BVB women aiming to qualify for Final Four in return leg
The return leg of the European League quarter-finals is taking place in Hamm on Sunday. The BVB women's handballers will be looking to turn around the defeat to Neptunes de Nantes from a week ago and qualify for the Final Four. The personnel situation looks good, with a full squad available again after the return of Alina Grijseels and Meret Ossenkopp.
The 28-19 scoreline in the first leg in Nantes last Sunday naturally did not leave Henk Groener and his players jumping for joy, but the coach did not see the performance in an entirely negative light a few days later. "Yes, we were inferior, but we didn't play badly. That's something different for me. It would've been bad if we simply hadn't performed," he declared.
Groener believes that his team took a big step forward compared to their recent matches in the Bundesliga. "We gave everything from the start and also fought accordingly. That has been somewhat missing. Unfortunately, we went up against an opponent that had a very good day. And we failed to take our chances. And in defence too, not everything was always right. It was not our best game, but not our worst either," the Dutchman said.
In his eyes, the final result did not fully reflect the balance of play. "Everyone that was in the hall felt it was tighter than the scoreline suggests. And of course, it will be a tough task to reach the Final Four. That said, we will give everything to win this match. You always have a chance and in handball especially, things can happen quickly," he said optimistically.
It is not out of the question that they might lead by a couple of goals by the 20-minute mark and the opposition might start to get a bit nervous. Groener and his players are counting on great support from the stands. "We felt what it means to have 11,000 fans behind you in the Westfalenhalle. We look forward to the hall being full and the spectators getting on board and cheering us on," said the BVB coach, who is hoping for a full house.
For this bid to turn around this quarter-final tie in the second leg, he will most likely be able to rely on two key performers once again. Captain Alina Grijseels is on the verge of her comeback, while Meret Ossenkopp has recovered from her cold. Throw-off at the Westpress-Arena in Hamm is at 16:00 CET; there will be further information in the digital programme. Tickets can be purchased easily via the online Ticket Shop. Those who stay at home can watch the game via DAZN.