Team Butterfly, as well as our Expert Richie Prause are on site in Lissbon providing behind the scenes info on the European Team Championships. Read our reviews here!

Review 6, 28th  September
Richard Prause

Richard Prause

For the first time since 2005 ..

.. back when Denmark beat Austria in the Finals of the European Championships in Aarhus – the German Team did not win Gold.

Portugal is the new European Team Champion

In a thrilling finals match in front of a frenetic crowd in Lisbon’s MEO Arena, host team Portugal found a way to beat the defending Champion with 3:1 and are now Champions in Europe.

Marcos Freitas, Joao Monteiro and Tiago Apolonia showed a spirited performance, with Freitas especially marking his current form in beating Timo Boll with 3:1, Bolls first loss in the tournament.

Both of Freitas Victories (over Boll and Steffen Mengel) were great feats, so was Tiago Apolonia’s sensational victory against Dimitrij Ovtcharov.

Joao Monteiro (POR)

Joao Monteiro (POR)

The Portuguese team have worked hard over the years, progressing step by step towards the peak of European Table tennis, and now they have climbed it. Their success was the well-deserved result of hard work and dedication. Not to forget the support gained from the home crowd in Lisbon, lifting their spirits whenever necessary.

Germany: More than second winners!

Timo Boll

Timo Boll

One has to respect the performance of the German team as well. Being expected to win is no little pressure to deal with and Germany had to compensate for Patrick Baum’s cancellation, Patrick Franziska’s injury and a convalescing Dimitrj Ovtcharov, who has had oral surgery literally the day before he jumped onto the plane to Lisbon.

So Germany’s dream team not attending and at full capacity, no reason to be disappointed by a silver medal though.

 

German Ladies scoring second Gold – once more

It was not a risky bet on Germany becoming Champions in the Women’s division. With a total score of 18:1 matches it became somewhat of a warning shot to the rest of Europe. Only Sabine Winter lost a match to Turkey’s Hu Melek – a game more or less meaningless to Germany, who were already qualified for the main stage.

Austria on level in the finals

SHAN Xiaona (GER)

SHAN Xiaona (GER)

In the finals, Austria did not win a match as well, but it came close: Sofia Polcanova, developing well in the recent months, lead 2:0 in games against Shan Xiaona – so did her team mate Liu Jia (against Han Ying).

In total, Germany confirmed their sovereign position in European Table tennis. The next opportunity for its opponents to show the flag will be in exactly one year in Ekaterinburg, where “big” European Championships (Singles and Team) will be held once more.

 

Yours

Richie

 

Review 5, 27th September

The European Team Championships in Lisbon has found its dream finals

.. at least from the perspective of the host nation. It’s Portugal vs. Germany!

 

Portugal – Sweden

Joao_Monteiro

Joao_Monteiro

Portugal, almost eliminated from the tournament, narrowly beating Austria in the group stage, kept fighting and are now through to the finals. In the quarter finals, Marcos Freitas (2 victories) and Joao Monteiro once again became match winners against the Swedish team – Portugal won 3:1.

In his match against Kristian Karlsson, Joao Monteiro once again demonstrated his team leading ability, scoring the first point for Portugal, who were supported by a great crowd of spectators in the MEO Arena.

Germany – Croatia

Andrej Gacina

Andrej Gacina

Seeing the German Team progress towards the finals is rather unsurprising. But Jörg Rosskopfs team was put to the test by a stronger than ever Andrej Gacina. The final result though was 3:1 for Germany and the realisation that Germany would be in the finals as a favourite, but would also have to face a fiercely motivated Portuguese team and a home crowd behind them.

Women’s Finals: Germany – Austria

SHAN_Xiaona_Medium

Shan Xiaona

Not too surprising, this finals match at the European Team Championships. Defending Champion Germany, beating Sweden quite easily with 3:0 – due to the fact that Swedish Top player Li Fen had to cancel her appearance in the match after a wrist injury. Han Ying, Shan Xiaona and her team mates –it seems – so far in their very own league.

