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Match report

Dominant women's handballers win by 13-goal margin

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The Borussia Dortmund women's handballers continued their winning streak in the first home game of the new year. They cemented their claim for a top spot in the Bundesliga and underlined their strong form thanks to a 31-18 (17-11) victory over HSG Bad Wildungen.

The scenario: BVB had established themselves in fourth place with their two victories in Buxtehude and Oldenburg. A triumph against Bad Wildungen would see the Dortmund ladies draw level on points with third-placed Thüringer HC in the table. BVB had won the reverse fixture 32-18.

Personnel matters: Dana Bleckmann and Lena Degenhardt remained sidelined due to their torn cruciate ligaments. Alicia Stolle was also out of action with a bruised bone, while goalkeeper Sarah Wachter withdrew at short notice due to a cold. Norah Kothen replaced her in the squad. Maraike Kusian and Zoë Sprengers returned to action.

The match & analysis: The Borussia ladies were on full alert in front of 619 fans at Halle Wellinghofen and exploited the many misplaced passes by their relegation-threatened opponents in 12th place to take a 6-2 lead by the 10th minute.

The agile Frida Rønning in particular caused havoc in the HSG defence and already had three goals by the 15-minute mark. The game continued at this tempo. Like in Oldenburg, BVB produced a strong defensive display and cancelled out Wildungen's backcourt thrower Anika Hampel.

BVB shone in attack with clever passes to the circle – either to Lisa Antl or Emma Olsson. It was also the Swede who extended the lead to 17-8 from the back of the court while a player down in the 23rd minute. The score stood at 17-11 at the break, after BVB had slightly relieved the pressure in the final minutes of the first period.

At the start of the second half, Antl, Kusian and Hausherr missed free throws at the goal of the increasingly outstanding opposition keeper Manuela Brütsch. BVB only led 18-13 after 38 minutes, so it was just as well that goalkeeper Tess Lieder thwarted numerous Bad Wildungen chances and had a save ratio of over 50%.

BVB's brief weak spell was over just as soon as it had started. With 15 minutes of the match remaining, the lead had grown to a respectable nine-goal margin thanks to two beautiful lobs from Lena Hausherr.

BVB coach Henk Groener rang the changes in the final quarter of an hour of the match and also gave third goalkeeper Norah Kothen some playing time. She repaid the faith shown in her by making several lovely saves on her Bundesliga debut.

The scoring in the highly deserved 31-18 victory was rounded off by Emma Olsson, who scored her fifth goal from the circle and was the top-scoring Borussia player along with Carmen Campos Costa.

Goalkeeper Tess Lieder: "That was a great game from us with a good defence. We played at a high tempo; that worked well. We practiced our attacking defence intensively in training during the week. That's fun for the crowd too. The fans gave us a good energy."

Coach Henk Groener: "We had to play with Emma Olsson and Lisa Antl for 60 minutes in the central block. We were slightly unfocused shortly before the break, but Bad Wildungen's goalkeeper Manuela Brütsch was also extremely strong. So were our two keepers. Tess had a ratio of more than 50%. And Norah did great, she took her chance in the final 15 minutes."

Outlook: The next round of fixtures will see coach Henk Groener's team in action on the evening of Friday 16 February when they play their top match away to HSG Blomberg-Lippe. They will then play their rescheduled match against current second-placed outfit Bensheim/Auerbach at Halle Wellinghofen five days later, on Wednesday 21 February.