks clear, but it wasn't," says the Dutchman. "Saarbrücken is always dangerous for us. We have to be wide awake and are far from being through."

Especially since for Saarbrücken even a narrow win would do to force Düsseldorf into a third semi-final. "We want to try again in Düsseldorf," Saarbrücken's coach Slobodan Grujic said after the loss on Sunday. If his team prevails, it will be a guest of Düsseldorf again on April 22 since the third play-off match is always played at the club that finished better in the main round.

Fulda's home advantage a trump?

After losing 1-3 in Ochsenhausen in the first leg, Fulda now wants to use their strenght at home on Saturday evening to force Ochsenhausen into a third match. In the main round of TTBL, the team of coach Qing Yu Meng only lost one single match in the HUBTEX-Arena and is the leader of the home table even before Düsseldorf. Simon Gauzy, number one of Ochsenhausen, is well aware of that: "Fulda is a bit like Düsseldorf. We know it will be hard there. But we are ready to take the battle against great players."

Winning two matches, the Frenchman was the man of the match last Sunday and might get help from his teammate Hugo Calderano, who has been sidelined due to injury. If Fulda is still able to put their strenght at home to good use, the third match takes place in Fulda as well on April 21, 6 pm.

Both matches of the weekend will be broadcast live and in HD on TTBL-TV.

The play-offs at a glance

Sunday, April 8, 3 pm
1. FC Saarbrücken TT – Borussia Düsseldorf 1-3
TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen – TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell 3-1

Saturday, April 14, 6 pm
TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell – TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen

Sunday, April 15, 3 pm
Borussia Düsseldorf – 1. FC Saarbrücken TT

(Saturday, April 21, 6 pm)
TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell – TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen

(Sunday, April 22, 3 pm)
Borussia Düsseldorf – 1. FC Saarbrücken TT

Header photo: Dr. Stephan Roscher