Leverkusen the next stop for the BVB women's handballers
Only a few days after their elimination from the DFB-Pokal and a full three weeks on from their last Bundesliga match, the Borussia Dortmund women's handballers are preparing for a return to league action. The Black & Yellows will make their shortest away trip of the season on Wednesday when they travel to Bayer Leverkusen, where they will be hoping to kick off a run of three English weeks in a row by returning to winning ways.
The defeat in Bensheim in the DHB-Pokal quarter-final is still on the women's handball coach's mind a few days later. "It still hurts and that won't change either. But I now see it a bit more analytically," said Henk Groener: "At the end, we did not deal well with the chaos that occurred. We were not able to keep our cool the way we have done in other matches."
Precisely this composure will be in demand when the game in Leverkusen gets under way. The self-titled Werkself are certainly capable of frustrating the favourites. You only need to look at their cup run: Leverkusen only narrowly lost in the round of 16 to Bietigheim, who are unbeaten at domestic level since the end of March 2021. Hence why the BVB coach wants to look forwards rather than look back. "We can't win the match in Bensheim anymore," he said.
The Dutchman believes the opposition are dangerous. "They have several players who have developed very well and the team are on a good run," the coach warned. "They will therefore go into the game with a lot of self-confidence." Leverkusen base their game on their stable defence and Viola Leuchter. The tall left-hander can score goals from range too and has already driven several opponents to despair.
"We'll need to be very active and take huge care, but defend compactly at the same time. The other players like Mareike Thomaier are good in one-on-one situations," Groener explained. "Leverkusen also frequently deploy a 7 on 6 tactic. In this scenario, he will be looking for his team to cover a lot of ground "so that we can close down the gaps that always arise when we are outnumbered and put their passing game under pressure".
There are currently a few question marks in terms of personnel. The involvement of both Lena Hausherr and Sara Garovic is up in the air. While left-hander Hausherr is awaiting the results of an MRI scan following a collision in training, Serb Garovic is battling calf problems. Throw-off for the match in Leverkusen is at 19:30 CET; the streaming platform Sportdeutschland.TV will continue to provide free live coverage.