Despite difficult preparations, with many players away on international duty and some injured, Borussia Dortmund's women's handball team showed great willpower to defeat SV Halle-Neustadt 27-20 (13-10) in their Bundesliga game. After five wins from five, BVB coach André Fuhr's team still sit level on points with SG BBM Bietigheim in second place. After the game, Fuhr was visibly relieved that the two points had stayed in Dortmund: "I am happy with the two points. We're in a difficult situation and could only train once before the game." Talking about the head-to-head race with Bietigheim, he added: "We find ourselves in the hunt. But when we've won by seven goals come the end, we shouldn't complain."          

The reigning champions from Dortmund started the game in front of 320 spectators at Halle Wellinghofen with two saves from Yara ten Holte and two goals from Merel Freriks - 2-0 after three minutes. But the guests weren't thrown off by Borussia's early goals and levelled the score at 2-2 (5.). After that, the home side pulled away thanks to some fast counterattacks, with the score sitting at 6-3 after a third goal from Freriks. Halle coach Katrin Welter was visibly unhappy with her team's performance, reacting by calling a time-out in the 16th minute with the score at 8-4. The "result": a goal from the sharp BVB winger Jennifer Gutierrez Bermejo. The only reason BVB didn't pull clear is because they began rushing their attacks, with too many easy passes not reaching their targets. You could hear Fuhr telling his team to calm down, but their lead was reduced to just one goal two minutes before half-time - 11-10. Their energy had visibly waned towards the end of the first half, but Dortmund once again tightened their reins on the game. Thanks to Alina Grijseels and another goal from Gutierrez Bermejo, they led 13-10 come the end of the half. "In the first half, we kept confusing the utilisation of speed with rushing," analysed Fuhr, adding: "We did that better in the second half."                         

The second half jumped to life two minutes in with a goal from van der Heijden. The Black & Yellows made a noticeable effort, but they continued to struggle. Ten Holte (37.) then showed her class and kept her team in it with a great reflex save (15-12). With van der Heijden curling the ball beautifully past Halle goalkeeper Anica Gudelj, Dortmund led 17-12 ten minutes into the second half. Nevertheless, Gudelj kept pushing herself and SV Union, making several saves in the process. The BVB offense couldn't make the most of several promising positions, so the lead shrank again to 18-15. "We had issues with our shooting percentage from out wide," said Fuhr regarding the large number of missed chances. But quick goals from van der Heijden and Jackie Moreno (51.) made it 21-16, helping to calm Dortmund's nerves. Five minutes before the final whistle, Amelie Berger added another - it was 24-17 and the home win was taking shape nicely. Van der Heijden removed any final doubts with her fifth goal of the game, extending their lead to eight goals. By the end of the game, the Black & Yellows celebrated a completely deserved 27-20 win.                    

The action continues on Sunday (from 16:00 CET) with the Champions League game against CSM Bucuresti. Tickets for the game in the Helmut-Körnig-Halle are still available at the box office.  

BVB: Ten Holte, Kohorst – Berger (2), Grijseels (3/2), Sando, Zschocke (3), Moreno (1), Kücükyildiz, Abdulla, Gutierrez Bermejo (5), Freriks (6), van der Heijden (5), Ronning (2/1)