TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen manage to turn around the 2-3 loss of the first leg and make it to the semi-final of the Table Tennis Champions League Men (TTCLM) with a win agains 1. FC Saarbrücken TT. The same goes for Borussia Düsseldorf.

Tiago Apolonia

Missed the lead for Saarbrücken: Tiago Apolonia (Photo: BeLa Sportfoto)

It was a thrilling match once again between TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen and 1. FC Saarbrücken TT in the second leg of the quarter-final of the Table Tennis Champions League Men (TTCLM) on Friday evening. Just to give an example: It was only after almost an hour that one team scored the first lead – and the team being Ochsenhausen. A crucial match for Saarbrücken's coach Slobodan Grujic: "We had our chances today, especially Tiago (Apolonia) at 9-9 in the fifth game. That was a big chance for us to score the lead."

But instead of the Portuguese it was the Pole Jakub Dyjas who won the first encounter of the evening, paving the way for Ochsenhausen, at which end it was 3-1 for the Upper Swabians. And so the team of coach Dubravko Skoric had turned around the result of the first leg and move to the semi-final. "Saarbrücken did not go easy on us today," said TTF managing director Kristijan Pejinovic. "But in the end our win was well deserved. I'm particularly happy that we managed to win without Simon Gauzy. After a diffcult season this is balm for the soul."

Before that Patrick Franziska had equalized the score against Hugo Calderano, but Yuto Muramatsu put Ochsenhausen in the lead again right away with beating Patrick Baum. In the forth encounter it was not Apolonia, but Tokic who faced Calderano. The substituted Slovenian had been the matchwinner in the first leg two weeks ago and replaced Apolonia once again this evening. But this time Tokic was the tragic hero instead. He saved a matchball once again, but lost the match in the fifth and deciding game, where Calderano stood victorious.

Boll saves Düsseldorf

Timo Boll

Beat Shibaev in a close match: Timo Boll (Photo: BeLa Sportfoto)

Despite the fact that Borussia Düsseldorf won the first leg 3-0, the match in the ARAG CenterCourt was at least just as exciting. That was because Anton Källberg lost to Andrej Gacina in straight games in the first encounter, leaving it to Timo Boll to score the relieving point that was missung for the semi-final. But Boll had his problems, too, and was down 1-2 after three games against Alexander Shibaev. Eventually, he managed to turn tables and scored the longed-for equalizer. "It was very close today," said Düsseldorf's coach Danny Heister. "I am extremely happy that we made it to the semi-final."

As a consequence, the following singles were of no importance. Just as the fact that Düsseldorf eventually lost the match 2:3, as Kristian Karlsson beat Maharu Yoshimura, substituted Stefan Fegerl lost to Shibaev and Boll had to surrender after due to a minor neck injury against Gacina. In the semi-final Düsseldorf now face Ochsenhausen, first away (14.–16. March), then at home (4.–6. April)

Match overview

1. FC Saarbrücken TT – TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen 1-3
Tiago Apolonia – Jakub Dyjas 2-3 (8-11, 11-6, 9-11, 14-12, 9-11)
Patrick Franziska – Hugo Calderano 3-2 (7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 6-11, 11-6)
Patrick Baum – Yuto Muramatsu 1-3 (4-11, 7-11, 12-10, 8-11)
Bojan Tokic – Hugo Calderano 2-3 (12-10, 5-11, 5-11, 12-10, 8-11)

Borussia Düsseldorf – TTSC UMMC 2-3
Anton Källberg – Andrej Gacina 0-3 (4-11, 4-11, 6-11)
Timo Boll – Alexander Shibaev 3-2 (8-11, 11-7, 8-11, 11-6, 11-8)
Kristian Karlsson – Maharu Yoshimura 3-0 (11-7, 11-7, 13-11)
Stefan Fegerl – Alexander Shibaev 0-3 (6-11, 4-11, 4-11)
Timo Boll – Andrej Gacina 1-3 (11-4, 0-11, 0-11, 0-11)