TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell prevail in the top game against SV Werder Bremen and stay second after matchday 16 of the Tischtennis Bundesliga (TTBL). Just as leader Borussia Düsseldorf, they cannot be relegated from the play-off spots.

Hunor Szöcs

Could not prevent Bremen's loss: Hunor Szöcs (Photo: Bela Sportfoto)

When Wang Xi finally scored one of his many matchpoints against Bastian Steger, 620 spectators in the HUBTEX-Arena went bananas. For good reason: After a thrilling and high quality fight against SV Werder Bremen on matchday 16, TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell secured the play-offs in the Tischtennis Bundesliga (TTBL) two matchdays before the end of the main round. But it took Wang Xi and Co. almost three and a half exciting ours to do so. After Steger scored the lead for the guests, Wang Xi equalized soon after, but Bremen's Florent Lambiet made a strong appearance against Ruwen Filus. The young Belgian was leading 2-0 and 9-7, when he lost his nerves and had to give in to Filus eventually. A win by Lambiet could have been the peliminary decision for Bremen, as Hunor Szöcs beat Jonathan Groth in the fourth encounter. But in the end it all came down to the battle between Wang and Steger, where the born Chinese proved superior.

Just as Fulda, Borussia Düsseldorf made it into the play-offs on Tuesday evening, too. The German champion beat ASV Grünwettersbach 3-1 and cannot be relegated from the top or second spot in the remaining matches. But it was the guests who went into the lead first. Masataka Morizono prevailed against Anton Källberg in straight games and raised his personal record to 13:3. Stefan Fegerl, who had been incredibly unlucky last sunday, equalized soon after. In the most thrilling encounter of the evening, Kristian Karlsson and Dang Qiu had to go the entire distance, with the better end for the Swede. "We had our chances today, but couldn't take them," said ASV coach Rade Markovic. And so the evening ended well for Källberg, too. Against Walther, the 20-year-old secured the winning point for Düsseldorf. "After losing against Saarbrücken on Sunday, we all seethed with anger today," said Fegerl. "Grünwettersbach is always a dangerous opponent, so I am glad that we could win today."

Gauzy matchwinner in Ochsenhausen

Simon Gauzy

On his way back: Simon Gauzy (Photo: Schaal)

Simon Gauzy was glad, too. With two wins, the number one of TTF Ochsenhausen led his team to an important 3-1 victory against newcomer TSV Bad Königshofen. Against Darko Jorgic, the long-time-injured Frenchman won his first match since December. "This morning I was very worried becaude I felt a lot of pain in my back. But tonight it was really okay." Obviously even more than that, as he prevailed aginst Mizuki Oikawa, too. But Gauzy stays humble: "I am still far away from my best level, but I am on my way back." Just as Ochsenhausen who can reduce the gap to Saarbrücken again after the setback of last sunday. After the 2-0 by Hugo Calderano it was Kilian Ort who managed to reduce Ochsenhausen's lead to 1:2. He beat TTF sports manager Daniel Zwickl who had to step in because all other team member have been ill, but couldn't prevent the loss after all. "With a little more experiance we might have taken a bit more out of the first two matches," said Bad Königshofen's number three Ort. "Personally, I am glad that could at least score our only point today."

The shortest encounter of Tuesday evening went down in Gummersbach's Schwalbe Arena where TTC Schwalbe Bergneudtadt stood victorious after less than an hour – which was mainly because Constantin Cioti had to surrender due to illness, sealing 0-3 loss of his TTC Zugbrücke Grenzau. "Initially, we thought that we could make something out of this match today," said Jörg Schlichter. "Unfortunately Costa had to call in sick this afternoon on a rather short notice. So the match became of course very difficult for us." And so for Schlichter himself, too, against whom Benedikt Duda scored the opener. The second encounter between Alvaro Robles was much more narrow, but the Spaniard prevailed rather confidently in the end. "We are starting to get going," said Duda. "Especially against Grünwettersbach we have shown our potential and proved that we are one of the stronger teams in the league. It's a shame that the season is almost over now."

Post SV Mühhausen and 1. FC Saarbrücken TT are going to bring matchday 16 to an end on Sunday.

Overview of matchday 16

TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell – SV Werder Bremen 3-2
Jonathan Groth – Bastian Steger 2-3 (5-11, 11-5, 11-5, 10-12, 8-11) 
Wang Xi – Hunor Szöcs 3-1 (6-11, 11-8, 11-6, 11-7)
Ruwen Filus – Florent Lambiet 3-2 (9-11, 9-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-7)
Jonathan Groth – Hunor Szöcs 1-3 (7-11, 11-8, 4-11, 2-11)
Wang Xi – Bastian Steger 3-0 (11-9, 11-8, 16-14)

Borussia Düsseldorf – ASV Grünwettersbach 3-1
Anton Källberg – Masataka Morizono 0-3 (4-11, 12-14, 8-11)
Stefan Fegerl – Ricardo Walther 3-0 (15-13, 11-9, 11-7)
Kristian Karlsson – Dang Qiu 3-2 (11-13, 11-4, 13-11, 6-11, 11-8)
Anton Källberg – Ricardo Walther 3-1 (11-9, 9-11, 11-7, 11-4)

TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen – TSV Bad Königshofen 3-1
Simon Gauzy – Darko Jorgic 3-1 (11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 12-10)
Hugo Calderano – Mizuki Oikawa 3-0 (12-10, 12-10, 14-12)
Daniel Zwickl – Kilian Ort 1-3 (10-12, 6-11, 11-4, 6-11)
Simon Gauzy – Mizuki Oikawa 3-1 (11-9, 11-6, 6-11, 12-10)

TTC Schwalbe Bergneustadt – TTC Zugbrücke Grenzau 3-0
Benedikt Duda – Jörg Schlichter 3-0 (11-6, 11-4, 11-5) 
Alvaro Robles – Kirill Gerassimenko 3-1 (8-11, 12-10, 11-7, 11-7)
Peter Sereda – Constantin Cioti 3-0 (11-0, 11-0, 11-0)

Sunday, Februar 25, 3 PM
Post SV Mühlhausen – 1. FC Saabrücken TT