The semi-finalists in the check | Part 2: Ochsenhausen and Saarbrücken


The semi-finalists in the check | Part 2: Ochsenhausen and Saarbrücken

The semi-finalists in the check | Part 2: Ochsenhausen and Saarbrücken

The first title of the year will be awarded in just a few days. The Liebherr Cup Final Four will see the four best teams of the cup season face off on January 7. We take a closer look at the semi-finalists, this time: TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen and 1. FC Saarbrücken TT.

The squad

A major transfer has catapulted TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen back into the circle of title contenders. In Hugo Calderano, the Swabians have not only brought a top player back into the German Table Tennis League (TTBL), but have also strengthened the width of the squad. With Simon Gauzy, Calderano is set to form the winning team, while coach Fu Yong has various options behind him with Can Akkuzu, Hayate Suzuki, Samuel Kulczycki and Alvaro Robles - also with a view to a possible doubles match. "I also think this game is a cracker. You'll see world-class quality centered and compressed on the court, the spectators can really look forward to top-class table tennis," TTF President Kristijan Pejinovic recently said in our interview about the upcoming semi-final in view of the numerous top players in the teams' ranks.

It is well known that 1. FC Saarbrücken TT is also fielding a top team and also has an impressively broad squad. Compared to the previous season, FCS appears to be a few percent stronger: Patrick Franziska and Darko Jorgic form the FCS counterpart to Calderano and Gauzy, with Cedric Meissner, Yuto Muramatsu, Cedric Nuytinck and Eduard Ionescu also always good for points behind them.

The cup history

The cup plays a very special role in Saarbrücken's club history: winning the title in 2012 was the club's first trophy, and ten years later they managed to repeat the feat. The Saarlanders have recently set out to win the cup on a regular basis: Seven times in the past ten years, they have made it into the top four teams, and three times into the final, incidentally against Borussia Düsseldorf on each occasion - which, as we know, would also be possible this season.

Ochsenhausen has already won four cups, making the TTF the second most successful team in cup history - behind record winners Düsseldorf (27) and on a par with SSV Reutlingen and TTC Zugbrücke Grenzau. There are one or two parallels between the current situation and the most recent cup victory, for example: Calderano and Gauzy were also there in 2019 and ensured the title win with their victories in the final against Bremen's Hunor Szocs, Gustavo Tsuboi and Bastian Steger.

The situation in the TTBL

Those responsible in Saarbrücken can be more than satisfied with the course of the season so far in the German Table Tennis League. Recently, they even managed a win against Düsseldorf (3:2), which means that the FCS is on a par with the league leaders at half-time (18:2 points each) and seems to be on a confident path to the play-offs. The only defeat in the first half of the season came in Bremen (1:3).

Ochsenhausen, on the other hand, have so far fallen short of expectations. At the start of the second half of the season, the TTF are only in fifth place, their points account is balanced (10:10) and they are two points behind the play-off places. Ochsenhausen came away empty-handed in each of their matches against the teams in the top four and also suffered a surprising defeat in Bergneustadt (2:3). The Swabians will need to improve their performance in the second half of the season if they are to make the play-offs again.

The road to the Final Four

Only one team among the Final Four participants had to face a first division team in each of the previous rounds: Ochsenhausen played against 1. FSV Mainz 05 and TTC Zugbrücke Grenzau - and masterfully solved both tasks with 3:0. Hugo Calderano, Simon Gauzy and Alvaro Robles even only lost two sets in total.

Saarbrücken had a tough opponent to overcome in the quarter-finals: Werder Bremen, the team that would soon inflict FCS's only defeat of the season in the TTBL. In the cup, on the other hand, Saarbrücken did not show any weaknesses, with Darko Jorgic, Patrick Franziska and Yuto Muramatsmu securing a 3-0 win. In the round of 16, they had previously also won 3-0 at second-division side TTC OE Bad Homburg.

Overview of the Liebherr Cup Final Four on January 7, 2024

Semi-Finals, from 11 a.m.

Borussia Düsseldorf – ASV Grünwettersbach
TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen – 1. FC Saarbrücken TT

Finals, afterwards

Winner Semi-Finals 1 – Winner Semi-Finals 2

Some remaining tickets for the Liebherr Cup Final Four are still available in our ticket store.

The entire event will be broadcast live on Dyn.

TTBL Redaktion

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