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Champions League Final Preview

Preview to the first final

ETTU Press Release

SVS Niederösterreich - Royal Villette Europlus Charleroi

The beautiful Körner-Halle in Schwechat, the town of the Vienna airport, is the scene of one of the highlights of the European table tennis sports. There it comes in these year finals of the Liebherr European Champions League to a repeat of last year's duel, at which the Austrian champion enjoys the advantage of playing at home firstly this time.

However, the clear favourite role is to adjudge to world champion Royal Villette Euro plus Charleroi again. The team around the number three of the current world ranking, Vladimir Samsonov, will compete with its best formation; after all with the Croatian Zoran Primorac and Belgium's number one, Jean-Michel Saive, who has found his way back to his standard class again lately. No wonder that the boss of Charleroi, Gerard Baude, being asked for his sight of the situation, brims over with optimism: “Veni, vidi, vici,” he laughs and seriously continues then: “We have had some weaker results this year but, however, all of these without Zoran Primorac. With him, I think, we should win against any other team. At the Europe championships in Zagreb some days ago, one has seen that there is a lot of truth on that. Primorac beat his team colleague and pronounced favourite, Vladimir Samsonov, and was subdued by the Greek Kalinikos Kreanga only in seven games of the semi-final.

But the Lower Austrians have to offer something as well: For the third time in a sequence they are in the finals of the highest esteemed European competition for club teams and they rightly can be proud of this performance. They estimate their chances for obtaining the title for the first time very realistically: “Of course we are in the outsider role”, club head Dr. Johann Friedschröder declares, “but in the home game we hope for a surprise, since all our players are in top form. To gain the cup we need a 3:1 victory for sure, but such a success only on a dreamlike day seems possibly. The key figure in this encounter will be, of course, Werner Schlager. Austria's table tennis hero, who missed the final in Zagreb only by a hair's breadth and had already a point of match against the later European champion Timo Boll, can conquer every opponent at good day constitution. If he succeeds in a repetition of his brilliant performance of the previous year when he won two games at home in the final return match against Charleroi, then the world’s champion will come under pressure.

Next to the most desired title of the sports year another reputation still in this final is on stake: The winner awards himself to the most successful club in the history of our Liebherr European Champions League at the same time. Established in 1998, the club European championship has been approved in the meantime in this manner. Royal Villette Charleroi would be the first club with two titles; SVS Niederösterreich would have one title and two second places. Further top positions reached Borussia Düsseldorf with one title and a second rank as well as Caen TTC, the first titleholder of our elite competition at all.

TV-BROADCASTS AND STATISTICS

RTBF, Belgium;
TW1, (Austria); live;
ORF (Austria); 14. 4. 2002, large report at „Sportbild“
EBU (European Broadcasting Union)
Offers a brief report to all associated TV-stations.


RESULTS OF SEMIFINALS:

1. Semifinal: Royal Villette Europlus Charleroi – TTC Zugbrücke Grenzau 2:3
(Points: Samsonov 1, Saive 1; resp. Blaszczyk 1, Korbel 1, Ma Wenge 1)
Borussia Düsseldorf – SVS Niederösterreich 2:3
(Points: Molin 1, Hielscher 1, resp. Chen Weixing 2, Schlager 1)

2. Semifinal: TTC Zugbrücke Grenzau – Royal Villette Europlus Charleroi 0:3
(Points: Samsonov 1, Primorac 1, Saive 1)
SVS Niederösterreich – Borussia Düsseldorf 3:1
(Points: Schlager 2, Chen Weixing 1, resp. Hielscher 1)


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