The German men’s table tennis national team is surprisingly in the final of the team world championship in China. A day after their comeback against France, Dang Qiu, Benedikt Duda and Kay Stumper also won a semi-final thriller against South Korea 3-2 on Saturday.

After a total playing time of more than three and a half hours, the 28-year-old Duda finally defeated the former World Cup bronze medalist An Jaehyun in the decisive fifth game in 3:2 sets.

“I don’t know what to say. The team was great today. We fought like crazy,” said the Bundesliga professional from TTC Schwalbe Bergneustadt.

The final opponent on Sunday (1.30 p.m.) will be determined in the second semi-final between host China and Olympic bronze medalist Japan. Germany versus China would be a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final, which the Chinese won 3-0 in Halmstad. Four years ago, the team of national coach Jörg Roßkopf still played with Timo Boll, Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Patrick Franziska, all of whom are absent from this World Cup.

This is precisely why the German team’s return to the final is such a big surprise. “We will prepare well again and deliver a great fight tomorrow as well,” said Duda.

The world number 36 brought against South Korea. his team already had a 1-0 lead when he defeated South Korea’s top player Jang Woojin in 3-1 sets. European singles champion Dang Qiu (Borussia Düsseldorf) then lost 3-1 to An Jaehyun, who was third in the singles World Cup in 2019 but had hardly played in this tournament before.

After a five-set defeat by 19-year-old World Cup debutant Kay Stumper against Cho Seungmin, the German team was 2-1 behind. But first Dang Qiu won the duel between the two leading players against Jang Woojin (3:1). Then Duda was the decisive man again, as in the 3-2 win over France after being 2-0 down.