1. FC Saarbrücken TT won the Liebherr Cup Final for the second time in the club's history. In the final of the Final Four tournament, Patrick Franziska and Co. prevailed 3-1 against Borussia Düsseldorf in the ratiopharm arena Ulm/Neu-Ulm.
Patrick Franziska scored point by point on Saturday evening and caused one cheer after the other for the 1. FC Saarbrücken TT’s delegation. Franziska's team mates were torn from their seats again and again, and at shortly after 8pm they were finally able to celebrate at the FCS. With the 3-1 win against Borussia Düsseldorf, Saarbrücken won the Liebherr Cup Final in the ratiopharm arena Ulm/Neu-Ulm and won the German Table Tennis Cup for the second time in the club's history since 2012.
“Düsseldorf has been the dominant force for a year and a half,”said Franziska after the big coup was achieved. “We are therefore very happy and very proud to have decided this final for ourselves and thus won the Cup.”
Franziska: “We were already on the bus”
Last season, Saarbrücken was defeated twice in the Champions League and Liebherr TTBL Final in finals against Düsseldorf. In view of these defeats, Saarbrücken coach Wang Zhi said: “We work hard every day, now we have finally been rewarded with another title.”
The key scene of the day had already occurred at noon in the semifinals: Saarbrücken was behind 1-2 in matches against Post SV Mühlhausen, Franziska was down 0-2 in games, then in the decisive game he was 3-8 points in reverse against Daniel Habesohn. “We were already on the bus with one and a half legs,” admitted Franziska afterwards. The German national player, however, took a bite, turned the match against Habeson in the last second – and after his victory, the FCS played with an almost irrepressible will. “That's how it works sometimes in sport,” commented Franziska on the key scene of the day.
Heister: “I can't blame my team: They fought and gave everything”
Mühlhausen was finally swept away in doubles 3-0, and in the final not even Anton Källberg was too strong. First, Darko Jorgic defeated the Düsseldorf leading player, who had not yet lost a season game before the duel with FCS, then also. The other point had meanwhile also gone to Franziska's account, who defeated his brother-in-law Kristian Karlsson 3-1. For Borussia, which had to do without Timo Boll due to an abdominal muscle injury, Dang Qiu made it third with his win against Tomas Polansky for a 2-1 draw. “The narrow win against Mühlhausen gave the entire team an extra boost,” explained Franziska.
“Congratulations to Saarbrücken,” said Düsseldorf coach Danny Heister after the game. “I can't blame my team: They fought and gave everything. But Saarbrücken was just that crucial bit stronger today.” After the triple of cup victory, championship and Champions League last season, two trophies are still possible for Düsseldorf in the current season. At the table of the Bundesliga Borussia leads after the first half of the season without losing points in front of the FCS, in the Champions League it is – like Saarbrücken and TTC Neu-Ulm – in the quarter-finals.
Düsseldorf beats Fulda in the semifinal
In the semifinals, Düsseldorf had beaten TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell 3-0 on Saturday before. Karlsson initiated the success with the break against Ruwen Filus, then Källberg fought his way to a 3-2 win against Fan Bo Meng, before Qiu made it all clear with his smooth win against Quadri Aruna.
“All four teams played at an incredibly high level,” said Qiu, “our victory was by no means as clear as the result suggests.” About the Final against FCS he said: “The first two games were extremely competitive and unfortunately didn't go in our direction. Congratulations to Saarbrücken, in the end you deserved to win.“
The Liebherr Cup Final at a glance
Borussia Düsseldorf – 1. FC Saarbrücken TT 1-3
Anton Källberg – Darko Jorgic 2-3 (11-9, 7-11, 9-11, 11-8, 6-11)
Kristian Karlsson – Patrick Franziska 1-3 (13-11, 14-16, 5-11, 5-11)
Dang Qiu – Tomas Polansky 3-0 (11-4, 11-9, 11-4)
Anton Källberg – Patrick Franziska 1-3 (11-9, 9-11, 9-11, 7-11)
Post SV Mühlhausen – 1. FC Saarbrücken TT 2-3
Daniel Habesohn – Darko Jorgic 1-3 (11-9, 3-11, 8-11, 7-11)
Ovidiu Ionescu – Patrick Franziska 3-2 (3-11, 12-10, 4-11, 11-7, 11-6)
Irvin Bertrand – Tomas Polansky 3-1 (11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 11-6)
Daniel Habesohn – Patrick Franziska 2-3 (11-6, 11-9, 5-11, 8-11, 9-11)
Irvin Bertrand/Ovidiu Ionescu – Darko Jorgic/Tomas Polansky 0-3 (11-13, 7-11, 7-11)
TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell – Borussia Düsseldorf 0-3
Ruwen Filus – Kristian Karlsson 1-3 (10-12, 13-11, 8-11, 6-11)
Fan Bo Meng – Anton Källberg 2-3 (8-11, 11-8, 11-9, 8-11, 8-11)
Quadri Aruna – Dang Qiu 0-3 (9-11, 2-11, 10-12)
Header photo by BeLa Sportfoto