The German table tennis players once again lived up to their role as favorites at the European Games in Kraków. The men's team with European Champion Dang Qiu, Patrick Franziska and Dimitrij Ovtcharov won gold with the 3:1 after games in the classic against Sweden.
As in the semifinals against Portugal (3:1), the DTTB selection initially lost the doubles match with Ovtcharov/Franziska, but was always the winner in the singles duels. Veteran Ovtcharov (34) scored the final point against Anton Källberg.
"We won gold for Germany, that definitely makes us proud," said Ovtcharov. "The fact that we did it so confidently as a team just earns us respect again." He didn't want to put too much weight on the defeat in doubles: "I still see us as strong, but it's still something we need to train more for."
Boll return will have to wait
As in the previous tournament games against Belgium (3:0) and Portugal, superstar Timo Boll was not used. The return of the 42-year-old record European champion to the record has been postponed for the time being. Due to an injury to his left shoulder, the former number one in the world last played in a competitive game at the end of February.
In the women's team final, Nina Mittelham, Shan Xiaona and Han Ying lost 3-2 to Romania just before the men's final. After the narrow opening defeat of the doubles Mittelham/Xiaona over five sets (2:3), the following individual games were also hard fought. In the decisive fifth duel, the 26-year-old Mittelham lost 0:3 against the nerve-racking Bernadette Szocs (28). After gold in the mixed team, which gave Mittelham the Olympic ticket for 2024, it was the second medal for the top German player in Kraków.
"It's very, very bitter," summed up the heavily disappointed Mittelham. "I think we didn't play our best table tennis here." This was also due to the poor preparation due to the tight competition calendar, she complained.
In the men's final, it was Truls Möregårdh who caught the eye of the Swedish team, who hit the balls at the German players with a hexagonal bat called "Cybershape". The 3-1 win of the Bundesliga player from TTC Neu-Ulm with doubles partner Kristian Karlsson after sets was ultimately meaningless.