Winning 3-2 against TTC Fakel Gazprom in the first final of Table Tennis Champions League Men (TTCLM), Borussia Düsseldorf gain a minimal advantage for the second leg next Friday. Match winner against the Russian defending champion is Borussia's top player Timo Boll with two points.

Kristian Karlsson

Added one point for success Kristian Karlsson (Photo: MaJo-Foto)

Borussia Düsseldorf won the first leg final in the Table Tennis Champions League Men (TTCLM) against TTC Fakel Gazprom. The team of German superstar Timo Boll prevailed 3-2 against the Russian defending champion TTC Fakel Gazpromin in the ARAG CenterCourt after about three and a half hours of playing time on Sunday afternoon. The German record champion and last year's finalist now has all the chances to win the title in the second leg in Orenburg next Friday (15 pm).

It was Timo Boll himself who set the course in front of 1,100 spectators in the sold-out Düsseldorf Arena. In a duel with his national teammate Dimitrij Ovtcharov, at whose side the 37-year-old won the silver medal at the World Chanpionships in Sweden a week ago, Boll took over control right from the beginning and had to leave only the third set to his friend 'Dima'. Afterwards, Kristian Karlsson and Jun Mizutani delivered a real thriller. Orenburg's Japanese, who was undefeated in 27 Champions League matches to this afternoon, was close to suffer his first defeat in the crucial fifth game after Karlsson gained a match ball despite a 2-7 deficit (11:10). But Mizutani was able to save that one and shortly after turned one of his match balls into the 1-1 equalizer for Orenburg.

Unlike his Swedish compatriot, Anton Källberg could not cause serious distress to his opponent. Against the 22 year older Belarusian table tennis legend Vladimir Samsonov, the 20-year-old quickly fell behind with 0-2 and could only win one set before Samsonov scored the first lead for the guests from Russia.

Boll sets the course

Joao Geraldo

Defeated by Timo Boll: Jun Mizutani (Photo: TTC Fakel Gazprom)

Boll, however, proved that he recovered well from the sciatica problems he had during the WTTC in Sweden and managed to inflict the first defeat of the season on Mizutani after spectacular rallied against the Japanese (3:1). Eventually, in the decisive fifth single, Karlsson also rewarded himself for his performance this afternoon. The bronze medalist from Sweden left Ovtcharov no chance and secured the celebrated 3-2 home win for his Borussia against the Russian title favorites.

In the second leg next Friday, Orenburg will most likely need to win 3-1 to turn around the narrow defeat from the first leg still, given the games ratio of 8-12.

The match at a glance

Borussia Düsseldorf – TTC Fakel Gazprom 3-2
Timo Boll – Dimitrij Ovtcharov 3-1 (11-7, 11-8, 10-12, 11-6)
Kristian Karlsson – Jun Mizutani 2-3 (8-11, 11-8, 10-12, 11-9, 12-14)
Anton Källberg – Vladimir Samsonov 1-3 (6-11, 3-11, 11-7, 6-11)
Timo Boll – Jun Mizutani 3-1 (13-11, 11-8, 5-11, 11-3)
Kristian Karlsson – Dimitrij Ovtcharov 3-0 (11-8, 11-4, 11-8)

Header photo: BeLa Sportfoto