The BVB women's handballers have finished off the 2022/23 Bundesliga season on a successful note by beating Bayer Leverkusen 36-25 (19-12) to end the campaign in third place. In her last game for BVB, captain Alina Grijseels shone with another brilliant performance in front of more than 800 enthusiastic fans.
The scenario: There was only really pride to play for. BVB occupied third spot before the game. Both Oldenburg and Blomberg-Lippe could have made up the points difference but had a significantly worse goal difference. Leverkusen could not finish below ninth place.
Personnel matters: Sara Garovic was the only absentee for the final game of the season. The Serb is suffering from a knee injury.
The match & analysis: Things got emotional before throw-off in the final game of the season against Bayer Leverkusen. Over 800 fans at Halle Wellinghofen rose to their feet and applauded the team frenetically as they ran out onto the court. There has rarely been a welcome like it this season.
And the fans did not let up with the celebrations. Every goal was cheered profusely. The fact the Werkself led 4-2 by the seventh minute did not dampen the atmosphere. Leverkusen proved themselves to be a worthy opponent in a high-tempo season finale. But the Black & Yellows got the game under control around the 15th minute when captain Alina Grijseels rounded off a lovely solo move with her third goal to make it 7-6. Unfortunately, Emma Olsson hit the bar twice in a row.
Goalie Yara ten Holte had another great day at the office in her final match for BVB. And she also demonstrated a keen eye in the 19th minute when she coolly threw the ball into the empty Bayer Leverkusen to make it 10-8. By the time Meret Ossenlopp made it 12-8 (21), the floodgates had opened. BVB pulled away, defended better and allowed Leverkusen no chance. Left-winger Zöe Sprengers scored her seventh goal to round off the scoring at 19-12 before the break.
Borussia boss Henk Groener seized the opportunity in the second 30 minutes and gave all of his players some time on the court. Sophie Moth and, later on, Madita Kohorst went in goal, with Lena Hausherr on the left wing and Maraike Kusian on the right flank. Zoe Stens had a great game on her last appearance for BVB, scoring three goals.
When Maraike Kusian made it 23-13 with her second goal in a row (35), BVB opened up a 10-goal lead for the first time. And the game continued at this tempo until the end. In the 45th minute, Lena Hausherr converted a seven-metre throw to make it 31-20. Dana Bleckmann then scored the last goal in the last game of the season 15 seconds before the end to complete the 36-25 win.
Coach Henk Groener: "Leverkusen started well. But we knew: If we put our foot on the gas for 60 minutes against this decimated team, we wouldn't have any problems. The atmosphere in the hall for the season finale was simply great. It has improved from game to game throughout the season."
BVB women's handballers: Moth, ten Holte (1), Kohorst; Grijseels (4), Sprengers (7/1), Kusian (4), Antl (3), van Kreij, Ossenkopp (1), Sasaki (1), Olsson, Rønning (1), Stens (3), Hausherr (6/5), Bleckmann (5)
Outlook: After the final game of the season against Bayer Leverkusen, the players initially headed off to the season farewell party. The team will then fly to Mallorca together on Monday.