The Borussia Dortmund women's handball team comfortably defended third place in the table with a 38-22 (20-10) away victory over the Bad Wildungen Vipers. In the fourth from last game of the season, the entire team produced a highly committed performance from the first minute to the last.
The scenario: BVB won the reverse fixture in Dortmund 42-25 at the end of December. BVB had not scored more goals in any other game this season, while their 17-goal margin of victory against the Vipers had not been surpassed in any other match either. With four games to go until the end of the season, third-placed BVB held a two-point lead over challengers HSG Blomberg-Lippe. The hosts went into the game in 10th place.
Personnel matters: While captain Alina Grijseels remained sidelined with the hand injury she sustained in the match against Zwickau, Sara Garovic returned in time for the away match in Hesse.
The match & analysis:
The match got off to a perfect start at the sold-out Ense-Halle in Bad Wildungen, which was hosting handball again for the first time after a two-year renovation period. And BVB wanted to dominate this match from the first second. With five minutes on the clock, the Black & Yellows led 5-1 thanks to a Sprengers brace and goals from Sasaki, Rønning and Ossenkopp. By the time the Vipers called their first time-out after 10 minutes, they were 8-3 down and had not found a way to combat BVB's offensive defence either. In addition, Zöe Sprengers proved to be a very reliable seven-metre thrower with four conversions in total.
And it continued at the same tempo. BVB looked focused in defence and repeatedly forced the Vipers into making mistakes. In her first involvement following an illness-enforced break of several weeks, Sara Garovic increased the lead to 14-7 after around 20 minutes and then to 16-8 shortly afterwards. By the 22-minute mark, it already looked like a slightly foregone conclusion in Bad Wildungen. The score was 20-10 at half-time.
In the second 30 minutes, Borussia boss Henk Groener took the opportunity to give all the players some court time, with Madita Kohorst replacing Yara ten Holte in the BVB goal. Bad Wildungen showed great fighting spirit in a bid to prevent an even bigger defeat in front of their own supporters. BVB were 26-16 in front in the 40th minute and then 32-21 ahead 10 minutes later. Bad Wildungen's energy levels then dwindled and the Black & Yellows pulled away into a 38-22 lead by the 60th minute. Before the final whistle, goalkeeper Yara ten Holte made her fifth and final save from a seven-metre throw.
Henk Groener (BVB coach): Compliments to the team, they produced a committed performance from the first minute. The two points were important, we'll go into the Final Four next weekend with a good feeling. The defence was very solid in the first half especially, the game was actually already decided at 20-10. We didn't drop off after the break either."
Tessa Bremmer (Bad Wildungen coach): "BVB completely overran us in the first half. We of course wanted to show more overall, but only managed that in spells."
BVB women's handball team: Moth, ten Holte, Kohorst; Sprengers (7/4), Kusian (2), Antl (3), van Kreij (3), Ossenkopp (2), Sasaki (3), Olsson (2), Rønning (5), Stens, Hausherr (3), Bleckmann (4), Garovic (4)
Outlook: The schedule has a lot in store in the coming weeks. The Black & Yellows will first fly to Graz for the Final Four of the European League on Friday 12 May. They will contest their semi-final against the Danish outfit Nykobing Falster Handbold on Saturday and if they win that, they will then take on the winner of the second semi-final between Thüringer HC and Ikast Handbold of Denmark in the final. The two defeated teams will compete in the third-place play-off match at 15:30 CET on Sunday. Only three days after their return from Austria, BVB will play host to challengers HSG Blomberg-Lippe on Wednesday 17 May. They will then travel away to second-placed Thüringer HC on Saturday 20 May.