Patrick Franziska and Panagiotis Gionis will be joining team Borussia Düsseldorf in the coming season of the “Bundesliga”, the premier table tennis league in Germany. What are their plans? ButterflyMAG has the answers.
Timo Boll, Patrick Franziska, Panagiotis Gionis, Kamal Achanta. What sounds like a who-is-who in international table tennis, is actually the line-up for Borussia Düsseldorf, the famed German table tennis club for the coming season. The newly acquired players could not be more different. On the one hand, there is the promising star of 21 years in German table tennis, the offensive player Patrick Franziska. On the other hand, the 34 year-old veteran from Greece, defensive artist Panagiotis Gionis.
Patrick Franziska is best reached via email. The 21 year-old, just returning from Kuwait Open has most likely more travelling hours under his belt than most people his age. Looking at 2014, he says: “My goal for sure is participating in the world championships and win a medal. I also would like to climb further in the world rankings.” How does the transfer to Düsseldorf help with that? “The level of play is very high in Düsseldorf, as are the training standards and demands. I have already improved since moving to Düsseldorf in the summer. Also, the reduced daily drive really helps in focusing more on my progress and preparation for the big tournaments.”
We wish him all the best for that, as well as for the German league, where his team Fulda currently resides on first place, partly due to Franziskas excellent 12 Victories in 14 matches. “I hope we can keep our excellent form until the end of this season. We have been very consistent so far and are having a good time in the team. Although we are currently in front of them, Düsseldorf is always the favourite team.” Franziska will be joining that favourite team in the coming season, but is still focusing on the ongoing league matches. “I have not given much thought to next season”, he says “but of course our goal is winning the titles.”
And what about the other teams? “I think the League will be evenly matched next season. Fulda and Bremen have very strong players, and other teams might be getting reinforcements as well. So for now, it is difficult to call.” But one thing is for sure: “The match against Fulda will be very special for me.”
For Panagiotis Gionis the transfer from the French club Angers to Düsseldorf is closely connected to his goals for the future: “I think Borussia Düsseldorf is the best club in Europe, and has been for years. In my opinion, the transfer can help me to improve my game, because when you are playing in a team with the best players in Europe (like Timo Boll), you can always learn new things. Adding motivation is Düsseldorf’s high standards: To win all the titles!”
Gionis is looking ahead: “My aim for 2014 is to progress with the Greek team to the last 8 at the world team championships. I personally will give everything to win a medal at the European Championships in Portugal and fight to qualify for the Champions League with my club Angers. Not to forget: Starting the season well with Borussia! My long term goal is to qualify for the Olympic Games 2016 in Rio.”
Looking forward to the season 2014/2015, he adds: “The players and teams in the German league are playing on a very high level, which was one of the reasons for me to join the league. I am looking forward to playing tough matches, also on a European level, since the teams from France and Russia will be hard to beat.”
His improvement and successes over the last years have put Gionis on the right track: “Experience in matches and training on a more intensive level was crucial in my improvement. Intensifying and focusing on my physical training helps me a lot as well.”
So far, moving to Düsseldorf is not in the cards for the trained dentist. Are his team mates afraid of the dentist? “I do not think they are afraid too much… maybe they will be afraid of me!”
Both players are supported by their Butterfly Equipment
Panagiotis Gionis plays Tenergy 05 2.1mm and Feint Long II 1.3mm on his Petr Korbel ST Blade. Watch his Portrait here:
Patrick Franziska plays Tenergy 05 2.1mm on his Jun Mizutani ST Blade. This is his profile Video: