The Borussia Dortmund women's handball team will welcome TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen to Halle Wellinghofen for a Bundesliga derby clash on Wednesday evening (19:30 CET). The game against their fellow North Rhine-Westphalians is the first of four important matches coming up for the Black & Yellows over the next fortnight.
Leverkusen in the Bundesliga on Wednesday. Podravka Vegeta in the Champions League on Sunday. Metzingen in the league the following Wednesday. Then a cup tie in Blomberg a week later. The BVB women have four important games ahead. "We'll need to rediscover our rhythm to overcome these challenges; things hasn't worked so well recently," said Dortmund boss André Fuhr.
Any team can of course lose in Rostov, he admitted, "but I was not entirely satisfied with the performance". The situation has been rendered more difficult by a new injury absentees, Yara ten Holte. Borussia's goalkeeper will be temporarily replaced by goalkeeping coach Clara Woltering.
"You can already sense that the players are tired due to the close proximity of the fixtures and the demanding away trips," remarked Fuhr, adding: "We try to give all of them sufficient regeneration time and to slightly drop down the intensity in training." Nonetheless, Fuhr knows "we need to find our rhythm and prepare ourselves seriously".
The Bundesliga derbies in Leverkusen in particular have always tended to be intense matches in the past. In terms of the overall head-to-head record, Borussia have their noses narrowly in front with five wins, two draws and three defeats. Leverkusen have had a dip in form recently, losing their last two league fixtures against Buxtehude and Zwickau, and being eliminated from the DHB-Pokal by Waiblingen.
"We're expecting a highly motivated and committed opponent – especially given recent results," warned André Fuhr. "Given our personnel situation, we need to be on our guard with every opponent we face. Leverkusen are especially tough fighters. We'll need to be prepared to get stuck into the challenges."
The match against TSV Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Halle Wellinghofen will get under way at 19:30 CET on Wednesday evening and be shown live on the BVB Twitch channel and Sportdeutschland.TV. There will still be tickets available at the box office, all the info can be found here.