Austria on the other hand, have managed to preserve their strong performances in the quarter finals against a polish Team playing on a similar high level. The end result though was 3:1 for Austria.

Germany and Austria, these two teams have met before in the group Stage, with Germany winning 3:0 – but Finals seem to have their very own rules…

 

LIU Jia (AUT)

LIU Jia (AUT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review 4, 27. September

Die Mannschafts-Europameisterschaft in Lissabon hat ihr Traumfinale

… zumindest aus der Sicht der Gastgeber. Portugal gg. Deutschland.

Portugal – Schweden

Joao_Monteiro

Joao_Monteiro

Portugal, in der Vorrunde gegen Österreich noch am Rande des vorzeiten K.O. fightete sich am heutigen Samstag auf sehenswerte Art und Weise ins Endspiel. Beim 3:1 gegen Schweden avancierten wieder Marcos Freitas (2 Siege) und Joao Monteiro zu Matchwinnern.

Monteiero stellte bei seinem Auftakterfolg gegen Kristian Karlsson ein weiteres Mal unter Beweis, dass er zu einem echten Führungsspieler innerhalb der portugiesischen Mannschaft gewachsen ist.

Auch als neutraler Beobachter freut man sich gerne mit den Hausherren über die tolle Stimmung. Denn an diesem Halbfinaltag präsentierten sich auch die Zuschauer aus Portugal in Bestform und sorgten für große Stimmung.

Deutschland – Kroatien

Andrej Gacina

Andrej Gacina

Dass Deutschlands Herren als Titelverteidiger und unumstrittene Nummer eins in Europa ins Endspiel kommen würden, kam nicht wirklich überraschend.

Zwar wurde die DTTB-Auswahl vor allem durch den bei dieser EM in großer Form auftretenden Kroaten Andrej Gacina der einen oder anderen Prüfung unterzogen.

Am Ende standen aber dann doch ein 3:1 und die Erkenntnis, auch ins Finale als Favorit zu gehen, wiewohl die Mannschaft von Bundestrainer Jörg Rosskopf am Sonntag Abend mit Sicherheit einen Hexenkessel zu erwarten hat.

Damenfinale: Deutschland – Österreich

Dass das EM-Turnier auf ein Damenfinale zwischen Titelverteidiger Deutschland und Österreich hinauslaufen würde, kam für Insider nicht ganz überraschend.

SHAN Xiaona (GER)

SHAN Xiaona (GER)

Deutschland tat sich im Halbfinale gegen Schweden (3:0) unter anderem auch deshalb so leicht, weil bei den Nord-Europäerinnen Einzel-Europameisterin Li Fen schon vor Beginn der Partie auf Grund einer Handgelenk-Verletzung passen musste. Aber selbst im Fall einer voll fitten Fen in Hochform wäre es an diesem Samstag kein leichtes gewesen, die DTTB-Damen zu knacken.

HAN Ying, SHAN Xiaona und Kolleginnen spielten im Rahmen dieser Europameisterschaften bisher gleichsam in einer eigenen Liga und gehen auch gegen die erstmals in einem EM-Mannschaftsfinale stehende Mannschaft aus Österreich als Favorit an den Tisch.

Wiewohl auch die ÖTTV-Auswahl gegen die bis zum Halbfinale überraschend gute Mannschaft Polens (3:1) einen sehr kompakten Eindruck hinterlassen konnte.

LIU Jia (AUT)

LIU Jia (AUT)

Dennoch: Gold für Österreich wäre nach den bisherigen Eindrücken und im Wissen, dass es bereits in der EM-Vorrunde einen nie gefährdeten 3:0-Erfolg Deutschlands gegen Österreich gab, doch eine satte Überraschung.

Andererseits weiß man auch: Ein Finale hat schon seine eigenen Gesetze . . .

L

iebe Grüße

Euer Richie

 

 

Review Day 3, September 27th

The first decisions have been made at the 2014 European Team Championships in Lisbon – the semifinals are set and we know who will be playing for medals on Sunday.

But who will catch gold?

