"The most important thing is that everyone's come back healthy." For André Fuhr, coach of the Borussia Dortmund women's handball team, the fact his players came through their international commitments without getting injured was by far the best news. Now they will turn their attentions back to the Bundesliga. On Wednesday (19:30 CET), the Dortmund ladies will take on SV Union Halle-Neustadt at Halle Wellinghofen.
The preparations for the clash with the Bundesliga's seventh-placed side have been overshadowed by EURO qualifiers: seven players were away with their national teams and most of them have returned to Dortmund high on confidence. But for the Germany squad, which includes new captain Alina Grijseels and Amelie Berger, the latest round of EURO qualifiers was a mixed bag. The comfortable 36-10 win against Greece, in which Dortmund winger Amelie Berger was the top scorer with seven goals, was followed by a disappointing 24-24 draw against Belarus. "We had been hoping for more there," said Fuhr, before adding: "I'm satisfied with the performance from our players."
As well as Grijseels and Berger, three players were in international action for the Netherlands: Yara ten Holte, Laura van der Heijden and Merel Freriks remain top of Germany's group with maximum points following a 38-27 victory against Belarus and a 35-14 away win in Greece. Elsewhere, Jennifer Gutiérrez Bermejo made her comeback for the Spanish national team after overcoming muscular problems. The winger also had double cause for celebration after helping her country to a 33-28 triumph against Slovakia and a 23-22 win against neighbours Portugal. Tina Abdulla also enjoyed a flawless international break with Norway in EURO qualification, beating Slovenia 29-17 and then 26-21.
The small group of players that remained in Dortmund predominantly trained individually, according to Fuhr, who has recently been without numerous injured players. "In the case of Mia Zschocke and Fatos Kücükyildiz, it's going to be tight and a question of time. They are on the right track, but it's rather unlikely that they will play." That means that BVB will take on Halle-Neustadt with only nine players at their disposal. "It's quite tight, we have 10 games coming up in the next five weeks. That's pushing very close to the limit," explained Fuhr, who is "full of respect" for the team from Saxony-Anhalt. "They led against Bietigheim at half-time and competed with them for a long time. That shows the quality they have. We have only one training session after the international break. Those are not the best conditions," reported the BVB boss, before issuing a statement of intent: "We know that we need to pick up the points on Wednesdays if we want to continue to compete at the top. We embrace that."
Those wanting to lend the Black & Yellows their support can buy tickets today (Tuesday) by sending a mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Each person in the reservation must list their contact details in full (name, address and telephone number). Only immunised persons (meaning either vaccinated or recovered) are allowed in the hall. Exempt from this rule are children and youths up to the age of 17 years, as well as pregnant women. In the aforementioned cases, an official negative test that may not be older than 48 hours must be presented. The tickets will be issued directly at the entrance to the hall on the evening of the game and must be paid for in cash. Your immunised status must be proven at the entrance digitally via the Corona-Warn-App or the Covpass-App, or via a valid vaccination pass. A normal ticket costs €10, while children, school pupils, students and the severely disabled can obtain tickets at the discounted price of €5 upon presenting proof of their status. Masks must be worn in the hall and may only be removed at your allocated seat. The allocation of seats will take place on location.