Interview with Andreas Albert (Managing Director Sport TSV Bad Königshofen): "Anything is possible again now."


Interview with Andreas Albert (Managing Director Sport TSV Bad Königshofen): "Anything is possible again now."

Interview with Andreas Albert (Managing Director Sport TSV Bad Königshofen): "Anything is possible again now."

TSV Bad Königshofen has a good chance of making its first appearance in the play-offs for the German championship before the last regular match day of the German Table Tennis League (TTBL). In an interview, Managing Director Andreas Albert talks about the reasons for the surprising upswing and also about the difficult situation of former runner-up Kilian Ort.

Andy Albert, is your TSV Bad Königshofen's play-off participation still within reach?

Anything is possible again now. I've been in table tennis for 45 years now and have seen it all. Of course we want to win the last point game to crown a really great season. The team definitely deserves that. In any case, we are very optimistic and will once again do everything we can to ensure that we go straight into the play-offs with a win and don't have to calculate a lot of match and set ratios. We want to play our best table tennis once again. The full hall, which we are already sure of, will certainly give us a home advantage.

Why was your club unable to capitalize on its first match point against Post SV Mühlhausen to qualify for the first play-off?

Mühlhausen had a Steffen Mengel in top form - first against Jin Ueda and then in a thrilling game against Basti Steger.

What went better or differently this season than in previous years - regardless of the play-off appearance?

Play-off participation or not - it will definitely be the best season result in our seven years in the Bundesliga. Our team has really grown together over the years: Filip Zeljko has been playing for us for eight years and is one of us, Kilian Ort comes from our town and is one of us, Bastian Steger is a Bavarian like us and is already going into his fifth season with us, all of them together with Martin Allegro and his great doubles skills and an unpredictable Jin Ueda - that's a very healthy mix we have here. The whole environment with our unique fans has grown with us over the years, in which we have defied many warnings about a Bundesliga commitment. It would be all the better if we could offer our sponsors a sense of achievement such as a play-off appearance, especially as at least one more home game would also help us financially and I would give our team every confidence in a semi-final.

What role did the Jin Ueda factor play in the first half of the season - or perhaps still does today?

After the initial failure to sign Jin Ueda, all three other players knew that nobody could take time off and not get a cold, that you also have to play with a tweaked muscle or a sprain. The players pulled it off perfectly. Now that we have Jin Ueda, we're also no longer so easy to predict, whereas in the previous round our opponents always knew how we were playing.

Jin Ueda has definitely made your team even stronger in the second half of the season under coach Koji Itagaki. Would you now describe Bad Königshofen as a Japanese stronghold in the TTBL?

We are - but we have been for a long time, since our time in the second division. We have our Japanese sponsor with Shakehands behind us, our Japanese coach and his family are integrated with us, there are also many strong Japanese players from all over the world in our small training center, and there are also good Japanese players in our youth teams. It's fair to say that the whole package fits, so that Königshofen will continue to play table tennis with its own players regardless of the Bundesliga.

Bad Königshofen's home games are now known for their great atmosphere. What part do the fans play in your success?

Our fans have played a big part in our current success. Apart from the unique atmosphere in our Shakehands Arena, our supporters have always outshone the home crowd in close away wins and helped us to important victories. After all, Basti Steger, who already gives 100 percent anyway, gets ten percent more out of himself, and the others always surpass themselves as well. For me, it's clear that we wouldn't have won one or two games without our fans, but we now have a really good fan base, especially on social media.

In the final phase of a season, the new one is already casting its shadow. What is the status of personnel planning?

We want to keep a low profile. But if the team is playing so well, it's obvious that there's no reason to tear the team apart if the players want to stay and have certainly not yet reached the end of their development.

You've already mentioned Kilian Orts' absence. What are his prospects at the moment?

He's back at the games, the scars from his disc surgery have healed well and he's doing recovery training, but only very slowly. But he is also aware that not all players have come back with the same injury. Everyone else's career was over, but we don't hope that's the case for him, on the contrary: we're planning with him, he's our home-grown talent after all, we started the whole project and did everything for him back then. It's a certain tragedy that we're having our greatest success in the league right now and Kilian hasn't been able to help us at all. Sport can be brutal.

Thank you very much for talking to us, Andy Albert.

Interview: Florian Manzke

Featured image above: Andreas Albert (Photo: Rudi Dümpert)

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