On Friday evening, TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen host Borussia Düsseldorf in the first semi-final leg of the Table Tennis Champions League (TTCLM). Other than usual, Düsseldorf is not the fancied team this time. One reason are the Qatar Open.

Timo Boll

Lost to Calderano in Qatar: Timo Boll (Photo: BeLa Sportfoto)

Usually, Timo Boll is trumps. But before the first semi-final leg of the Table Tennis Champions League Men (TTCLM), this rule only applies to a limited extend, as the world's number was chanceless against Hugo Calderano at the Qatar Open last weekend. "He plays a quite unorthodox style, which I wasn't able to adapt to," the 37-year-old anaylized his clear 1-4 loss at the Persian Gulf.

In Europe's premier competition, this encounter might find a repition on Friday evening, when TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen host Borussia Düsseldorf. "I hope that I will play a little better on Friday with him playing a little worse," said Düsseldorf's number one before the showdown in the Dr.-Hans-Liebherr-Halle. "Then it might run for a win again."

Considering this and other circumstances, a fancied team is hard to find, says Borussia's manager Andreas Preuß. "It's going to be a tough fight. Calderano is in his best shape, Timo after his break is not. Anton Källberg and Stefan Fegerl, too, have form fluctuations. I don't see a fancied team. What is certain, is that every game will count, since there will be a second leg."

Pejinovic: "Won't stop"

Just as in the Tischtennis Bundesliga (TTBL), where the record champion prevailed twice lately. The team of coach Danny Heister won the first leg 3-0, the second leg was much more narrow (3-2). "We definitely do have our chances," says TTF president Kristijan Pejinovic and announces: "Everyone is ready to give absolutely everything for the team, which is why we won't stop in the semi-final."

The definite decision is made in the second leg on April 6 in Düsseldorf's ARAG CenterCourt. In the second semi-final on Thursday, Sporting Clube de Portugal host reigning champion TTC Fakel Gazprom.

Both matches are streamed live on

The first leg matches at a glance

Thursday, March 15, 7 pm
Sporting Clube de Portugal (POR) – TTC Fakel Gazprom (RUS)

Friday, March 16, 7 pm
TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen – Borussia Düsseldorf

Header photo: BeLa Sportfoto