Germany – France

Steffen Mengel

Steffen Mengel

Germany, the defending champions seems right on track after their uncontested 3:0 victory over France.

Timo Boll is at his best, the 13x European Champion showing that he seems unbeatable at times. His teammate Steffen Mengel playing at a high level recently and beating Adrien Mattenet dominantly. Not to forget: Dimitrij Ovtcharov has arrived and starts playing from position 3 for now.

 

 

Portugal – Russia

The dream of the Portugese Team lives on. In a dramatic quarter finals match, the host team overcame Russia and Marcos Freitas (2 victories) and Joao Monteiro (1 victory) were heroes of the day and applauded by their home crowd.

Alexander Shibaev

Alexander Shibaev

Andrej Gacina (CRO)

Andrej Gacina (CRO

 

 

Focus on Croatia

I have to focus on Andreij Cacina (CRO) for a bit. He has acquired a very high level over the last months, step by step closing in on the highest ranked players in the world, beating names such as Vladimir Samsonov and Pavel Platonov with ease.

 

 

And Sweden

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Matilda Ekholm (SWE)

And then there is Sweden. Fighting towards a medal at the team Championships has already been a great accomplishment for the once glorious table tennis nation. Players such as Kristian Karlsson might bring Sweden back onto the big stage..

In the women’s division, Germany moves on as well, overcoming the Netherlands with 3:0 and are now facing a strong Swedish team with their central player, the defending European Champion Li Fen and a stronger than ever Matilda Ekholm (who beat Elizabeta Samara with 3:0 and Bernadette Szocs in the quarter finals).

Austria was elated after their success in securing the first medals in a women’s team competition ever. After beating Hungary with 3:1 the Austrians are now facing Poland in the semi finals.

Although the 4 remaining teams are motivated to score gold, it still seems Germany is right on track to repeating their success from last year. But we shall see!

 

Yours,

Richie

Review Day 2, September 26

Turbulences mastered

Good luck for the European Team Championships’ audience and management: they did not have to face the worst case scenario.

Robert Gardos (AUT)

Robert Gardos (AUT)

Exciting: Portugal – Austria

In its last group match host Portugal faced Austria and everything was permitted to happen – except an 0:3 defeat. Because this would have meant that the tournament would have been over for Portugal and all dreams would have come to an end.

So, what happend?

First match: 1:0 for Austria(Gardos vs. Freitas 3:0)

Second match: 2:0 for Austria(Gardos vs. Freitas 3:0)

Joao Monteiro (POR)

Joao Monteiro (POR)

Then the left-handed Joao MONTEIRO had the pleasure to play against top-defender CHEN Weixing.

Both of them know each other very well from their training at the Werner Schlager Academy. Pure suspense when CHEN forced MONTEIRO into the fifth game. But in the end he kept his nerves and won.

Of course, at this point the pleasure was boundless in the MEO arena.

 

What a drama: Germany vs. Portugal and Hungary

Patrick Franziska

Patrick Franziska

The second day started with a shock for the German Men’s team: when Patrick FRANZISKA played against Joao MONTEIRO his feet got injured seriously. At 2:2 in games.

After a long break Franziska could stand up – and win the game. So did Timo BOLL against Marcos FREITAS in the last match.

But who should join the German team against Hungary after Franziska left the venue to the hospital?

Fortunately, the reigning European Champion Dimitrij OVTCHAROV could get a flight and arrived at the venue only minutes before his first match against Adam PATTATYUS from Hungary.

So, inspite of very difficult circumstances the German Men’s team keeps on having eveything under control.

Any doubt who is the favorite to get the title?

Women: Germany with best chances for the title

For sure, the German Women’s team  came to Lisbon for nothing else than to win the title – as they did one year before in the Werner Schlager Academy.

Irene_Ivancan_Medium

Irene Ivancan (GER)

HAN Ying, SHAN, Xiaona, Petrissa SOLJA as well as Irene IVANCAN and Sabine WINTER who both made their stage debut against Turkey. Germany won.

