Scotland defeat defending champions Germany
Date: 2/13/2015 1:40 AM
Published by : Manuel Røsler
The much anticipated group shootout between defending champions Germany and pretenders to the throne Scotland provided all the drama in a hotly contested day of final group matches that yielded the 8 quarter finalists from the 4 groups.

Germany came into the event without top men’s singles player Marc Zwiebler but even without the European champion from 2012 many expected Germany to comfortably deal with the Scottish threat and assume a seeded position in the quarter finals.

Germany got off to the worst possible start as Karin Schnaase looked a shadow of her former self going down in two games to Kirsty Gilmour. Gilmour controlled the match from start to finish. Dieter Domke would have expected to level the match against Kieran Merrilees but the Scot, who has found a new lease of life and a fresh desire for badminton after returning home to train permanently, was in inspiring form. After sharing the opening games Merrilees looked to be cruising leading 17-12 before the German forced a comeback to lead 20-17.

“I turned to look at my coach at that point and saw her shake her head. I knew that I had to do something to turn this around as I wanted to really contribute to the team.” Said Merrilees.

The Scot managed to settle his nerves and won the next five points in a row to claim the win and put Scotland into a 2-0 overall lead.

“It was a great feeling to win after some bad times in the sport. I have returned home to live and train now and I feel much more settled and I am enjoying the game again and I think that showed today”.

The German were always going to fight back with the quality of their doubles and Nelte & Goliszewski got the German train back on track with a women’s doubles win. The newly crowned German national champions, Zurwonne & Schwenger followed up with a defiant victory in the men’s doubles to level the match 2-2.

The final mixed doubles proved to be an enthralling affair of top class badminton with Germany’s world number 10 pair of Fuchs and Michels the favourites to beat the well-travelled Scottish pair of Blair and Bankier.
The Scots looked severely ring rusty in the opening game going down 21-12 before bouncing back to beat the Germans by the same score in the second. The Scots displayed their undoubted world class ability in the deciding set to take the match 21-18 proving there is certainly life left in the legs of Bankier and Blair.

“It is matches like this that keep us involved in the game” said Bankier. “We got off to a terrible start but we were determined to build on the great work of Kirsty and particularly Kieren. It’s a great feeling to win and top the group as we are a small but very close team”

France upset the seeding to top group

France continued on their merry way in group 4 and got out the blocks quickly against Russia taking the first three matches to guarantee them a seeded position in the quarter finals as group winners. The Russians did bounce back with a first win of the week for European Champions Ivanov and Sozonov before women’s doubles pair Bolotova and Kosetskaya at least gave the Russians some momentum heading into the quarters with a well-constructed win.

England won both their group matches on day two easily defeating a weakened Irish team who were without Chloe Magee 5-0 before wrapping up the group with another 5-0 win over Belgium. The Irish advance to the quarter final as runners up in the group for the first time in their history.
Denmark taken the distance by Dutch.

After destroying Poland in their opening group match the Netherlands got a chance to flex their muscle, the difference this time the match was against top seeds and tournament favourites Denmark. The Danes had defeated Poland earlier in the day before unleashing Jan Ø. Jørgensen in the evening session. The world number 2 beat Eric Pang in two games and Line Kjaersfeldt followed Jorgensen’s example beating Soraya De Visch Eijbergen in the women’s singles.

The Dutch fought back with arguably player of the tournament so far Jacco Arends and his partner Jelle Maas setting the tone beating Kim Astrup and Anders Skaarup Rasmussen in two games. Number two European women’s doubles pair Piek and Muskens followed up with a two game win over the unlikely pairing of Madsen and Thygesen.

Normal order was resumed as world number 2 pair Fischer and Pedersen halted the Dutch steam train to close out the match 3-2 and claim top spot in the group with The Dutch runners up.

The draw for the quarter finals was made immediately after the conclusion of the group matches with the top teams being split into four groups and the runners up from each group drawn randomly to play each group winner.

European Mixed Team Championships Quarter Final line up:

Denmark V Ireland
France V Germany
England V The Netherlands
Scotland V Russia

Article and Images by Mark Phelan (Live in Leuven).
© All rights reserved.

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