(by Steve Hopkins)
Like all sporting events, the German professional league, the Liebherr TTBL, was cut short by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Now that play in Germany has resumed, and after the Dusseldorf Masters warm-up events, the final four teams met this week to complete the 2019/20 season with the Semifinal matches occurring earlier in the week and with the Finals held on Sunday.
One Semifinal matched perennial favorite Borussia Dusseldorf against TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen, the 2018/19 season champion. The other Semifinal matched FC Saarbrucken, the third seed, against SV Werder Bremen, the second seed.
A lot of big names were present with Timo Boll and Kristian Karlsson anchoring Borussia Dusseldorf, and Hugo Calderano and Simon Gauzy leading the way for Ochsenhausen. Saarbrucken featured Patrick Franziska and Bremen’s well-known player is Mattias Falck.
Borussia Dusseldorf started strong with Boll winning over Ochsenhausen’s Gauzy 3-0 and then extended their lead when Karlsson upset Hugo Calderano 3-1. But it was all TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen from that point forward logging three consecutive wins for the victory. Jakum Dyjas defeated Anton Kallberg 3-2, Calderano defeated Boll 3-2, and Simon Gauzy defeated Kristian Karlsson 3-0 to seal the ticket to the Final.
In the other bracket, FC Saarbrucken TT cruised winning three straight. Shang Kun over Kirill Gerassimenko (3-1), Patrick Franziska over Mattias Falck (3-0), and Darko Jorgic over Marcelo Aguirre (3-1) to seal the win.
This set up a Final between three pretty well known Ochsenhausen players, Calderano/Gauzy/Dyjas, and the lesser known FC Saarbrucken TT players, Franziska/Kun/Jorgic. The only high point in the Final for Ochsenhausen was a Jakum Dyjas win. When Dyjas and Jorgic began, Saarbrucken was already leading 2-0 in matches. Each of the first three games between the players was decided by 2 points with Dyjas leading 2-1. Jorgic then started the fourth game with three straight points, only to see Dyjas run off eleven straight to score a win for Ochsenhausen. All of the other highlights belong to the new Champions, FC Saarbrucken. Saarbrucken’s Patrick Franziska started things off with a very tight 3-2 upset win over Hugo Calderano. Saarbrucken’s Shang Kun then scored an upset win over Simon Gauzy 3-1. Dyjas then logged the lone win for Ochsenhausen. And to seal the victory, Saarbrucken’s Shang Kun dominated Hugo Calderano for a 3-0 win.
This signals a close to the 2019/20 year – just as the new year is set to begin. From this point forward, there are new rosters for many of these teams. Many American fans will be following Ochsenhausen this year as USA’s Kanak Jha will be joining TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen. Jha is replacing Jakub Dyjas. The team should be among the favorites in the upcoming season.