Borussia Dortmund's handball women's European adventure continues. The first leg of the EHF European League quarter-finals against French side Neptunes de Nantes will start at 18:00 CET on Sunday.
After three consecutive defeats in the Bundesliga, the BVB women are hoping to turn around their fortunes in the game in Nantes. But it will be a tough test for the handball ladies, as the hosts' squad has it all. Led by Nathalie Hagmann, top scorer at the 2021 World Cup, Neptunes de Nantes have a strong team. Alongside the Swede, the goalkeepers stand out in particular: French stopper Floriane Andrè and Polish star Adrianna Placzek both play for their national teams.
"This will be a tough task. It is not going to be easy, especially in our current situation. However, it may be the case that we are a little bit more free to play there," said BVB coach Henk Groener. "With the aspirations we have, the pressure is very high at the moment. But it's a different competition, and we've played very well in Europe so far."
The personnel situation at BVB is still tense. Lisa Antl and Zoe Sprengers were back in the side against Buxtehuder SV Wednesday, but Alina Grijseels and Sara Garovic missing that game. "I don't know yet whether those two will be able to play," says Groener. "We have to wait and see if they are with us or not. We have not given up hope yet."
At the same time, he points out that there is still a long season ahead after the first leg. "In any case, we have to consider whether it makes sense to play them. Alina, for example, has hardly trained for three weeks and we still need her after that [the game]," says the Dutchman, who is looking to make the decision shortly before the match and does not want to risk losing the captain for even longer. BVB have no match in between the game in France and the second leg in Hamm on 26 March (tickets are available here).
The first leg in Nantes will be shown on DAZN [Germany]. The streaming service has launched its own channel for women's sports called DAZN Rise, which will also show the second leg.