Showdown in the Liebherr Cup Final Four 2024: top teams battle for the title


Showdown in the Liebherr Cup Final Four 2024: top teams battle for the title

Showdown in the Liebherr Cup Final Four 2024: top teams battle for the title

An event of superlatives awaits all sports fans on 7 January 2024: four top teams from the German Table Tennis League (TTBL) - Borussia Düsseldorf, 1. FC Saarbrücken TT, TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen and ASV Grünwettersbach - will battle it out for the German Table Tennis Cup in the Liebherr Cup Final Four. The first title of the season will be decided in the ratiopharm arena Ulm/Neu-Ulm, with the semi-finals and final taking place on one day in an exciting and compact format.

A dream backdrop awaits the four semi-finalists at the Liebherr Cup Final Four: With almost 5,000 spectators, the ratiopharm arena is once again sold out, guaranteeing an outstanding backdrop and a great atmosphere. And the fans can look forward to world-class sport - a number of top players will be taking part on 7 January. Among others, Timo Boll and Dang Qiu will be competing for Borussia Düsseldorf, Patrick Franziska and Darko Jorgic for 1. FC Saarbrücken TT, Hugo Calderano and Simon Gauzy for TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen, Wang Xi and Tiago Apolonia for ASV Grünwettersbach. The action starts on Sunday at 11 a.m. with the two semi-finals, which will be played in parallel on two tables. After a short changeover phase, the big title showdown will take place.

The pressure will then be on Borussia Düsseldorf to succeed. The record cup winners have already lifted the trophy 27 times, but have lost the final in each of the past two years - in the previous season against TTC Neu-Ulm (0:3) and in 2022 against 1 FC Saarbrücken TT (1:3). The team is now hungry for title number 28: "At the end of the day, you add up how many titles you've won in total and don't count up the individual competitions. Nevertheless, the cup is of course important for us," said Borussia coach Danny Heister. "What makes the competition special for me is travelling with the team for a whole weekend, that the four best teams are usually there, that there is a large audience at this highlight and that it creates a special atmosphere. That makes it a great event."

Reunion with former club for Dang Qiu and Ricardo Walther

There will be a reunion for two players on Sunday. Dang Qiu left Grünwettersbach for Düsseldorf in 2021, while Ricardo Walther went the other way round. The two players and their teams will now meet in the semi-finals. The players from Baden recently proved in the German Table Tennis League (TTBL) that they can also pose a threat to the record-breaking champions. At the end of November, Grünwettersbach lost 3:2 to the league leaders after a great fight. In 2020, ASV pulled off the big coup in the Final Four. Starting as underdogs, Dang Qiu and Co. celebrated successes in the doubles against Saarbrücken and Ochsenhausen.

These two teams, 1 FC Saarbrücken TT and TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen, will compete against each other at the parallel table on Sunday. FCS last triumphed in the cup in 2022, TTF in 2019 - making them two of the five different teams to have won the title in the past five years. "My favourite cup memory is from 2022, when we last won the cup with Saarbrücken. Back then, I was still married and hadn't trained that much before the Final Four," said Saarbrücken's Patrick Franziska looking back ahead of the semi-final. "It was all very special because I wasn't the only one who hadn't expected it at all - but that's exactly what makes such victories the best."

"Thriller" between Saarbrücken and Ochsenhausen

Will they be able to win the title again two years later? Saarbrücken have made it into the top four seven times in the past ten years and have reached the cup final three times, incidentally against Borussia Düsseldorf - which, as we know, would also be possible this season. "Even though the Saarbrücken v Düsseldorf final has been played quite often recently, we would like to play Borussia in the final again," says Franziska. Because: "We've seen in the Champions League that winning a final against Düsseldorf is also something very special for the club."

Ochsenhausen, of course, have something against this, as they have a prominent returnee in Hugo Calderano. The Brazilian left the TTF in 2021, but returned last summer - and is now set to team up with Simon Gauzy to secure the Swabians' fifth cup win. "Ochsenhausen are naturally very strong," admits Franziska. TTF President Kristijan Pejinovic is looking forward to the top match against Saarbrücken. The duel with the reigning German runners-up is "a scoop", he says: "You can see world-class quality centred and concentrated on the court, the spectators can really look forward to top-class table tennis. As far as our chances are concerned, I think that, as is so often the case in table tennis, it will really depend on the form you're in on the day, as well as how mentally fit you are on the one hand and whether you're perhaps a little sore here and there on the other."

The Liebherr Cup Final Four 2024 overview

All spectators who want to experience world-class table tennis live should make a note of 7 January 2024 and mark it in red in their diaries. The Liebherr Cup Final Four is sold out and remaining tickets may be available via returns and, if necessary, in the official ticket shop of the German Table Tennis League.

Here is an overview of the schedule for the top-class table tennis day:

·       9.30 a.m.: Arena entrance
·       11 a.m.: Start of the two semi-finals
·       Afterwards (after a short reorganisation phase): Start of the final
·       After the final: Liebherr Cup Final Four award ceremony

For your visit to the Liebherr Cup Final Four 2024, please also note the information on travelling and parking. You can find all the information here.

All table tennis fans who cannot be at the ratiopharm arena will have the opportunity to watch all matches of the Liebherr Cup Final Four 2024 live and in full length on the stream from TTBL media partner Dyn. ARD's main TV programme will report on the event on the day of the event (from 7.15 pm) in a summary lasting several minutes and Saarländischer Rundfunk (SR) will show a 30-minute special programme on the Liebherr Cup Final Four 2024 (7 January 2024, from 6.45 pm). The coverage will be supplemented by reports in the SWR news programs at 6 pm and 7.45 pm. SPORT1 will also show a detailed summary of the table tennis highlight on the following day (8 January 2024, 6.30 pm to 7.30 pm). The event can also be seen as a re-live and in various highlight formats on Dyn after the end of the match.

In 2024, well-known companies will once again be sponsoring the Liebherr Cup Final Four, making a clear commitment to table tennis and the event, which traditionally takes place in the ratiopharm arena Ulm/Neu-Ulm. First and foremost in this context is the Liebherr Group, which is now entering its 12th year as title sponsor and namesake of the Cup Final Four, thus continuing the trusting and successful partnership.ARAG is also a well-known company at the main sponsor level and Donic is very close to the action as the official table and ball supplier. The partner pool is completed by the premium partner Ensinger Mineral-Heilquellen, the exclusive partner Dyn, the partners Volksbank Ulm-Biberach, Lotto Baden-Württemberg, PEG Ulm, BCM Best Costumer Management, the cities of Ulm and Neu-Ulm, the hotel partner Leonardo Hotels and the media partners Südwest Presse and Radio7. Many thanks to all partners for their great support!

Thomas Ohl

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