The 2023 Bundesliga Finals continue today at Turnhalle in Krefeld with two semi-final matches.
Yesterday’s victors Diepholz and Krefeld, both second-place finishers in the league stage, took on big guns Worms and Paderborn, the league winners who were looking to set up a fourth consecutive final – and a 10th overall – between them.
Eight exclamation marks, because Paderborn have won the last eight finals, but today they were sensationally beaten by Diepholz, in only their second playoff weekend, on points countback.
There was no sign of the drama to come as Tobias Weggen got Paderborn off to a solid start, but Mazen Hesham turned on the style to level, both finishing three-nil. Dimitri Steinmann started well enough against Rory Stewart but the Scot struck back to take the next three, putting Diepholz ahead and Paderborn needing a good win in the final match.
When Felix Auer took the first game, with Lucas Wirths hitting tin after tin, Diepholz were on the brink with Paderborn now only able to win on points countback.
Lucas did eventually win in four, but at the start of the fourth Felix Auer knew he only needed a solitary point to take his team to the final, and that was delivered in just the second point of the game.
Worms are no strangers to these finals weekends, they’ve been in six of the last eight finals but their last win was in 2013, so when arch-rivals Paderborn were beaten in the first match, they must have sensed an opportunity.
Up against home side Krefeld, who they’d already faced twice in the league rounds, they took nothing for granted as Carsten Schoor and Paul Coll put them two-nil up without dropping a game.
One more game was needed, and although Balasz Farkas delightedly denied them that in the third match, Elliot Morris soon enough delivered as he completed the win with another three-nil.
Great for Worms, but the story of the day belongs to Diepholz …