So, the German team is on its way to Gold. And – after an unsuccessful start against the Czech Republic – Sweden turns out to challenge Germany. It’s not only the reigning Women’s Singles European Champion LI Fen. Matilda EKHOLM as well caught the audiences’ attention after defeating Viktoria PAVLOVIC, Margaryta PESOTSKA and Tetyana BLIENKO.

Only one thing is for sure: it’ll be Germany OR Sweden to join the final, because they would face each other already in the semi-finals.

Best regards from Lisbon,

Your Richie

 

Review Day 1, September 25th

A lot of speculation made the rounds in LIsbon regarding the German Men’s team and their absentees – Patrick Baum, Dimitrij Ovtcharov (who still has not arrived) – could Germany recover?

Considering the first match I would say: Yes. Timo Boll seems in perfect form for this competition, winning over Austria with 2:0 (A 3:0 vs Daniel Habesohn, 3:1 vs Robert Gardos), contributing to the overall 3:1 for Germany (Only Patrick Franziska not at his best – 1:3 vs Gardos)

Day 1 of the competition went rather well in the eyes of the host nation Portugal. Marcos Freitas, Tiago Apolonia and Joao Monteiro played a dominant match agains Hungary, safely winning with 3:0 and getting in form for the top match in Group A – against Germany on Thursday. Meanwhile, the crowd gave us a little preview of the atmosphere in the MEO Arena – should Portgual progress further in the brackets. Although the number of spectators still leaves something to be desired the acoustics of the MEO Arena more than make up for it by creating real “Championships” atmosphere.

Timo_Boll_National_MediumWhile these two teams progressed in style, the silver medalists of 2013, Greece, could not have picked a worse start, losing the first match against Spain 0:3, whats more, top player Panagiotis Gionis losing to the evergreen He Zhiwen…

In the Women’s competition, Hungary scored a surprise victory over the Netherlands with Dora Madarasz playing an integral part after her 3:2 over Li Jiao.

On Thursday evening, most decisions will have been made already and we know who advanced to the Quarter Finals and who will not survive the group stages. Even 14th place in the event will give a team the opportunity to play the European Games in 2015. So even the lower ranked matches will be interesting to watch for sure, as the teams will keep on fighting.

I will keep you updated,

 

Richie

 

Preview 3, September 24th

Predictions in sports are always a delicate matter – to say today who wins tomorrow.

Things happened just before the European Team Championships in Lisbon’s Meo Arena, a lot of things.

Richard PrauseThe European Top Team and defending Champion, Germany’s Men’s team arrived with only three players in their line-up. Patrick Baum canceled the tournament for private reasons and European Champion Dimitrij Ovtcharov has not set foot in the Arena as well. He might be joining his team later on after the removal of several wisdom teeth.

So are Germany’s dreams over?

Probably not. Timo Boll made a fine point in interviews: “We still have a team able to win gold.” True, but no doubt Germany’s opponents are eagerly awaiting their chance to prove themselves.

Especially the host nation of Portugal comes highly motivated with their players in top shape: Marcos Freitas, Tiago Apolonia and Joao Monteiro are waiting for their turn to achieve the impossible, negotiating the difficult Group A along with Germany and Austria.

The Austrian Team has to deal with the absence of top player Stefan Fegerl who has to stay in Vienna with the flu. His chance of joining up later are close to zero.

With the new ETTU rule, excluding players from being nominated after the deadline has crippled to teams already – another injury could end Germany’s dreams in Lisbon, no team may start with two players.

We see, a lot is in motion before the first points are scored.

The unusual flooring in the Meo-Arena are of particular interest, and has been the focus of some discussions already. Adding to this, the room temperature in the players catering area borders that of a sauna and we have yet to see a lot of spectators attending….

Never the less, let the games begin !

We hope for a lot of action and great matches!

Yours, Richie

 

Preview 2, September 20th

Can Germany retain the title in Europe?

Richard Prause

Richard Prause

The wait is over – the European Team Championships are starting and the question remains: Is Germany still the best team in Europe?

Germany has been number 1 in Europe since the Euros 2007 in Belgrade and looking out for possible contenders ever since. I am making a bold prediction here: The new European Champion will be a team of Group A – with Germany, Austria and host team of Portugal. Three top teams in one group.

