Table tennis player Patrick Franziska didn’t need many words to classify 1. FC Saarbrücken’s historic victory in a dramatic Champions League final. “Ever since I moved to Saarbrücken in 2016, it has always been my dream to win this big title,” said the German international after the triumph over defending champions Borussia Düsseldorf.
For Saarbrücken it was the first premier class title, while Düsseldorf was narrowly denied the seventh trick. “The sticking point today was the match points we had. If one of them had been on the table, then we would be standing here differently now. It was a very close game,” summed up Düsseldorf’s coach Danny Heister, who had to do without Timo Boll (shoulder problems).
In the so-called “Golden Match”, which was used for the first time ever in a Champions League final, the guests had made the title perfect late Monday evening in front of 1100 fans in the sold-out ARAG CenterCourt by winning sets 2:1. The extra time premiere had become necessary because Saarbrücken had previously won the second leg in Düsseldorf 3:2 and had equalized (5:5) after the first leg defeat (2:3).
“We’ve lost to Düsseldorf so many times, today we were able to take advantage of the moment,” said Franziska, who played well and won all three of his duels. “The key to our success was my win in the second game of the evening against Anton Källberg, against whom I lost the first two sets,” he explained. “After a change of tactics, I was able to turn this game around and win 6:5 in the fifth set.”
Darko Jorgic had brought the decisive victory after 4:35 hours. “I’m really very proud of all of us, especially Patrick Franziska,” said the 24-year-old and explained: “He’s a good captain, he fights for us and he brought his games home for us. This made us feel safer and we were able to score the crucial points.”