(by Steve Hopkins)
A few different stories of interest this week in the TTBL (Tischtennis Budesliga – Germany’s very competitive professional league).
The top storyline is that both Borussia Dusseldorf and Saarbrucken won again – continuing to dominate at the top of the league. Dusseldorf is now 14-1 (in league play) and Saarbrucken is 12-3 (plus they won the German Cup half-season “Pokal-Finale” tournament earlier this month). There are still 7 weeks of matches left to play, but in all likelihood we are looking at these two squads as the top seeds at the end of the year Final Four tournament.
There is little doubt that Borussia Dusseldorf has the deepest squad from top to bottom, with Boll, Kallberg, and Karlsson – as well as Sharath Kamal and Qiu in reserve. But teams can only play with three – and Saarbrucken’s top three includes Patrick Franziska and Darko Jorgic, two dangerous players who can beat anyone on a given day.
Last week Saarbrucken won twice. The defeated ASV 3-1 (Polansky fell to Xi Wang before Jorgic won and Franziska won both his matches to log the other 2 points for his team), and they defeated Ochsenhausen 3-0 (USA’s Kanak Jha fell 0-3 to Polanski, Jorgic topped Gauzy 3-0, and Franziska topped Kulczycki 3-2).
Dusseldorf’s two matches this week included a 3-1 win over Werder Bremen (Mattias Falck beat Sharath Kamal Achanta for Bremen’s one point – Karlsson won his match and Kallberg won both of his matches to log three points for Dusseldorf). In the match against RhonSprudel Fulda-Maberzell it was Alexandre Cassin logging Fulda’s only point with a win over Kallberg before Boll, Qiu, and Kallberg each won their matches to secure the win.
An interesting note about individual performances in the TTBL – today was Anton Kallberg’s first loss of the season. Alexandre Cassin is a very athletic French player who outlasted him – winning the final game 14-12 to secure the 3-2 win. Kallberg is now 19-1 for the season. Second place is almost as impressive as after logging three wins this week, Saarbrucken’s Patrick Franzisca is 19-2 on the season. Third place is Duda with 16 wins, Dusseldof’s Qiu is in fourth with a 10-1 record. Some of the top players for other teams have played more matches – but are not near the top due to win/loss ratios – such as Mattias Falck (with 16 wins, but also 10 losses), and Daniel Habesohn (14-6). Kanak Jha leads Ochsenhausen with a 12-7 record – while his teammates Kulczycki and Gauzy are each limited to just 7 wins thus far.
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