Nick Matthew Helps Black & White Worms of Paderborner To Reach Bundesliga Final

Defending champions Paderborner SC will be aiming for a record tenth title when they face German rivals Black & White Worms in Sunday's fotobuch.de Squash Bundesliga final at the Pink Power Squash Centre in Boeblingen for the second year in a row.

Paderborner defeated home team Sport-Insel Stuttgart 3/1 in the first semi-final to celebrate their 13th appearance in the final - and later Worms beat Squash Inn Hamborn, also by a 3/1 margin, to earn their third successive appearance in the climax.

Powerful performances by fourth and third strings Norman Junge and Raphael Kandra gave Paderborner the perfect start to their campaign. Junge, the 23-year-old German No7, beat Ben Petzoldt 12-10, 12-10, 11-3 before the national No2 Kandra despatched Valentin Rapp 11-6, 11-4, 11-4.

A battle between the third and fourth best players in the world then produced a fightback for Stuttgart when Frenchman Gregory Gaultier, the world No3, beat James Willstrop 11-5, 7-11, 11-7, 11-6. But the Englishman's second-game win in the 61-minute match was enough to guarantee Paderborner's place in the final.

However, Paderborn star Simon Rosner, the German number one who has been a central figure in the club's Bundesliga campaign since 2006, crushed Stuttgart's No2 Moritz Dahmen 11-2, 11-1 in the best-of-three 'dead rubber' to finish the tie on a high.

"Being very superstitious, I'm very happy to be in the final for the 13th time," said the Paderborn club team manager Norman Farthing. "Especially considering the state of our team about a week ago after Simon was forced to withdraw from a PSA event in Switzerland and we had injury problems with two other members of our squad.

"I was glad that Simon did so well in the Grand Slam Cup in Frankfurt earlier in the week as it did his confidence a power of good.

"But if we play Worms in the final - which is what I expect - we will have a tough job. They are a strong team and I think it will go down to the wire."

Peter Schmidl, manager of the Stuttgart team, said: "I was confident that Greg would win but I was disappointed by the performance of the other members of my team. I had hoped for more from them."

Worms went one up in the second semi when talented left-hander Tim Weber defeated David Kandra 11-6, 11-5, 11-1.

But a marathon battle followed, in which veteran Stefan Leifels, a 40-year-old former German champion, rolled back the years to beat current German international Andre Haschker 11-8, 13-15, 10-12, 12-10, 11-9 in 96 minutes to bring Squash Inn Hamborn back into contention.

The underdogs' dream was short-lived, however, as Nick Matthew - the world No2 from England making his season debut for Worms - beat national team-mate Daryl Selby 11-9, 11-8, 11-4 to ensure his team's third successive place in the final.

A long-drawn-out best-of-three dead rubber rounded off the long day when Jens Schoor beat Rudi Rohrmuller 13-11, 4-11, 11-9.

Leifels, the recent World O35 Masters runner-up, was understandably delighted with his earlier performance: "I was really pleased with this result as, with my work and family commitments, I don't have the chance to train like I used to - so I'm not as fit as guys who are playing full-time. So under the circumstances, it's probably one of my best ever wins."

"But this is probably my last appearance in the premier division of the Bundesliga as the demands are becoming too difficult to manage alongside my other commitments. I hope I will be able to find a team in the second division to play with, which will cut down the travelling."

Worms team manager Michael Zehe was pleased to be back in the final again: "Stefan played a clever game to win today, but I am not worried as the pressure will be off Andre tomorrow when he plays Kandra.

"It's a very important meeting with our big rivals Paderborn tomorrow though - especially as it will give Nick an important second match for us this season, which will enable him to play for us in the next European Club Championships.

"We will need to win at four - and we will need to win at one!"

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Nick Matthew, represented by internationalSPORTgroup, defeated compatriot Daryl Selby 11-9 11-8 11-4 to help Black & White Worms of Paderborner reach the fotobuch.de Squash Bundesliga final at the Pink Power Squash Centre in Boeblingen, Germany were they will play defending champions Paderborner Squash Club.