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Match report

31-20 defeat in Bietigheim – Champions too strong for BVB women's handballers

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The best German women's handball team at present were simply too strong for the BVB women's handballers. The Borussia ladies lost their rescheduled match away to league leaders Bietigheim by a 31-20 (16-11) scoreline on Wednesday evening.

The scenario: After dropping points in the 28-28 draw away to Union Halle-Neustadt and the 29-28 defeat in Bensheim on the last matchday, BVB needed to win in Bietigheim and against Buxtehude on Saturday in order to keep their minimal chances of second place alive.

Personnel matters: Similarly to last week, BVB coach Henk Groener had an almost full squad at his disposal. Lena Degenhardt (torn cruciate ligament) was the sole injury absentee. 

The match & analysis: Anyone who thought that coach Jakob Vestergaard's team would rotate ahead of the upcoming Final4 of the EHF Champions League was mistaken. The German champions wanted to bid farewell to their fans with a gala performance in their final home game at Sporthalle am Viadaukt. From next season the Ludwigsburg MHP Arena will serve as the permanent home of the team, which will henceforth be named HB Ludwigsburg.

The star-studded side from Baden-Württemberg showed no weakness, while BVB's play contained some inaccuracies in the opening stages. But the Black & Yellows stayed in contention and subsequently made fewer mistakes. Only the defence was not as solid as they would have wanted and lacked controlled – which Henk Groener bemoaned in the first time-out. After a lovely goal by Harma van Kreij and a great throw by the strong Lisa Antl from the circle, the home team only led 7-6 by the 10-minute mark. BVB were back in contention.

But not for long. It was already 10-7 to SG women when Sarah Wachter replaced Tess Lieder in goal after a quarter-hour and 12-7 by the 20-minute mark following a great throw from Xenia Smits from 11 metres. At the other end, BVB had an extremely difficult time of it and could not find any gaps against the Bietigheim defence marshalled by Kelly Dulfer and Xenia Smits.

And when they did, SG's Brazilian goalkeeper Moreschi was on hand to save her team. Only 11 goals in 30 minutes were simply too few for a top team like BVB.

The BVB defence initially settled more into the game after the break but were not able to prevent the margin from growing further. By the 50th minute, it was 24-18. Things then became a little too clear-cut in the final stages: BVB were already 28-19 behind with five minutes remaining, with Bietigheim's Karolina Kudlacz-Gloc then upping the score to 31-20 with 15 seconds left.

Reactions: Henk Groener: "Bietigheim went full-throttle from the beginning, we left excessive gaps in defence and did not get their tempo play under control. We were even with them after the break and worked hard but could not implement what we had set out to do. But that was partly down to Bietigheim's strong defence, which caused us headaches – and not only today."

Lisa Antl: "You can tell that we've run out of steam. Bietigheim, on the other hand, just kept going. Congratulations on the win, but the margin of victory was far too high. But in Xenia Smits, Bietigheim also have what I consider to be the world's best defender. I'd rather play in a team with her than against her. We're very frustrated with fourth place, even though we still had high hopes three weeks ago, were in second position and threw everything at it."

Outlook: The big season finale will take place at Halle Wellinghofen at 19:00 CEST on Saturday. The opponents in the final game of the season will be Buxtehuder SV.


The BVB women's handball team: Lieder, Wachter; Hausherr, Sprengers (4/1), Kusian (1), Antl (4), van Kreij (2), Stolle (4), Ossenkopp (1), Sasaki (2), Olsson, Rønning, Bleckmann, Campos Costa (2/1)