(by Steve Hopkins)
After seven matches, Dusseldorf is atop the German League with a commanding lead (at 7-0 half way through the season). The final four at the halfway mark compete in the Pokal Final – in an arena together in front of 5,000 fans. Currently, Ochsenhausen is in second with their 5-2 record, Saarbrucken is in third with their 5-2 record, and Neu Ulm holds the fourth spot at 4-2 (with their last match against Fulda scheduled for Monday).
All four of these teams have dangerous squads. Dusseldorf has a deep squad with Qiu and Boll and Kallberg plus Kay Stumper in reserve. Ochsenhausen is achored by Kanak Jha and Simon Gauzy. Saarbrucken’s top two players are Patrick Franziska and Darko Jorgic – a pair that can beat anyone on the right day. And while Neu Ulm’s German League team does not normally roll out their best three (like they do with their Champions Division Team), they have three young Russian players, the top ranked player in the whole TTBL (World No. 8 Lin Yun Ju), and Truls Moregardh and Dimitrij Ovtcharov on their roster.
So far, the best two players in the league have been Anton Kallberg and Kay Stumper who are both 6-0 for Borussia Dusseldorf. Japan’s Yuto Muramatsu (who plays for Mainz) has scored the third most points. Four players are tied for fourth – USA’s Kanak Jha, Timo Boll, Truls Moregardh, and Darko Jorgic. That is great company, for Ochsenhausen’s young American. In Ochsenhausen’s match on Saturday, Kanak Jha led the way. ASV Grunwettersbach is anchored by Matthias Falck and Kirill Gerassimenko with Christian Platea and Marcelo Aguirre as well. Gerassimenko gave ASV the lead with a 3-2 win over Can Akkuzu. Kanak then defeated Platea 3-1 to even the score. Falck then defeated Simon Gauzy to put ASV in the lead again – and Kanak evened the score a second time with a 3-0 win over Gerassimenko. The deciding set was doubles where Gauzy and Robles won the day for Ochsenhausen.
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