Of the two "lucky losers marius zaus had the most luck at the german table tennis championships in bamberg. The spvgg effeltrich top division player not only slipped into the main draw by virtue of a draw, but was even able to enjoy a duel with defending champion bastian steger. But that's not all: since last year's winner had to retire due to injury, the 17-year-old suddenly found himself in the eighth finals. Even though the number two from effeltrich lost out to the experienced nico christ from the second division TV hilpoltstein 1:4, zaus left the stechert arena as a happy man. "Full fat" he made his debut at the german championship, and a broad grin was on his face.
Call shortly before midnight
Fate was kind to the young hummeltaler from the district of bayreuth, who has been three years for the spvgg effel trich swings the table tennis bat. After two defeats on friday in the qualifying round against ara karakulak (TTC altena) and hartmut lohse (TSV schwarzenbek), zaus came to a victory over dennis haberle (SV viktoria preuben), who retired in the third set due to injury.
As the third member of his group, zaus assumed that the "german" but a call from his coach shortly before midnight radically changed his plans for the weekend. "At first I thought he was pulling my leg", said zaus, after his coach had told him that he would have to play last year's winner bastian steger on saturday in the first main round. After the last-minute cancellations of the two national players dimitrij ovtcharov and ruwen filus, two places became free, and zaus was one of the two lucky third-place finishers in the group who were selected by lot for the 32-player main draw.
After a short night, the top league player faced the olympic third of the team competition and champion of the past two years. "It was cool to play against bastian. As a national player, he has a very high level of basic security. That's why I thought, "I have nothing to lose and I'm going on the attack, said zaus, who quickly noticed that steger kept grabbing his left thigh between ball changes.
The first set was lost by the initially nervous effeltricher with 5:11, the second he won surprisingly with 11:6, by surprising the upper palatinate with some jerks and also some topspin rallies. With a 5:2 lead in the third set, steger gave up because of the strain he had suffered in the doubles match. The defending champion had the disappointment written all over his face. "I didn't know marius. He didn't make a bad impression on me, but to be honest, I was busy enough with myself", said steger.
For the high school student zaus, who has been attending the table tennis boarding school in kolbermoor for the past three years, a dream has come true with the leap into the eighth finals. He finished seventh in the top 12 tournament in nassau in mid-february, earning himself a spot in the german championships. Further participations in national title fights are to follow. In bamberg, zaus got a taste for it.