It could be an historic day for the Borussia Dortmund women's handball team on Saturday. A victory in their Bundesliga away match against SV Union Halle-Neustadt would see the Black & Yellows wrap up the first handball title in the club's history – with three games to spare before the season officially ends.
"We're all dying to clinch the title," declared coach André Fuhr, whose team is only two points away from taking an unassailable lead in the Women's Handball Bundesliga (HBF). Standing between BVB and the championship trophy on Saturday are the Wild Cats from Halle, who currently sit 11th in the table. "Of course, we know that we now have four match points," explained Fuhr, before adding: "I think we have the self-confidence and also the self-understanding to take the first one on Saturday."
This self-confidence is no coincidence: Borussia are undefeated at the top of the table with 52-0 points and an incredible goal difference of +291. Closest rivals Bietigheim, who have a game in hand, sit in second spot with 43-7 points. A BVB victory over the Wild Cats on Saturday would guarantee a maximum of six minus points for the Black & Yellows, who would have three games to go, meaning the championship could no longer be wrested from their hands.
But standing in the way of the championship trophy are Halle-Neustadt, whom Fuhr believes will defend themselves against a superior Dortmund side with everything they've got: "This is also a special situation for Halle; they can take away our joy and be our party poopers." Nonetheless, the Black & Yellow handballers will travel east on Saturday aiming to have the title in their luggage on the way back. "Nothing else matters," underlined Fuhr, whose charges were also at the top of the table last year when the season ended – only for the HBF to decide not to award the title.
This season, however, everything looks set for Dortmund's handballers to be crowned champions – potentially as early as this Saturday. The head-to-head record against the Wild Cats bodes very well for the league leaders: of their 13 previous meetings, BVB have won eight times, while Halle have emerged victorious on only three occasions. The reverse fixture this season ended in a clear 38-21 win for Fuhr's side.
In addition to long-term injury absentee Delaila Amega, the BVB coach will have to do without Spaniard Jennifer Gutiérrez Bermejo on Saturday, who is not yet fit to play after recovering from a corona infection. But right winger Tina Abdulla, who was absent from Wednesday's home win against Thüringer HC, will return to the squad. "Tina is back in training and will certainly be available to play a few minutes of the game," said Fuhr.
The Black & Yellows will set off for Halle by bus on Saturday morning – with some free space for the trophy in their luggage. The Bundesliga match against the Wild Cats will kick off at 19:00 CET at the Erdgas Sportarena in Halle; the game will be broadcast live and free of charge on sportdeutschland.tv.