This Sunday, Borussia Düsseldorf will meet Russian defending champion TTC Fakel Gazprom in the first final of the Table Tennis Champions League Men (TTCLM). Just in time for the big duel of the two best European clubs, Timo Boll has cured his sciatica problems. The strong performance of Boll and Co. at the World Team Championships in Sweden raises Borussia's hopes.

Timo Boll

Overcome his sciatica problems: Timo Boll (Photo: BeLa Sportfoto)

In the first final of the Table Tennis Champions League Men (TTCLM), Borussia Düsseldorf will host TTC Fakel Gazprom next Sunday at 1 pm. Already since Tuesday the star ensemble of the Russian defending champion around Dimitrij Ovtcharov has been preparing in the German Table Tennis Center (DTTZ) in Düsseldorf for the showdown in the European top league. The second leg match in Russia will take place on the following Friday (May 18, 3 pm).

After Düsseldorf's number one Timo Boll complained of hip problems during the World Team Championships in Halmstad, Sweden, and had to skip the quarter-final against Brazil, the newly crowned vice-world champion is back in shape right on time for the final. "I'm fine, my sciatica is okay again," said the world ranking third before the duel with national teammate Ovtcharov and Orenburg.

This circumstance raises hopes of coach Danny Heister, who builds on Bolls WTTC form and that of his Swedish protégés. "Timo is in a good shape, we saw that at the WTTC. His matches against South Korea for example were really good. And our two Swedes, and especially Kristian Karlsson, should have been boosted by winning the bronze medal."

How fit is Ovtcharov?

Joao Geraldo

Appearance in question: Dimitrij Ovtcharov (Photo: TTC Fakel Orenburg)

On the other side, the line-up of the four-time title winner Orenburg is still in question. Behind the Japanese Jun Mizutani, who is still unbeaten in the current Champions League season, and the Belarusian veteran Vladimir Samsonov it is just Orenburg's number one who is not one hundred percent fit.

For several months now, Dimitrij Ovtcharov has been plagued by a persistent injury to his thigh neck, which allowed only sporadic appearances at the WTTC. Boll still warns on 'Dima': "Even though he's not 100 percent fit yet, he knows all of us from training very well, knows the ball paths and knows what's going on. That's why I still consider him very dangerous for us."

Preuß: "Orenburg clear favorite"

Both teams have already met each other last season and three years ago in the respective final, and Russian side prevailed both times. Düsseldorf's manager Andreas Preuß is looking forward to a table tennis highlight in the almost sold-out ARAG CenterCourt before the third attempt: "There's not much more in team table tennis at the moment. Two vice-world champions and two bronze medalists of the WTTC are the non plus ultra. We can play without pressure, Orenburg is the clear favorite to me."

The match is broadcast live on LAOLA1.TV.

The final at a glance

Sunday, May 13, 1 pm
Borussia Düsseldorf – TTC Fakel Gazprom

Friday, May 18, 3 pm
TTC Fakel Gazprom – Borussia Düsseldorf

Beitragsbild oben: BeLa Sportfoto