Germany today create one of the biggest upsets in the history of European team badminton championships by defeating Denmark to end the Scandinavian’s dominance in the event which has stretched back more than 16 years. It was a foolish who would have bet on Denmark losing their title at these Championships, the last team to beat them was Sweden way back in 1994. However today in Ramenskoe, Germany did just that in the most emphatic manner possible.
The Germans, whom you will remember defeated Demark in the women’s team event in Amsterdam last year, relied once again on their ladies and in particular the strength of their star player Juliane Schenk. The world number 4 opened up preceding’s with a two set victory over Danish youngster Line Kjaersfeldt and from there the Germans never really looked back.
“I felt very good and comfortable today. Line is young and I knew that experience is key in matches like this and I used that advantage.” Said a delighted Schenk after delivering the opening point.
The best resistance Denmark could offer came in the shape of ‘Mr Denmark’, Hans-Kristian Vittinghus who took Marc Zwiebler to three games but after the Germans victory in three sets the momentum was certainly in favour of the Germans. Even at 2-0 ahead after the singles everyone in the hall expected Denmark to come through with world number 4 women’s doubles pair Pedersen and Juhl, world number 1 men’s doubles pair Boe & Mogensen and world number 4 mixed doubles pair Fischer and Pedersen to come?
Germany had other ideas and an inspired performance once again by Schenk alongside Birgit Michels dominated all aspects of the women’s doubles leaving Pedersen and Juhl looking to Lars Uhre at the rear court for inspiration. The tie was settled when player of the tournament Schenk played a soft drop which had the Danes scrambling and team Germany as expected invaded the court in celebration.
“This is an unbelievable feeling. Birgit and I felt so relaxed from the first point and we enjoyed the match and we never felt like losing today. I noticed we were smiling and playing free and they were they opposite. Today was our day” said an emotional Schenk after the historic win.
Head coach Holger Hasse was equally lost for words as he explained what the win means for German badminton. “We have world class players and they proved that today against a world class Danish team. Days like these give you goose bumps and we worked hard and deserved the win.”
Hasse of course led the German juniors ton the European Junior equivalent in Finland two years ago. What about Denmark? Maybe they paid a big price for leaving Tine Baun and Jan Ø Jørgensen at home but that aside some of their big hitters underperformed. Boe and Mogensen showed signs of weakness in their defeat to England yesterday and Pedersen and Juhl were just a little below their extremely high standard.
The Danes will be back but for now it’s Germany who can bask in the glory as 2013 European Mixed Team Champions adding to the 2012 European Women’s Team Championships they won last year.
WS Juliane Schenk bt Line Kjærsfeldt 21-9, 21-16
MS Marc Zwiebler bt Hans-Kristian Vittinghus 21-17, 7-21, 21-8
WD Michels/Schenk bt Pedersen/Rytter Juhl 21-19, 21-15
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Article by Mark Phelan (Live in Ramenskoe) Photo Badminton Photo (Live)