The 1. FC Saarbrücken TT concede the first defeat in the group stage of the Table Tennis Champions League Men (TTCLM) against Russian side TTSC UMMC, but were already qualified for the quarterfinals before the match.
Match lost, top spot secured: The first defeat in the group stage of the Table Tennis Champions League Men (Men) has no negative consequences for 1. FC Saarbrücken TT. The Saarlanders continue to lead their group after the 1-3 loss against Russian representative TTSC UMMC. The team of coach Slobodan Grujic was already qualified for the quarter-finals anyway. FCS press officer Nicolas Barrois still quarreled: “Of course UMMC is a strong team, but we've just left too many chances today. The same thing already happened to us against Bremen.”
Saarbrücken had to take the trip to Ekaterinburg without Tiago Apolonia. The Portuguese had suffered a lumbago last Sunday in Bremen. He was replaced by Patrick Baum, who took guest’s number one Alexander Shibaev on and was defeated in four tight games.
The equalizer was then scored by Patrick Franziska in a duel with the world number 25 Maharu Yoshimura. After a 2-1 lead, the Japanese forced Franziska into the decider, where Franziska prevailed after saving a match point. After Andrej Gacina brought the Russians the lead again against Bojan Tokic, Franziska could not repeat his success of the first leg against Shibaev and had to leave the box as loser this time after five tight games. “Overall, the defeat is of course not the end of the world,” said Barrois. “Since we were already qualified for the quarterfinals, the focus this week is clearly on the match against Fulda on Sunday.” If possible, Apolonia should be available then, too. “He paused a couple of days after the Bremen match and started training again today. We’ll see if it’s enough for Sunday.”
Saarbrücken will host Chartres ASTT on December 20 in the final group match and can clinch the group win with a victory against the French team.
TTSC UMMC – 1. FC Saarbrücken TT 3-1
Alexander Shibaev – Patrick Baum 3-1 (11-13, 11-9, 11-9, 11-6)
Maharu Yoshimura – Patrick Franziska 2-3 (12-14, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 10-12)
Andrej Gacina – Bojan Tokic 3-1 (11-8, 4-11, 11-9, 11-6)
Alexander Shibaev – Patrick Franziska 3-2 (6-11, 11-8, 11-8, 9-11, 12-10)