The Borussia Dortmund women's handball team have beaten TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen 27-21 (13-10) away from home. The victory took coach André Fuhr's side, who have yet to drop a single point this season, back to the Bundesliga summit.
More than five minutes had elapsed at Leverkusen's Ostermann-Arena on Wednesday evening before Borussia found the net for the first time. Although the Black & Yellows did force the home side – defending compactly in a bank of six – into a technical error with their first attack, Kelly Dulfer was denied by the TSV goalkeeper. While Leverkusen scored two goals in the minutes that followed, Borussia saw two opportunities go begging as Alina Grijseels and Inger Smits missed from the seven-metre line and the back area respectively. As a result, Leverkusen led 2-0 until the sixth minute – when Tina Abdulla converted her penalty throw to get a first point on the board for BVB.
But the Black & Yellows soon turned it around and – despite having a time penalty imposed upon Alina Grijseels – led 3-2 by the eighth minute thanks to three consecutive saves by the in-form Yara ten Holte and goals from Kelly Dulfer and Johanna Stockschläder. Two further two-minute penalties were imposed upon the Dortmund ladies, with both Johanna Stockschläder and Laura van der Heijden forced to leave the court temporarily.
Though consistently a player down, Borussia Dortmund did not give up their lead and went 7-6 ahead through Tessa van Zijl in the 15th minute. After pivot Merel Freriks had twice converted after being fed with excellent passes, Jennifer Gutiérrez Bermejo extended the lead to three goals for the first time and put the Black & Yellows 10-7 in front. Aided by several misthrows from BVB, Leverkusen fought back to within one goal of their opponents. But a focused display from Borussia in the final minutes of the opening half ensured that they went in at half-time with 13-10 lead.
Clara Monti Danielsson makes comeback
BVB quickly succeeded in pulling away after the interval, leading 15-10 by the 32nd-minute thanks to a goal from left winger Johanna Stockschläder, a good block in defence and a Kelly Dulfer goal from the back area. A couple of minutes after the restart, André Fuhr sent on Dana Bleckmann and Clara Monti Danielsson, who had missed the previous few games after sustaining a concussion.
Not even the substitutions could disrupt BVB's flow, and Inger Smits exploited a gap in the Leverkusen rearguard a short while later to make the score 20-15 (40). With the score 22-16 to the Black & Yellows midway through the second period, the hosts called a time out. But Dortmund could not be knocked out of their rhythm. Jennifer Rode, who had moved to Dortmund from Leverkusen prior to the start of the season, was introduced to the fray with 10 minutes of the match remaining. BVB held on to their lead and Tina Abdulla made it 25-18 on the 54-minute mark after receiving a lovely pass from Alina Grijseels, who had appeared to have no route through the TSV defence.
Leverkusen managed to narrow the deficit in the closing stages, but Borussia still emerged as comfortable 27-21 winners in the end. The two points mean that BVB, who have a points tally of 26-0 from their 13 games, have moved back above Bietigheim (25-3 points from 14 games) and lead the Bundesliga table once again. Borussia will be looking to strengthen their hold on top spot when they host FSV Mainz 05 on Saturday evening (19:30 CET).
BVB women's handball team: Duijndam, Roch, ten Holte; Grijseels, van der Heijden, van Zijl (3), Smits (4), Abdulla (6/1), Stockschläder (5), Freriks (3), Dulfer (3), Rode, Bleckmann (1), Vollebregt, Gutiérrez Bermejo (1), Monti Danielsson (1)