The coming months will be complicated for the Borussia Dortmund women's handball team. Having already had their Bundesliga games against HSG Blomberg-Lippe and HSG Bad Wildungen Vipers called off, a third postponement has now been announced: the top match against Thüringer HC, which was scheduled to start at 19:30 CET on Wednesday, will no longer take place as planned.

Almost the entire THC squad has been infected with the coronavirus, with the final cases set to come out of quarantine on Tuesday. THC would have been required to play in Dortmund within 24 hours of quarantine ending. A real problem, as Dortmund boss André Fuhr explained: "There is a lack of a binding rule regarding how one should proceed after recovering from infection. In any case, one cannot immediately go full-throttle again after quarantine is over."

The three postponed fixtures have not yet been rescheduled. But given that BVB have more or less one English week after another coming up, the only opportunity to fulfil those fixtures will be the short period between the final Champions League group match on 19 February against FTC Cargo-Rail Hungaria and the first play-off clash on 26 March – should they qualify. It will be tight in any case. "In my eyes, it would've been preferable if we could've maintained our rhythm. We've played on Wednesdays and the weekend almost the entire season. Now we'll need to improvise again. I think it'll be rather complicated with the postponed fixtures," said Dortmund boss André Fuhr following the latest cancellation.

The reason for the cancellation of the Thüringen game is the same as the previous postponements. Either the opposition's players are currently infected with the coronavirus and in quarantine as a result, or they have only just recovered from the disease. As is the case for Thüringer HC, who said in a statement: ""Today's medical examinations of our players have concluded that playing next Wednesday is not recommended from a medical point of view. The team will start with a fitness training session once the Covid infections are over."

It is a problem that Dortmund coach André Fuhr is familiar with, and one that is currently affecting Jennifer Gutiérrez Bermejo, who has also had the virus. The Spaniard was able to follow the Champions League clash with Rostov-Don on Saturday from the stands, but she still needs to stay patient. "We're now going to proceed with Jennifer's medical examinations," said Fuhr. Whether the winger will be back in time for the away game in Bucharest on Saturday is not yet clear. The Dortmund team will fly to Romania on Friday. 

Goalkeeper Madita Kohorst is in the same predicament as Jennifer Gutiérrez Bermejo. She withdrew from the game against Rostov after contracting the virus and is currently still in quarantine. As was the case against Rostov, goalkeeping coach Clara Woltering will take the young goalkeeper's place on the bench and step in if necessary.

Corona cases are by no means a new phenomenon. Either in the Bundesliga, where many games have been cancelled, or in the Champions League. Most recently, Danish giants Esbjerg went down with a number of cases in the week following their 25-23 victory against Rostov-Don in Russia. The Danes subsequently called off their fixture against Podravka Vegeta. In any case, a sense of uncertainty prevails. Especially as the European Handball Federation only requires negative lateral flow tests for fixtures in the Champions League, rather than PCR tests.

In view of the numerous absences that BVB have repeatedly had to contend with for months, however, the team is faring surprisingly well. As they demonstrated recently against Rostov-Don, who ultimately only won 31-25 – despite having several top European players like Grace Zaadi Deuna, Eduarda Amorim Taleska, Anna Lagerquist and Iuliia Managarova in their ranks. "Rostov, of course, operate under completely different financial conditions; their budget is probably two or three times as large as ours," estimated Fuhr. With that in mind, they gave an extremely good account of themselves. Fuhr singled out the performance of new signing Fatos Kücükyildiz for praise.