The BVB women's handball team already have one foot in the group stages of the European League, following a clear 43-22 (24-11) victory over Serbian representative ZRK Zeleznicar in the first leg of the final qualifying round. The most prolific thrower in front of a 250-strong crowd was Meret Ossenkopp with seven goals. The return fixture will take place at the Helmut-Körnig-Halle in Dortmund tomorrow, Sunday 4 December, at 11:00 CET.

The scenario: As a Champions League participant, BVB were seeded in the European League and so only entered at the third-round stage. ZRK Zeleznicar had narrowly beaten HC Dalmatinka Ploče from Croatia in the second round.

Personnel matters: BVB were at full strength with the exception of the two long-term injury absentees Harma van Kreij (torn lateral collateral ligament) and goalkeeper Madita Kohorst (torn cruciate ligament), plus Haruno Sasaki of Japan (international duty).

The match & analysis: The fact the visitors from Serbia would not have the same quality as BVB was expected. And yet the Dortmund ladies did everything they possibly could to deny the opponents a route into the game. This was reflected in the way the match panned out. By the 10-minute mark, it was already 10-2. The ZRK Zeleznicar attack could not find a way through BVB's solid defence with Dana Bleckmann and Emma Olsson in the central block.

With 20 minutes of the match gone, it was already 19-7 to the Black & Yellows. Serbia international Sara Garovic was brought on from the bench and immediately had the chance to prove herself against her compatriots. The game continued at the same pace. BVB scored goal after goal, with the two wingers Merit Ossenkopp and Zöe Sprengers especially prolific. The opponents were simply overwhelmed by BVB's tempo.

Their dominance became even more pronounced in the second half, 10 minutes into which it was 31-14. During that 10-minute spell, the Serbs only managed to get the better of Dortmund goalkeeper Sophie Moth, who came on for Yara ten Holte at the break, three times.

BVB coach Henk Groener continued to ring the changes. Sara Garovic got 40 minutes under her belt, while Lena Hausherr and Maraike Kusian had a successful run-out on the flanks after the break. Even Lisa Antl, who had been injured in the cup round of 16 in Blomberg, played well. The degree to which Alina Grijseels, for example, was rested was made clear by the fact that the captain only scored her first goal in the 38th minute, making it 38-18. In the end, BVB ran out 43-22 winners.

Reactions: Henk Groener (BVB head coach): "We wanted to play progressively, and we put that into practice well too; our defence was very good and applied pressure to the opposition in the centre. We made use of the width in attack, with lots happening down the flanks. It was a comfortable win, we have no injuries to contend with and could change things up a lot."

Outlook: The return leg of the third and final qualifying round for the group stages of the European League against ZRK Zeleznicar will take place tomorrow, Sunday 4 December, at 11:00 CET at the Helmut-Körnig-Halle. The Bundesliga campaign continues with a trip to Sachsen Zwickau on Wednesday 7 December.

BVB women's handball team: Moth, ten Holte, Grijseels (5/4), Sprengers (4), Kusian (4), Ossenkopp (7), Olsson (5), Rønning (2), Stens, Bleckmann (2), Hausherr (6/1), Garovic (4), Antl (4)