The table tennis month of May in review: Sensations, thrillers and farewells


The table tennis month of May in review: Sensations, thrillers and farewells

The table tennis month of May in review: Sensations, thrillers and farewells

Sensations, surprises, comebacks, farewells - in addition to the thrilling play-off semi-finals, there was a lot going on in the German Table Tennis League (TTBL) in May. In addition to the fact that long-time rivals Borussia Düsseldorf and 1. FC Saarbrücken made it to the Liebherr TTBL final (June 30 in Frankfurt) and some quite unexpected personnel changes in the final weeks of the transfer window before the summer break, the announcement of the end of German top star Timo Boll's career at international level at the end of the month made the headlines.

Boll wants to round off his incomparable career with one last TTBL season after the Olympic Games in Paris. "The day had to come at some point. Now it really is time to say goodbye to the world stage of active sport,” explained the most successful German player of all time ahead of his last WTT tournaments in China and Slovenia.

Düsseldorf defeated in the play-offs for the first time since 2020

The 43-year-old may well complete his last year in the German top flight as defending champion. His team Borussia Düsseldorf reached the final again in the play-offs against surprise debutants TSV Bad Königshofen after the maximum duration of three games with a 2:1 win, after last year's champions had conceded their first defeat in a play-off match since 2020 in their first clash with the Franconians (1:3). After that, however, Boll and Co. lived up to their position as favorites in the two subsequent home matches.

The second semi-final also produced an expected winner: Champions League winners 1. FC Saarbrücken TT beat former champions Werder Bremen in two games in quick succession. This means that main round winners Saarbrücken and Düsseldorf will also play out the title winner in the third competition of the season after the cup final (winner Düsseldorf) and the Champions League final (winner Saarbrücken).

Ochsenhausen very active on the player market

The new season was already at the forefront of other clubs' squad planning. TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen were particularly active on the player market: The Upper Swabians not only extended the contract with their Brazilian top 10 star Hugo Calderano, but also brought the Japanese ace Shunsuke Togami back to the Riss and also signed the talents Leonardo Iizuka from Calderano's home country and Tiago Abiodun from Portugal as part of their intended turnaround.

Meanwhile, Bad Königshofen continued to focus on continuity. Even before the play-off duels with Düsseldorf, the Grabfeld club had already tied down its top player Jin Ueda for another season. TSV, on the other hand, brought in external reinforcements with a rare transfer at sporting management level: Tomasz Kasica moved from the post of sporting director at relegated FSV Mainz 05 to join Bayern's management team.

“Perennial favorite” Wang Xi leaves the TTBL after 17 years

Meanwhile, a Bundesliga era came to an end at ASV Grünwettersbach with the departure of veteran Wang Xi: the defensive star is leaving the top division in Germany after 17 years. Wang was the player with the third longest career in the TTBL behind Boll and Bastian Steger and together with his ASV colleague Tiago Apolonia and Ruwen Filus (TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell).

Meanwhile, the Swede Truls Möregardh found his way back to a TTBL club: the former world championship runner-up signed on as a reinforcement in Saarbrücken - but only for Champions League matches.

International successes for TTBL stars

TTBL aces caused a stir internationally at WTT tournaments. First and foremost, Patrick Franziska from Saarbrücken reached the final of the Saudi Smash after a sensational victory against Chinese world champion Fan Zhendong, which earned the former European doubles champion his first top 10 ranking in the world rankings at number nine and also the German number one spot.

Calderano even stood on the winner's podium in his Contender home match. In Rio de Janeiro, Steffen Mengel from Post SV Mühlhausen finished third. Also in South America, Khanak Jha from TTC Schwalbe Bergneustadt fulfilled his dream of taking part in the Summer Games again at the Olympic qualifiers for Paris in Paraguay, after the US star had previously raised over 10,000 dollars for his Olympic preparations via crowdfunding.

Florian Manzke

TTBL Redaktion

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