Germany wins European Men's Title
Thursday, October 09, 2008
The German Olympic silver medallists prevailed in the Men’s Team event at the Liebherr European Championships. The defending champion overcame Belarus with 3-2.
An outstanding Vladimir Samsonov won two matches for Belarus and put a huge pressure on the shoulders Germany’s youngster Dimitrij Ovtcharov, but it was not enough.
“Biggest Pressure I’ve ever had”
The title for the probably best European country at the present time is deserved. Although Belarus’ number one Vladimir Samsonov beat Germany’s Dimitrij Ovtcharov as well as Timo Boll with 3-0, the German team proved to have a higher level after all.
Bastian Steger was the better number three winning 3-0 against Evgueni Chtchetinine. Only a miracle in the last match could have brought the title for the Belarusians because Vitaly Nekhvedovich was the clear underdog against Dimitrij Ovtcharov.
“That was an enormous pressure”, 20 year old Ovtcharov confessed. “I am the number 14 and he is number 161. When I lose that match, it’s a disaster! That was probably the biggest pressure I’ve ever had.”
Second Title for the Team of the Future
The team of national coach Richard Prause is taking more and more the role of Europe’s flagship. One year ago, they won their first European team title. At the Olympic Games in Beijing, the silver medal in the team event was the only European medal at all; and now the Germans defended the European title not even two months after the Olympic Games.
“One always says that it is more difficult to defend a title than to win it the first time”, 27 year old Bastian Steger philosophised. “That’s how it felt this time.” With Timo Boll (27), Dimitrij Ovtcharov (20), Christian Süss (23) and Patrick Baum (21) the German men’s team might reign for several more years.
For Samsonov (32), Chtchetinine (38) and Nekhvedovich (33) the future does not look that bright. No other Belarusian player is among the top 300 in the ITTF World Ranking compared to 16 (!) Germans. “That was an excellent team effort again today”, Steger said. As long as the team spirit is alright, Prause’s squad is only very hard to beat.
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