The BVB women's handball team have won their 11th game of the season. Coach André Fuhr's charges, who are still unbeaten in the league, initially struggled away to fifth-placed Neckarsulmer Sport-Union before ultimately claiming a 31-29 (16-17) victory.
The BVB women successfully overcame Neckarsulmer Sport-Union in a Bundesliga match bookended by their two Champions League ties in the space of a week – against Buducnost Podgorica last Saturday and CSKA Moscow this weekend. But the Black & Yellows did initially have some difficulties in their midweek outing to Baden-Württemberg, and ultimately had to battle hard to narrowly get the better of their hosts.
In a jittery opening period, some imprecise passing and some errors with their finishing in particular saw the Black & Yellows, who were repeatedly denied by Union goalkeeper Sarah Wachter, fall 4-7 behind (10). After Kelly Dulfer had surged through and made it 5-7, Neckersulm were hit with a time penalty. While a woman up, Alina Grijseels rounded off a counter-attack and Jennifer Gutiérrez Bermejo scored from seven metres to make it 7-8 (14). But Neckersulm responded by pulling three goals ahead (12-9) on 17 minutes, prompting André Fuhr to call his first time-out.
But even after bringing on several new faces in Inger Smits, Tessa van Zijl, Dana Bleckmann and Clara Monti Danielson, BVB could not close the deficit. While they did create some good chances, they were denied time and time again by the Neckarsulm goalie. A seven-metre throw from Isabell Roch and Jennifer Gutiérrez Bermejo's goal to make it 12-13 (22) were important moments 10 minutes before the end of the first half. Two minutes later, a speculative Inger Smits throw from the back area finally levelled the scores at 13-13 (24). But Neckarsulm remained unperturbed by the Dortmund fightback, and it was the Black & Yellows who went into half-time 16-17 down.
"It was a battling win today"
The second half started with Tina Abdulla equalising at 17-17 with a seven-metre throw, but an early time penalty against Tessa van Zijl and further misthrows from the Black & Yellows stopped them from taking the lead. But they did level the scores again at 19-19 courtesy of a double save from keeper Isabell Roch and an Abdulla goal on the counter (36). Some good goals from Inger Smits helped BVB stay in the game in the minutes that followed, and it was another Abdulla goal that eventually put Borussia ahead 23-22 in the 42nd minute. But the visiting side missed the chance to solidify their lead with two misplaced throws, before Tina Abdulla added another from the right flank. A good block at the back and a nice goal from Jennifer Gutiérrez Bermejo fired BVB into a 25-22 lead in the closing stages (47).
But the Dortmund victory was by no means sealed at this point. Following a time penalty for Neckarsulm, goal-getter Tina Abdulla made it 28-26 with a seven-metre throw on 55 minutes to give BVB some breathing space – however, they then made several misthrows and it remained close until the end. Jennifer Gutiérrez Bermejo's goal from the left flank to make 30-27 (58) brought the victory within sight, and even the man-marking on Inger Smits could not stop the Black & Yellows from taking the points. Laura van der Heijden rounded off the scoring for the visitors to make it 31-28, with Neckarsulm adding a consolation goal to make the final score 31-29.
"We'd been expecting a difficult game between our two away trips in the Champions League," explained BVB coach André Fuhr after the final whistle. "We didn't manage to get ourselves focused on the game in the first half, but we then fought our way into it in the second half. It was a battling victory today, but all in all we'll take the two points."
Those hard-fought points mean that Black & Yellows are still firmly on track in the Bundesliga with a points tally of 22-0. But the BVB women will not have much of a breather after their victory in Neckarsulm. They will be in Russia to face capital club CSKA Moscow in their next Champions League group game on Saturday (16:00 CET).
BVB women's handball team: Duijndam, Roch, ten Holte; Grijseels (2/1), Monti Danielsson, van der Heijden (3), van Zijl (1), Smits (6), Abdulla (7/4), Stockschläder, Gutiérrez Bermejo (7/2), Freriks (1), Dulfer (3), Rode, Bleckmann (1)