iPro London II and Amsterdam Warriors are tied on six points at the top of Division Two of the Champions League after playing a thrilling contest in Nussloch.
London snuck a +1 win over Amsterdam in the final match of the day but Amsterdam are tied at the top after picking up one extra bonus point.
Defending champions, the Berlin Berghain Boasters II (Pictured) are three points behind these two and still in contention. Meanwhile, French Flair suffered a tough day, losing all three of their matches in Germany.
iPro London II in Contention to Win Division Two Title
With a perfect three-win day, iPro London II look in good shape heading to Paris. There was still a missed opportunity for London to be outright leaders in Division Two though.
In their opening match against French Flair, London found themselves +6 down heading into tennis. A sensational sweep of the tennis – winning their six sets 11-0, 11-1, 11-3, 11-4, 11-5 and 11-8 – meant that London ended up securing a comfortable +39 win. However, that meant the defending champions fell one point short of securing a vital bonus point.
Next up London found themselves facing defending champions the Berlin Berghain Boasters II. It was dominant performances from Ann-Kathrin Pfeifer and Thomas Veith, who beat Maxi Karg and Christian Borner +18 and +28, that were instrumental in guiding London to victory. In the end, it was a +32 point victory for London – a second win but still no bonus point.
Third up was the battle with the Amsterdam Warriors to top the table. Across both Champions League divisions, this was the closest match of the lot.
It was topsy-turvy table tennis between the two, with London eventually emerging as +9 victors overall thanks to an 11-1 win for Thomas Veith over Christian Baus. The pendulum swung in Amsterdam’s favour in the badminton, with the Warriors winning +14 to take a +5 overall lead.
Once again it was Thomas Veith who was the hero for London, winning the squash 11-1 to leave the match completely level heading into tennis. Wins for Koen Hageraats and Guidi Weijel left the Warriors needing seven in the final tennis set between Veith and Baus. In the end, Veith managed to win 11-6 to secure a miraculous and potentially crucial one-point win for London. Because they were within +20 points, Amsterdam also picked up a bonus point.
“I’m really proud of the team”
iPro London II captain Johnny Bispham said after the match, “When Thomas stepped on court needing to win 11-7 for the gummi I thought it was tight. At 9-5 I couldn’t stop moving. It’s the worst I’ve ever felt in a racketlon tournament. I still didn’t quite believe the moment we took it.
“I came to Berlin looking for three or four points to keep us in the hunt for Paris. To take six points is an incredible achievement and I’m really proud of my team!”
Amsterdam Warriors Impress on Debut
The Amsterdam Warriors were the new kids on the block this year but proved to be a tough team. Led by fast-improving newcomer Koen Hageraats, they made a great start against Berlin Berghain Boasters II.
Amsterdam won five of the six matches against Berlin to seal an impressive +27 win on their Champions League debut. If that win was impressive, the next against fellow newcomers French Flair sent a real signal of intent.
The Warriors crushed Clement Lopez’s team, winning by +78. Matilda Parslow was the sole victor for French Flair, with the Warriors winning the other five matches. That crushing win earned the crucial bonus point which has tied Amsterdam with London at the top of the table.
The final match of the round saw French Flair face the Berlin Berghain Boasters. Once again French Flair suffered on German soil. Berlin won five of the six matches, with Bertrand Carlier and Thomas Olsson crushing Graham King and Clement Lopez +27 in the Men’s Doubles. The +55 win for Berlin saw them pick up a crucial bonus point which could come in handy in Paris.
Player of the Day
Thomas Veith’s heroics for iPro London II put him right in the mix but it’s hard to look past Amsterdam Warriors captain Koen Hageraats for the Player of the Day award. The Dutchman guided his team to two wins out of three on their debut. His heroics and unbeaten day have helped ensure Amsterdam are joint-top of the standings before Paris. Could they take the title?
The full results from the Champions League Division Two first leg are available here.
The tournament report for Division One of the Champions League is available here.
Sam Barker / FIR Media Officer