Due to the attack on Ukraine, German table tennis star Dimitrij Ovtcharov is leaving his Russian club. The Bundesliga club TTC Neu-Ulm is now building a "dream team" around him and is being heavily criticized for the elite star ensemble.
In the table tennis scene, after the bulk purchase of the Bundesliga club TTC Neu-Ulm, there is increasing public criticism of the future "Dream Team" around the two-time Olympic bronze medalist Dimitrij Ovtcharov. In his column for the specialist magazine "Tischtennis", the German ex-champion Ricardo Walther described the club's plans to form a pure Champions League team with the long-standing Russian legionnaire Ovtcharov at the top as "somehow strange".
From Walther's point of view, due to a lack of tradition, the southern Germans are developing a plastic club image similar to that of Bundesliga club RB Leipzig in football. "When a club that has only existed for a short time buys a squad like this because the money is obviously there, it has a bit of an aftertaste," wrote the former European team champion and former third-place finisher in doubles.
Due to the manageable number of appearances of the elite star ensemble only in the European premier class, Walther warns against the public perception of the Swabians as mercenaries: "It is clear that the identification of the players will not be so high if they only serve for the club from time to time ."
Neu-Ulm was only founded in 2019 to receive a wild card for the Bundesliga. In the previous year, the club, which only has a professional department, bought into the Champions League again without any sporting qualifications.
A month ago, the club announced the commitment of veteran Ovtcharov and three other top 10 or top 20 players. Due to the German and international rules, however, the quartet will never be able to play together completely. The Swedish World Cup runner-up Truls Möregardh and Japan's "child prodigy" Tomokazu Harimoto will also not be allowed to compete in the Bundesliga and the national cup due to parallel engagements in other countries. Additional appearances in the two German competitions by Ovtcharov after twelve years with a top Russian team or the Taiwanese Olympic fourth-placed player Lin Yun-Ju in the Bundesliga are currently not guaranteed either.