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Liebherr Euro Champions League - 5th Round

Reports of the 5th round

ETTU Press Release


Saturday, 5. 1. 2002, 14.30 h:
Royal Villette Europlus Charleroi—Borussia Düsseldorf 2:3

That was the peak of all sensations! A further increase seems hardly possible. The reigning Club world champion—lining up in its best formation—had to admit defeat even at the home board against the promising Düsseldorfer Youngsters. The beating in the first leg was analysed by Charleroi as a unique, but not very seriously to be taken slip, but now, the Belgians might have unlearned smiling. Defending the title is hanging now by a thread. To qualify for the semi-finals, Charleroi needs a full success in the next match. If the world champion fails at Ochsenhausen it is involved in the descent fight! Düsseldorf achieves the semi-finals with a victory at Frydek-Mistek, and, if Charleroi will be defeated again, also this becomes not necessary. Some remarks to the match process: Already in the first match Bastian Steger showed against Vladimir Samsonov that on this day he is not to be trifled with. Despite the loss of the first game, Charlerois world-class man, however, was not to be conquered. The key to the success of the “Boys Group” was the completely unexpected defeat of old-stager Zoran Primorac against Lars Hielscher, whose service caused utter difficulties to the Croat. After the equalisation by Samsonov, Jean-Michel Saive led already against Steger with 2:1 in the decisive match, acting clearly superior in the second and third game. “We had already come to like with the defeat at this time and we were pleased to be able challenging the world champion in such a way”, said Düsseldorfs coach Andreas Preuss. „Then Bastian let off the fireworks and completed this unbelievable success, although, I must say, I think that Saive today was mentally not completely on his highest level.”
A reason for such surprises is certainly due to the new mode of counting. With games up to 21 points more experienced players were to brought more heavily into scrapes. The decision in Group A will come in the very last round; once again Europe’s royal class ensures for suspense.

Samsonov - Steger 10:12, 11:9, 11:9, 11:5
Saive - Maze 7:11, 12:10, 8:11, 9:11
Primorac - Hielscher 11:3, 6:11, 7:11, 2:11
Samsonov - Maze 11:9, 11:6, 9:11, 11:1
Saive - Steger 6:11, 11:3, 11:2, 9:11, 7:11

Sunday, 6. 1. 2002,14.30 h:
TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen—TTC VP Frydek-Mistek 3:0

With a numerically clear success the Upper Swabians preserved their chances for the semi-finals. Feng Zhe, substituting Kalinikos Kreanga, ensured for a fast lead, Alexei Smirnov and Adrian Crisan succeeded for the two subsequent points, whereby especially the latter had to fight very hard against Martin Olejnik warding off also three balls of the match. If Ochsenhausen succeeds in defeating Charleroi in the next round at home this would mean even the group victory. In the case of a defeat rank two is only achieved if Düsseldorf loses at Frydek-Mistek. “However, we reckon also against Charleroi chances”, Ochsenhausen manager Christoph Reuhl shows optimism, “with a fitful Kalinikos Kreanga and supported by our trusty audience the odds are equal. We are looking forward to an attractive match at all events and hope for high tension.

Feng Zhe - Krcil 11:7, 11:5, 12:10
Smirnov - Klasek 11:13, 12:10, 11:8, 11:7
Crisan - Olejnik 9:11, 11:9, 5:11, 15:13, 11:6


Friday, 4. 1. 2002, 19.00 h:
SVS Niederösterreich—STK Vecernji List Zagreb 3:1

The Austrian parade club qualified itself for the upper semi-finals with a sure victory. The “Körner” hall of Schwechat experienced a great and interesting match, which the domestic fans were content not only with the result, but also with the performances of their players. After the reliable prelude victory of Werner Schlager over Dominik Klaric the Chinese-born Austrian Chen Weixing offered the best performance for its club so far. The Danish national player Alan Bentsen found no magic formula against the defensive artist and was subdued without gain a single game. Afterwards Croatians No. 1, Roko Tosic, obtained the point of honour against Kostadin Lengerov, which did not find good luck on his side in this thrilling and match of high class. Leading already 10:7 in the fourth game he had to accept the repulse of six balls of the game by his opponent. Werner Schlager compensated then the public with an outstanding performance against a persistent resisting Alan Bentsen. “This was a fantastic match with sensational rallies”, gushes the manager of Niederösterreich Dr. Johann Friedschröder and shows up naturally contented with the result. “We have accomplished our goal and of course we want to win through also in the semi-finals.” The next match against Grenzau will not influence the ranking any more, but, however, certainly becomes a prestige duel for both of the two teams.
The target of the Croatian champion becomes now the defence of the third rank. The home advantage Zagrebs in the last match against the direct competitor, Caen TTC, could be the decisive factor.

Schlager - Klaric 11:7, 14:12, 11:4
Chen Weixing - Bentsen 11:9, 11:6, 11:9
Lengerov - Tosic 6:11, 10:12, 11:9, 15:17
Schlager - Bentsen 11:9, 11:5, 11:9

Friday, 4. 1. 2002, 19.30 h:
TTC Zugbrücke Grenzau – Caen TTC 3:0

A superior home success fixed the desired group victory for the “Brexbacher” already one round before the end of the first stage of the competition. The French visitors, that did not seem much motivated, were properly out-classed. Martin Bratanov and Damien Eloi did not have any chances against Lucjan Blaszczyk and Ma Wenge, respectively, only Jerome Bahuaud succeeded against Petr Korbel with gain one game, but even that could not bring the Czech “legionnaire” into serious troubles. Grenzau plays next in Lower Austria, but the result of this encounter does not have any effect to the group’s final table. The Germans meets in the second stage, the semi-finals, the second placed of Group A. Caen TTC needs a victory in Zagreb in order to find a favourable starting position for remaining in the League. Since the fourth of each group meets the third of the other group in the semi-finals of relegation and the winners of these encounters remain in Europe’s elite League. Being placed third in the group can be very important for surviving, thus, because of the probably easier task which can be expected.

Blaszczyk - Bratanov 11:8, 11:7, 11:7
Ma Wenge - Eloi 11:7, 11:8, 11:3
Korbel - Bahuaud 8:11, 11:5, 11:4, 11:8

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