The table tennis month of March in review: Pulsating life at all levels


The table tennis month of March in review: Pulsating life at all levels

The table tennis month of March in review: Pulsating life at all levels

Spring has also sprung in the German Table Tennis League (TTBL): despite only nine matches, life in the top flight was particularly vibrant in March. Surprising results alternated with sometimes even more surprising transfer news, some stars from TTBL clubs were able to celebrate either their probable participation in the Olympics or national championship honors, Bundesliga professionals once again set highlights at the WTT tournaments - and in the end, 1. FC Saarbrücken TT celebrated the successful defense of its previous year's title in the Champions League.

TTBL hattrick in Champions League thanks to FCS triumph

From a purely sporting point of view, the triumph of the Saarland team in the last hours of March in the premiere of the Champions League final four format in their own hall was certainly the highlight of the month from a TTBL perspective. Thanks to the 3:2 victory of the team led by national player Patrick Franziska in the semi-final against last year's TTBL rejects TTC Neu-Ulm and in the final against record winners Borussia Düsseldorf, the trophy for winning Europe's most important club competition went to a club from the TTBL for the third time in a row.

Düsseldorf record defeat in Grünwettersbach

Before the freestyle on the international stage, Saarbrücken had fulfilled its duty in everyday league life with aplomb. Shortly after the start of the month, the runners-up and league leaders became the first TTBL team to reach the play-offs with a 3-0 win at TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen. Autumn champions Düsseldorf only followed suit in the second half of March with a 3:0 win against the retiring 1. FSV Mainz 05. Borussia's missed chances of qualifying for the play-offs earlier in the month, when they lost 3-2 to surprise team TSV Bad Königshofen and 3-0 at ASV Grünwettersbach, were among the most remarkable results of the past month. Above all, Düsseldorf's rebuff in Karlsruhe without winning a set: "That's a thing," said Borussia's star Timo Boll about the German record champions' highest defeat since the pair cross system was abolished 16 years ago."

Behind the defending champions, Bad Königshofen's many players consolidated their good prospects of making it to the finals for the first time with another 3:2 in a duel between two play-off candidates at TTC Zugbrücke Grenzau. Grenzau and Werder Bremen went into the deciding match in April with some hope, despite also not having an unblemished record. Remarkably, despite their promising positions in the table, both Bad Königshofen and Grenzau dropped points against TTC RhönSprudel Fulda-Maberzell, who were only finally saved from relegation by the announcement of their withdrawal from Mainz.

Fulda's exclamation mark in the pits and on the transfer market

Fulda also made a strong statement outside the box. The former runners-up announced the transfer coup of the month with the signings of national player Dimitrij Ovtcharov from Neu-Ulm's break-up squad and the Taiwanese team World Championship bronze medallist. Grünwettersbach brought back the Brazilian Guilherme Teodoro after an apprenticeship with third-division club TSG Kaiserslautern, while Ochsenhausen continued its rebuilding of the squad by parting ways with Can Akkuzu and Samuel Kulczycki. Meanwhile, TTC Schwalbe Bergneustadt opted for continuity by extending its contract with Belgian Adrien Rassenfosse until 2026, as did Düsseldorf by renewing its agreement with Borgar Haug.

National championship honors for the TTBL pros

Haug had double reason to celebrate in March. The Norwegian won the national championship title in his home country, as did Kulczycki in Poland, Ovidiu Ionescu (Post SV Mühlhausen) in Romania and Deni Kozul (Grünwettersbach) in Slovenia. Khanak Jha was also in the spotlight twice in Bergneustadt on his comeback after a 15-month doping ban and then through his success at the US trials for Olympic qualification later in the spring.

Olympic chances for numerous Bundesliga players

Their Paris tickets through the team world rankings in March are within reach for five more TTBL professionals. For Saarbrücken's Slovenian Champions League hero Darko Jorgic and his compatriot Kozul, the nomination at national level is just as much the last hurdle to the Summer Games on the Seine as for the Indians Sharath Kamal Achanta (Düsseldorf) and Manush Utpalbhai Shah (Bergneustadt) as well as the Croatian Filip Zeljko (Bad Königshofen).

Meanwhile, another TTBL trio announced that they were ready for a place in the German Olympic team. European champion Dang Qiu, Boll and Franziska outplayed numerous world-class opponents at the elite WTT tournament Singapore Smash and also achieved strong overall results by reaching the quarter-finals.

Florian Manzke

TTBL Redaktion

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