The BVB women's handballers have reached the DHB-Pokal quarter-finals – as they did last year – thanks to a 32-26 (18-14) away win over HSG Blomberg-Lippe in East Westphalia. Borussia's standout performer was captain Alina Grijseels with 11 goals.
The scenario: As a Bundesliga team, BVB were seeded in the DHB-Pokal and entered the competition at the second-round stage with an away trip to Füchse Berlin. The Black & Yellows won 34-16 in the capital in mid-October.
Personnel matters: Three BVB players were missing in Blomberg. Harma van Kreij will not play again this year due to the knee injury she suffered at the European Championships. Haruno Sasaki is away with Japan at the Asian Championships and is only expected back in Dortmund on 7 December. Pivot Lisa Antl also was not in the squad.
The match & analysis: The home side from Blomberg also had numerous injury absentees, including the former Dortmund player Marie Michalczik and Nele Franz. But that didn't make things any easier for BVB – at least in the opening stages. Blomberg raced into an 8-6 lead inside 10 minutes. The BVB defence initially particularly struggled to contain left winger Alexia Hauf, who got the better of goalkeeper Yara ten Holte three times in the opening phase.
BVB coach Henk Groener had to call his first-time out in the ninth minute to set his team on the right track. Eight minutes later, Alina Grijseels levelled the scores at 10-10 with her third seven-metre throw. By the 20th minute, the Black & Yellows were showing their class. Sarah Garovic and Zoe Sprengers further tipped the scales with goals to make it 14-11 and 15-11 respectively, before Alina Grijseels scored her eighth goal to make it 18-14 at the break.
But it remained a tight affair. BVB could not cope with Blomberg's front-foot defending, missed clear chances time and time again, and led only by 25-24 with 11 minutes remaining. It was only in the closing stages that the Black & Yellows upped the ante again, with a nice goal from Lena Hausherr on the 58-minute mark making it 31-26 and definitively putting the game to bed.
Outlook: Both the home and away legs in the third and final qualifying round for the group stages of the EHF European League will take place in Dortmund this weekend, with Serbian side ZRK Zeleznicar the opponents. Throw-off in the first leg is at 12:00 CET on 3 December. The return leg will follow one day later, on 4 December (11:00 CET). Both matches will be played at the Helmut-Körnig-Halle.
Alina Grijseels: "Blomberg didn't surprise us; we knew about their qualities. We were not focused ourselves to begin with, nor were we at the start of the second half. But we still deserved to win in the end."
Dana Bleckmann: "For a long time, we did not properly get to grips with Blomberg's tempo play."
Henk Groener: "I'm happy that we've reached the next round of the cup. We struggled for a long time. In both halves, we struggled to begin with."
BVB Women: Moth, ten Holte, Grijseels (11/6), Sprengers (2), Kusian (1), Ossenkopp (4), Olsson (1), Rønning (4), Stens, Bleckmann (4), Hausherr (2/1), Garovic (3), Schwarz