Rosner’s boys beat Matthew’s Worms in German League final
By HOWARD HARDING – Squash Mad Bundesliga Reporter
Paderborner SC triumphed 3/1 over defending champions Black & White RC Worms in today’s final of the fotobuch.de Squash Bundesliga to avenge their defeat in last year’s final and celebrate a record tenth title at Pink Power in Böblingen, near Stuttgart, in Germany.
It was a sensational climax to the season for the Westphalian club which won the prestigious Bundesliga trophy for the first time in 1999 and this year was marking a record 16th appearance in the final.
Paderborn stormed into the lead after Lennart Osthoff won the opening fourth string clash against Andre Haschker – beating the higher-ranked German for only the second time in his career.
But the 26-year-old underdog, the German No8, needed 92 minutes to survive a see-saw battle with Haschker, ultimately prevailing 10-12, 14-12, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8 over the 31-year-old sixth-ranked German.
“That was a massive game for me – I wanted to go on court and give the team a good lead. No-one expected me to win, so that made it even better!”
A 30-minute battle between two left-handers saw Paderborn stretch their lead when the country’s number two Raphael Kandra defeated promising 26-year-old Tim Weber 11-7, 11-4, 11-5.
The teams’ big guns followed – with Worms playing their trump card in world No2 Nick Matthew, the world champion from England, and Paderborn introducing their fresh top string Borja Golan, the world No7 from Spain who was rested for the previous day’s semi-final.
Matthew is enjoying a good week in Germany with two wins over France’s world No1 Gregory Gaultier and one over Egypt’s former world No1 Ramy Ashour.
And the Englishman extended his winning streak on the eve of next week’s British Open by despatching Golan 11-5, 11-7, 11-4 to reduce the deficit for his club.
“I’m just happy for the team that I’ve kept the final alive – at least I’ve made it interesting,” said Matthew after his 38-minute victory. “I’ve done all I could do.”
The packed Pink Power crowd prepared for the final showdown – in which the country’s top star Simon Rösner, the world No12 representing Paderborn, took on national rival Jens Schoor, the German No2.
Rösner (pictured left) set off at a blistering pace, dropping just a single point in the opening game – and, after a close-fought second, thrilled the Paderborn bench when he defeated Schoor 11-1, 11-9, 11-5 in 44 minutes to reclaim the title for his club.
“I’m really happy – and relieved,” said the 26-year-old who has been a central figure in the club’s Bundesliga campaign for the past nine seasons.
“It’s always tough against Jens – he can really come out firing and sneak in a couple of points early in a game and put you under pressure. I’m just glad to get past him.
“But it’s been an amazing team effort this year – and Lennie was unbelievable. He really deserved that win – we all knew he could do it!
“But we are a very special team – and we have to thank all those that work behind the scenes, particularly Norman (Farthing) and Andreas (Preisling). Our team is so well-run and well-organised.”
Norman Farthing, the Paderborn team manager, agreed with Rösner’s assessment of Osthoff’s contribution: “I think Lennie played the best game of squash I’ve ever seen him play.”
Club President Andreas Preisling was delighted with his team’s achievement: “At the moment I have a feeling of pride – you remember winning the first title in 1999 and since then further wins and further times as runner-up.
“But we were so much looking forward to winning a tenth title, and getting revenge for last year,” said Preisling (pictured above, far left, celebrating with his team).
“It really is an honour to be President of this club and this team.”
Worms & Paderborn To Contest
Third Successive Bundesliga Final
Defending champions Black & White RC Worms and former champions Paderborner SC will contest the third successive fotobuch.de Squash Bundesliga final after comfortable semi-final wins at Pink Power in Böblingen, near Stuttgart, today in Germany.
Paderborn, winners of the title a record nine times since 1999, defeated finals newcomers Königsbrunner SC 4/0, while in the second semi-final title-holders Worms despatched home favourites Sport-Insel Stuttgart, champions in 2006, by the same margin.
Appropriately, it was German number one Simon Rösner who clinched Paderborn a record 16th appearance in the final when he beat French rival Mathieu Castagnet.
The 26-year-old has been a central figure in the club’s Bundesliga campaign for the past nine seasons – during which time the team has only once failed to reach the final.
But the Paderborn star, ranked 12 in the world, was given a tough time by Castagnet, ranked 11 places lower. The French underdog took the opening game and forced the fourth into a tie-break.
