Bad news in the run-up to the cup quarter-final away to title holders SG BBM Bietigheim: the BVB women's handball team will be without captain Alina Grijseels and Fatos Kücükyildiz at Sporthalle am Viadukt on Saturday evening (19:30 CET).
Alina Grijseels has recovered from her broken nose but twisted her ankle in training and injured her lateral collateral ligament. In addition to Grijseels, coach André Fuhr will be without Fatos Kücükyildiz. The personnel situation is therefore as difficult as it has ever been – especially given the important cup clash against Bietigheim ahead. "This poses us major problems, especially in the back area. We're definitely not the favourites," said a realistic Fuhr.
It will be a match-up worthy of the DHB-Pokal final when reigning cup winners SG BBM Bietigheim go head-to-head with reigning German champions Borussia Dortmund on Saturday evening (19:30 CET). But there will only be a place in the final four up for grabs in this quarter-final clash in Bietigheim. The BVB women's handball team will certainly be the underdogs following their clear 33-22 defeat in the Bundesliga almost four weeks ago. A sentiment echoed by coach André Fuhr: "We would've certainly wished for a different opponent in the quarter-final. Though I think the same applies to Bietigheim. But that's the cup."
The Borussia ladies currently have a negative head-to-head record against Bietigheim. The Black & Yellows were beaten 31-21 at Helmut-Körnig-Halle in the Super Cup at the end of August, then lost 33-22 in Stuttgart on 2 January. Saturday's meeting will be the third of the campaign, and in the lead-up André Fuhr has asked himself and the team the all-important question: "Why are we performing so poorly against Bietigheim?"
Personnel problems in the playmaker position
After all, there is a striking difference when compared with the Champions League displays. "Bietigheim are certainly not stronger than CSM Bucharest, for example. But against Bucharest we always came back into the game and make it exciting. We don't manage that against Bietigheim," admitted Fuhr. "We analysed the match intensively both after the Super Cup in August and following the defeat at the beginning of January. We have a young team that are quick learners and put a stop to the errors. That was the case after the Super Cup. And I'm counting on it now too," Fuhr explained.
But the question remains: how do you beat an opponent as talented and committed as Bietigheim? "We naturally need to play to our strengths. Above all, that means we need to play with tempo, be nimble in defence and challenge the opponent. And we'll need to battle for 60 minutes. Like in the Champions League. What we manage to do there needs to be replicated in Bietigheim as well," demanded Fuhr.
That said, BVB's threadbare squad means personnel options are limited. Fuhr would certainly have been hoping for and counting on a fit Alina Grijseels. The captain's importance to BVB was again thrown into sharp relief in the last clash with Bietigheim. It was when Grijseels left the court after sustaining a broken nose that Dortmund's resistance was finally broken. "We would've been able to play Alina again, she's recovered from her broken nose. She's also fit because she has been able to train with a special mask," said Fuhr as he reflected on the situation. But more bad news came towards the end of last week: the BVB playmaker twisted her ankle in the final training session before leaving for Bucharest and injured the lateral collateral ligament in her ankle. Grijseels will not only miss the Bietigheim game; Fuhr is expecting his captain to be absent for the Thüringen match on Wednesday too.
"It's going to be tight in the defensive area. I still have Frida Rønning available in the middle," explained the Borussia Dortmund coach after receiving the news that Fatos Kücükyildiz will also miss out and be absent until Monday after contracting an infection. "Fatos has played with commitment recently and has really helped us, especially when we changed the defence to an attack-minded 5-1. Unfortunately, this tactic will not be possible for us now."
The match on Saturday will be broadcast live on Sportdeutschland.TV from 19:30 CET.