Joao Monteiro

Joao Monteiro

Portugal

Portugal has been among the favourites for quite some time – and they are more motivated than ever. Tiago Apolonia and Marcos Freitas have developed into great form at the moment. Adding an experienced Joao Monteiro, who has always played his best at big tournaments.

The only question is their performance in front of a home crowd – will this relief or even add pressure?

Russia

Alexander Shibaev

Alexander Shibaev

Alexander Shibaev leading a Russian team – one of the top contenders to Germany in my opinion. If the Russians can work together as a team they will surely be a tough draw for anyone.

Who else?

Greece are returning to the stage after their surprise streak of the EC 2013 (winning silver), but can they repeat this performance? I have to say I rather doubt it, although lead-player Panagiotis Gionis –more so since his transfer to Borussia Düsseldorf – is in the form of his life.

And Kalinikos Kreanga still can play ..

Panagiotis GIONIS (GRE)

Panagiotis GIONIS (GRE)

Belarus & Croatia

Are also forces to be reckoned with, Vladimir Samsonov, Tan Ruiwu, both players of formidable calibre.

In the women’s division, the German team are also favourites for Gold and here too we have to look long and hard to find contenders.

Austria

Why not? Liu Jia, Amelie Solja, Sofia Polcanova and Li Qianbing are a team well-mixed between talent and experience able to compete with any team in Europe.

But if we are talking about Gold, our focus has to be

LIU Jia (AUT)

LIU Jia (AUT)

 

The Netherlands

Li Jie is back at the table after her “baby break” – and in full force. So is Li Jiao, one of the top players in Europe for many years, supported by young Britt Eerland, who has demonstrated her ability to play in the big leagues at the World Championships in Tokyo.

Elizabeta Samara

Elizabeta Samara

And… Romania

Of course, Romania. Elizabeta Samara, recent winner of the Czech Open and in the best form she’s ever been has to rely on the physical fitness of her teammate Daniela Dodean. If she is at her best as well, the Romanians will be tough to beat ..

 

Yours, Richie

 

 

Preview 1, September 19th

Dear Friends!

Here we go again! After the event took place in the Werner Schlager Academy in Vienna, players and teams are now hunting for gold at the European Championships in Lisbon.

Richie Prause

Richie Prause

Well after last year, where Dimitrij Ovtcharov was able to win his first European Championships in the singles, and Germany in turn won Gold in the Men’s and Women’s team division, we are looking at another run for gold – will Germany win once more?

A major step towards the Championship will have to be taken in Group A, where 3 favourited teams are competing: defending champion Germany, the host team of Portugal and underdog Austria, the 5th placed team in the World Championships in Tokyo. The latter will compete in the very first match against Germany, on Monday. It’s a bit sad one of these great teams will not leave the group stage.

SHAN Xiaona

SHAN Xiaona

However, Germany’s team with stars such as Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Timo Boll, lead by Jörg Rosskopf, and the women’s team with Han Ying and Shan Xiaona will stop for nothing less than the Gold medal.

Maybe, we will also see interesting results for a completely different reason: The new balls. The appearance of the plastic ball has produced unexpected victories in the czech Open (Vladimir Samsonov eliminated in the 1st round) and Belgium Open (where Ovtcharov lost early on). In general it is my conviction that the best will win – but maybe the best will have to fight more than they think…

The venue of the “Meo Complex” is certainly the best possible stage for this event in Portugal, where usually stars such as Madonna or Robbie Williams appear in concert.

The board is set for a fantastic competition, attracting fans worldwide – we are on site the whole time and will keep my eyes open- Read more soon!

 

Yours, Richie

About The Author

Seb

Sebastian launched his table tennis “career” at age 11 and made it to the 5. German league. Yet he is also active in professional table tennis: As TV Commentator for the ITTF, he has traveled to many exciting tournaments all over the world, commenting live on the top games. He became part of Team-Butterfly in 2014, working in Sales and Marketing as translator and copy-editor.

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