But Rosner held his nerve to close out the match 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 13-11 in 80 minutes.
“He’s one of the biggest fighters in the game – he gets so much back,” said Rosner (pictured above) of his opponent later.
“I’ve been living in Paderborn for the last ten years now – it’s like a family. It’s not just a team I play for, it’s much more special.”
Memories of last year’s final still hurt: Rosner played the decider in which he had to win 3/0 in order for Paderborn to retain the trophy. But, leading 2/0, he dropped the third to lower-ranked compatriot Jens Schoor – causing the match to be abandoned as arch rivals Worms celebrated victory.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow now and really want to get the trophy back. We were very disappointed last year,” continued the eight-time German champion
“For the last three years I’ve had to win 3/0 and could not afford to lose a game. What’s a game! It seems so irrelevant when the match is the important thing.
“I just hope my team will be able to win a few more games tomorrow to take that pressure off!”
Earlier Paderborn fourth string Lennart Osthoff, the German No8, put the former champions into the lead with an 11-8, 11-5, 11-3 win over Florian Muhlberger – before second-ranked compatriot Raphael Kandra extended the lead by beating Simon Vaclahovsky 11-4, 11-4, 11-6.
England’s Chris Simpson followed team-mate Rosner’s win by beating 33-year-old Patrick Scherer 11-6, 11-6 in an 11-minute best-of-three dead rubber to give Paderborn a 4/0 victory.
The match the packed Pink Power crowd most wanted to witness was the top string clash in the second semi-final. Nick Matthew, the world No2 from England, faced world No1 Gregory Gaultier, the host club’s top string from France.
The Englishman was in sparkling form, defeating Gaultier for the second time in three days, 11-8, 11-2, 11-8 in 38 minutes.
Matthew is competing in his third event this week (the second in Germany) in advance of the British Open – one of the most prestigious championships on the international circuit – back on home soil next week.
“People have said ‘how can you do this – it’s not your usual preparation’,” said the three-time world champion (pictured above). “But for me, it’s just a state of mind.
“You just try and get the most out of it for next week – you forget what your opponent’s strengths are and just get on and play your game.
“I’ve played Greg so many times, so it’s been nice tonight to get the tactics out of the way and just play to your strengths.
“The difference today was probably that I was giving it 100% – which was helped by the fact that we were already 2/0 up – while Greg was probably thinking about the long drive he has tonight back to Prague.
“I got a lot out of the match – and I hope he got something too.
“In a situation like this, you either commit or not – and I certainly feel I have committed to everything I’ve done this week.
“As I said, it’s not my usual preparation – but who’s to say my ‘usual preparation’ is the right preparation!”
Matthew’s victory followed Worms’ wins by Andre Haschker and Tim Weber – German No6 Haschker overcoming 12th-ranked Ben Petzoldt 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6, and Weber, the country’s No5, avenging a shock defeat by Valentin Rapp earlier in the season to beat the German No10 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5 in 72 minutes.
“It was very important for me to win this time as last time I lost 3/2,” said left-hander Weber (pictured above).
“I felt good at the beginning of the match when I led 5-0, but then I let him get back. He plays on this court every day – it’s his home club – so he had that advantage.”
After Matthew’s success, team-mate Jens Schoor, the German No2, defeated Stuttgart’s Moritz Dahmen 11-4, 11-7 in a best-of-three encounter to give Worms maximum points.
RESULTS: fotobuch.de Squash Bundesliga, Böblingen, Germany
Paderborner SC bt Königsbrunner SC 4/0
Simon Rösner bt Mathieu Castagnet 8-11, 11-6, 11-8, 13-11 (80m)
Chris Simpson bt Patrick Scherer 11-6, 11-6 (11m)
Raphael Kandra bt Simon Vaclahovsky 11-4, 11-4, 11-6 (41m)
Lennart Osthoff bt Florian Muhlberger 11-8, 11-5, 11-3 (22m)
Black & White Worms bt Sport-Insel Stuttgart 4/0
Nick Matthew bt Gregory Gaultier 11-8, 11-2, 11-8 (38m)
Jens Schoor bt Moritz Dahmen 11-4, 11-7 (14m)
Tim Weber bt Valentin Rapp 12-10, 9-11, 11-7, 6-11, 11-5 (72m)
Andre Haschker bt Ben Petzoldt 7-11, 11-4, 11-8, 11-6 (58m)
Bundesliga images courtesy of Jordan Mansfield