The build-up to the game could have been better: six players out injured and the game and the return trip from Montenegro – victory was far from a foregone conclusion. So the joy was all the greater at 20:56 CET on Wednesday evening, when the final siren sounded to confirm the final score of 37-31 (24-15) to the Borussia Dortmund handball women against Buxtehuder SV.
After their fourth victory in four games in the Handball-Bundesliga Women, the reigning champions are top of the league again. BVB coach André Fuhr was clearly happy with his team's performance after the final whistle: "If someone had told me before the game that we would win by six goals, I would have bitten their hand off. We played really well for 45 minutes," said Fuhr, but he also had some criticism of the performance: "In the last quarter of an hour, however, we didn't do enough and the players coming off the bench couldn't do what I wanted."
The hosts started strongly. Travel fatigue? No sign of it! Amelie Berger made it 1-0 in front of 260 spectators in the Wellinghofen Halle with a remarkable goal of a rotation. Shortly afterwards, Dana Bleckmann increased the lead to 2-0 after two minutes. Yara ten Holte obviously didn't leave her good Champions League form on the plane – in the first five minutes she made two good saves from Buxtehude.
After Jackie Moreno made it 8-1 in the eighth minute, away coach Dirk Leun had already seen enough and took his second time-out – a clear sign that he was not happy with his team's performance. But BVB's good run was not interrupted – on the contrary. The away defence could not stop the brilliantly on-form Berger. On top of that, Alina Grijseels was once again in impressive form, operating as a playmaker, defender and finding success from the seven-metre line.
Nevertheless, the lack of concentration in the final third became an increasing concern and the Dortmund defence lost some of their hold on the game. Five minutes before the end of the first half, Fuhr took the team's first time time-out with the score at 20-13. Good timing, as BVB then mobilised all their forces again and went into the dressing room with an impressive 24-15 scoreline. "The court coverage and speed at the beginning were impressive," Fuhr summarised.
Grijseels marked the start of the second 30 minutes by converting a seven-metre throw. Hearts were in mouths in the 33rd minute, when Fatos Kucükyildiz went down injured while defending and had to be treated. We were still waiting for an exact diagnosis after the final whistle. However, eight minutes after the restart, BVB had pulled away to 30-17. ten Holte brought the crowd to their feet with a great block with her foot with the score at 33-22 a quarter of an hour before the final whistle.
Now was also the time for Fuhr, despite his decimated squad, to give some players a breather, so Frida Rønning got some match practice as Alina Grijseels caught her breath. When ten Holte took advantage of the open Buxtehuder goal and scored herself on 37 minutes, BVB were well on course for victory. In the final few minutes, the Dortmund women did not let anything slip and came away with the points thanks to a 37-31 win.
On Saturday, the BVB handball women are back in action in the Champions League at 18:00 CET. The German champions will play host to the top French club Brest Bretagne in the Helmut-Körnig-Halle. Tickets for the game can be pre-ordered. All the information can be found here.
BVB: ten Holte (1), Kohorst – Grijseels (9/6), Kücükyildiz, van der Heijden (4), Rønning (2/1), Bleckmann (7), Sando (1), Freriks (3), Berger (6), Moreno (3), Abdulla (1), Schwarz