The succcessful Borussia Düsseldorf team (Photo: Jörg Fuhrmann)
Winners two years earlier; in the final on home soil, on the evening of Friday 18th December, Borussia Düsseldorf recorded a 3-1 success against 1.FC Saarbrücken to once again claim the top prize in the Table Tennis Champions League Men.
Mainstay of the success was Sweden’s 23-year-old Anton Källberg; he emerged unbeaten throughout the whole tournament, eight matches played, eight won.
Against 1.FC Saarbrücken, he brought matters to a conclusion by overcoming Shang Kun by the narrowest of margins (11-3, 8-11, 11-4, 6-11, 6-5), underlining the fact that under severe pressure he has the mental stability to respond.
On the concluding day of action, it was an uninhibited Anton Källberg who entered the arena; in the second match of the fixture, he had beaten Patrick Franziska in some style. Playing at a fast tempo, seizing every opportunity he gave his adversary minimal time to draw breath; a four games outcome (11-2, 11-7, 9-11, 11-6) was the verdict.
Success for Anton Källberg against Patrick Franziska doubled the advantage for the champions elect, in the opening contest Timo Boll had given Borussia Düsseldorf the lead in an engagement very much against previous trends.
Facing Shang Kun, the match went the full distance; throughout the tournament, a player gaining an early two point lead in the decider had more often than not prevailed; on this occasion it was quite the reverse.
Timo Boll lost the first four points, electing for “time out” after losing the second; thoughts flashed back to the previous evening when against Jonathan Groth, he had not recorded a single point, losing all six in a row! One day later, it was very different, he recovered, won six in a row (9-11, 11-6, 11-7, 4-11, 6-4) to give Borussia Düsseldorf the impetus.
Two matches to nil in arrears, 1.FC Saarbrücken needed to repeat their quarter-final recovery against GV Hennebont when, likewise, they had lost the opening two engagements. After losing the first game against Kristian Karlsson, Darko Jorgic proved safe a secure, recording a three games victory (4-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3) to give his team a ray of hope.
Hope was extinguished by Anton Källberg, the man of the moment, the tournament’s most valuable player.
It is the 11th time that Borussia Düsseldorf has won the Table Tennis Champions League Men since the competition superseded the Europe Club Cup of Champions in the season 1998/1999, an event they won six times.
Friday 18th December
1.FC SAARBRÜCKEN 1-3 BORUSSIA DÜSSELDORF
Shang Kun v Timo Boll 11-9, 6-11, 7-11, 11-4, 4-6
Patrick Franziska v Anton Källberg 2-11, 7-11, 11-9, 6-11
Darko Jorgic v Kristian Karlsson 4-11, 11-8, 11-7, 11-3
Shang Kun v Anton Källberg 3-11, 11-8, 4-11, 11-6