Gold for women, silver for men: The European Team Championships in Malmö clearly showed that Germany remains the leading table tennis nation in Europe.

After three European Championship titles in a row, the German men lost their final against hosts Sweden 1:3. However, the success also consisted of making it to the twelfth European Championship final in a row without the three top players Dang Qiu, Dimitrij Ovtcharov and Patrick Franziska and only with the long-injured Timo Boll (Borussia Düsseldorf) as the leader.

The 42-year-old Boll therefore spoke of “a good team performance” almost a year before the Olympic Games in Paris. Even with weakened replacements, the Germans went further in Malmö than France’s top talents or Portugal’s former European champions.

Sweden too strong

However, the Swedes were too strong in the final. Benedikt Duda (Schwalbe Bergneustadt) lost in 0:3 sets against the former World Cup runner-up Truls Möregardh. Boll then beat Bundesliga professional Mattias Falck (Werder Bremen) 3-2 after being 2-0 down. Kristian Karlsson against Kay Stumper (both Düsseldorf) and Möregardh against Boll won the decisive points for Sweden 3:2 each. The Germans now want to make up for their Olympic qualification at the Team World Championships in February.

For Boll in particular, this European Championship served the purpose of recommending himself for the games in Paris and getting match practice again after being out for months. In Malmö he has already beaten top players such as Marcos Freitas (Portugal) in the semi-finals, Tomislav Pucar (Croatia) in the quarter-finals and the former World Cup finalist Falck.

“I got a lot of messages: Timo is back. But I’m still on the brakes,” said Boll. “It’s a big fight for me to get back to the performance limit. But I’m working on it.”

Women win ninth European Championship title

The German women achieved their ninth European Championship title and direct Olympic qualification with six 3-0 wins in six tournament games. Even long-term rivals Romania had no chance on Sunday to take revenge for the lost final at the European Games in July. “Coach, staff and girls: They are simply brilliant!” said world number ten Ying Han, who defeated Romanian number one Bernadette Szöcs 3-1. Nina Mittelham and Xiaona Shan also won their games.