Borussia Dortmund's women's handball team showed no weakness in the final stages of the 2021/22 Bundesliga season. In an explosive NRW derby in Leverkusen, the runners-up dominated in a convincing manner, going into the break leading 17-10 and despite a brief period of weakness, ultimately won by a highly deserved 31-23 margin.

What else did head coach André Fuhr ask for in the build up to the third-last game of the season? Professionalism, concentration and motivation. That's right. And it was exactly this mixture that BVB showed in the Ostermann Arena in Leverkusen. Things got off to a swift start in Leverkusen. Viola Leuchter and Svenja Huber, the ex-Borussia player, had quickly given Bayer the lead. Alina Grijseels, who scored two penalties and a beautiful goal in the follow-through, and Laura van der Heijden equalised and then gave BVB a 4-3 lead, before Tina Abdulla increased the advantage to 6-3. Leverkusen coach Johan Petersson not only took the first time-out, but also decided to have Alina Grijseels marked for a short period as well.

But BVB did not let that bother them, played incredibly concentrated and confidently in defence, forcing the Leverkusen players to make mistakes again and again, which the fast outfield players Tina Abdulla and Jennifer Gutiérrez Bermejo took advantage of. A quarter of an hour had passed before BVB was already leading 10:6.

And the BVB express kept rolling. The Bundesliga runner-up did not show any weakness, playing much stronger than last time out against Buchholz-Rosengarten. BVB captain Alina Grijseels played especially great, scoring six times in the first period alone. When Leverkusen took the second time-out in the 23rd minute, BVB had already carved out a 15-8 advantage.

Head coach André Fuhr could afford to make changes before the break and brought in Frida Rønning, Haruno Sasaki, Tessa van Zijl and Mie Sando. BVB went into the break with a 17-10 lead. The quick Netherlands international Zöe Sprengers, a new signing for BVB in the coming season, had scored goal number ten for Leverkusen on the stroke of half time. For the runners-up, it proved a commanding and clear advantage. In the first meeting of the two sides earlier this season in Dortmund, BVB had still been trailing at this point.

In the second half, André Fuhr did not change the line-up at first, continuing to rely on his bench players and took the opportunity to give his front seven a breather - the BVB coach only brought on Alina Grijseels in attack. In the 40th minute of the game, the Black & Yellows led 22-15, but the lead melted away between the 35th and 45th minutes. When André Fuhr took his first time-out in the 43rd minute, the score was only 22-17 in BVB’s favour. Leverkusen was back in the game when Annefleur Bruggeman reduced the deficit even further to make the score 20-23. But BVB picked up the pace after that. Two goals by Laura van der Heijden and one by Mia Zschocke quickly ensured a comfortable 5-goal margin, which was further extended to 31-23 at the final whistle.

It was the 21st win in 24 Bundesliga games for the Dortmund team. The most successful scorer against the eternal rivals from the Rhineland was Alina Grijseels with eight goals. On Saturday, the Black & Yellows welcome the HSG Bad Wildungen Vipers for their last home game of the season. Kick-off is at 19:00 CET in the Wellinghofen hall.

BVB: ten Holte, Stannies; Grijseels (8/4), Zschocke (4), Sando (2), van Zijl (2), Moreno, Abdulla (5), Gutiérrez Bermejo (2), Freriks (2), Sasaki (1), van der Heijden (4), Rønning (1), Nordberg, Bomnüter, Uscinowicz