(by Steve Hopkins)
The TTBL Liebherr Cup Final will be played this Saturday (January 9). Three of the top four German Bundesliga teams will play, Borussia Düsseldorf, TTF Liebherr Ochsenhausen, and TTC Schwalbe Bergneustadt. As luck would have it, the fourth invitee, ASV Grünwettersbach just defeated Schwalbe Bergneustadt this week – so with a good showing this weekend, they could move into the Top 4 by ranking. Regardless, the winner on Saturday will have a jump start on the second half of the Budesliga season
The top seed on Saturday is Borussia Dusseldorf, a team that will likely feature Timo Boll (No. 10), Anton Kallberg (No. 57), and Kristian Karlsson (No. 24) as their top 3 for the event. In the regular season, Dusseldorf lost only once – and the same team won the European Team event in December.
The second seed is TT Liebherr Ochsenhausen. They have lost three regular season matches, including losing their last two. However, they did not play their top player in the final matches, and when that player, Hugo Calderano, is present – he is the top ranked player in the whole Bundesliga. Ochsenhausen will lead with Hugo Calderano (No. 6), and Simon Gauzy (No. 19) – and will likely play either USA’s Kanak Jha (No. 27) or Poland’s Samuel Kulcycki in their third position.
The third seeded TTC Schwalbe Bergneustadt will face Ochsenhausen. They have four proven players in Benedikt Duda (No. 39), Alvaro Robles, Stefan Fegerl, and Alberto Mino – any combination of three of those players will be tough from top to bottom.
The fourth seeded ASV Grunwettersbach will face Ochsenhausen. Grunwettersbach has Dang Qiu (No.52) and Xi Wang and have a number of choices for their third – including South Korean Minha Hwang and the young Slovenian Deni Kozul.
The matches will be live on Saturday on Sportdeutschland.TV, starting at 11a local time (or 5a Eastern Time).