Three days after their energy-sapping win against Bensheim/Auerbach, the BVB women's handball team have claimed another home victory against newly promoted HSV Solingen-Gräfrath. Thanks to an improved performance after the break and a strong display from Sarah Wachter in goal, the Black & Yellows ultimately won 23-20 (10-11).

The scenario: Thanks to their 31-28 victory against second-placed HSG Bensheim/Auerbach on Wednesday evening, BVB had managed to cement fourth place. BVB had won the reverse fixture against HSV Solingen-Gräfrath 30-24.

Personnel matters: In addition to the two long-term injury absentees Dana Bleckmann and Lena Degenhardt (both torn cruciate ligaments), Carmen Campos Costa was also absent like in the Bensheim game. She was replaced by Alicia Stolle, who returned to action for the first time following a long break with a bruised bone. 

The match & analysis: The return of the captain was the first piece of good news in front of 700 fans at Halle Wellinghofen on Saturday evening. Alicia Stolle, who had played her last full league match on 23 September, was involved from the outset. BVB should have been warned after the reverse fixture in Solingen, in which they also struggled for a long time against the promoted outfit.

In an erratic match, the Black & Yellows led 4-3 by the 10th minute. Solingen, whose ranks included three ex-Borussia players in Zoe Stens, Paulina Uscinowicz and Vanessa Brand, proved to be a match for the Black & Yellows. When Uscinowicz broke through the BVB defence and levelled at 6-6 after just over a quarter of an hour, Borussia coach Henk Groener called his first time-out.

But even after that, there was still a lack of the structure Groener had called for. After a careless mistake, Carina Senel "stole" the ball and scored to put the visitors 8-6 ahead (19). So it was just as well that goalkeeper Sarah Wachter saved Pia Adams' seven-metre throw virtually on the stroke of half-time. The hosts went into the break a goal behind with the score 11-10.

BVB thus needed to flip the switch. And that's what happened: Alicia Stolle first restored parity at 12-12 on her comeback appearance. A Haruno Sasaki goal and a Lena Hausherr brace then saw BVB take a 15-13 lead within a very short space of time (36). Meret Ossenkopp's goal to make it 16-13 was definitely the turning point, especially with Sarah Wachter having a great day in goal and saving numerous chances. She was the difference between the teams in fourth and 12th place.

But the remaining 20 minutes were no walk in the park – even though BVB were now looking more solid in defence and Solingen were increasingly running out of steam. BVB were 20-15 in front in the 50th minute. It finished 23-20.

Reactions: Henk Groener: "It was a hard-fought win. I'm thankful that the team got the two points thanks to the great performance from Sarah Wachter. It wasn't always a handball festival. I'm satisfied with the battling performance."

Lena Hausherr: "We found it difficult to build tension. That shouldn't really happen to us. It was mega hard work. We were only able to pull away decisively from the 50th minute onwards."

Zoe Stens: "We were not clever enough at the end. We competed well except for the start of the second half."

Outlook: After the upcoming international break, the Borussia women will continue their campaign with the rescheduled match against Halle-Neustadt on Friday 8 March.

Women's handball team: Lieder, Wachter; Hausherr (7/5), Sprengers (1), Kusian, Antl, van Kreij (1), Stoll e (1), Ossenkopp (4), Sasaki (5), Olsson, Rønning (4)