Germany, May 11, 2014: 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.
“I must have played him more than ten times, but this is only the second time I’ve ever beaten him,” said Osthoff. “And it’s the perfect time!
“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 set off at a blistering pace, dropping just s ingle 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).
Paderborner SC bt Black & White RC Worms 3/1
Borja Golan lost to Nick Matthew 5-11, 7-11, 4-11 (38m)
Simon Rösner bt Jens Schoor 11-1, 11-9, 11-5 (44m)
Raphael Kandra bt Tim Weber 11-7, 11-4, 11-5 (30m)
Lennart Osthoff bt Andre Haschker 10-12, 14-12, 11-9, 8-11, 11-8 (92m). “It really is an honour to be President of this club and this team.” —- Images courtesy of Jordan Mansfield