The German Champions are still to drop a point this season: just four days after clinching the title, the Borussia Dortmund women's handball team defeated Bad Wildungen Vipers 37-30 (17-16) away from home. The Black & Yellows now have two games remaining this season.
''Now we have to see whether or not we can find our intensity again,'' warned BVB coach André Fuhr ahead of the clash with Bad Wildungen. Last Saturday, Borussia wrapped up the German Championship title with three games to spare thanks to a win away to the Halle Wildcats.
However, the Black & Yellows soon set themselves another goal: retain an unbeaten record for the season by winning their three remaining games. André Fuhr's team selection for the Wednesday-night clash with Bad Wildungen was a sign of intent, with the exact same starting seven from Saturday's game in Halle taking to the court. BVB certainly got off to a good start: Kelly Vollebregt found space down the right and hit the back of the net with a smart lob to give the guests a 1-0 lead.
After a hectic opening five minutes, Bad Wildungen had the chance to take the lead. However, a strong save from BVB keeper Yara ten Holte ensured the sides remained level at 3-3 (6). Nonetheless, the Vipers proved unrelentless and were soon up 5-3 thanks to two goals in quick succession. André Fuhr called a timeout and sent Tessa van Zifl and Isabell Roch on to replace Laura van der Heijden and ten Holte.
Bad Wildungen simply seemed to want it more in the opening stages and powered to a 9-5 lead (12) by capitalising on some sloppy BVB passing and penetrating the defence through passes around the circle. Alina Grijseels and Clara Monti Danielsson soon gave BVB greater stability in defence and Isabell Roch was able to make a few good saves as Dortmund fought their way back to within a score at 10-9 (17). In the 19th minute, Aline Grijseels scored from backcourt to draw the sides level at 10-10. Clara Monti Danielsson then popped up around the circle to reestablish the Black & Yellow lead (15-14, 25). ''We turned the game around after 20 minutes,'' said a contented André Fuhr after the final whistle.
With the score at 16-15 in favour of BVB, Rinka Duijndam made a crucial save from a penalty and Dana Bleckmann scored down the other end to open up a two-goal Dortmund lead at 17-15 (30). Bad Wildungen managed to pull one back in what remained of the first-half to make it 17-16 at the break.
The Black & Yellows started the second half with quick goals from Laura van der Heijden, Inger Smits and Kelly Dulfer, giving them a four-goal cushion at 21-17 (35). BVB came out energised after the break and displayed their usual high-tempo game: midway through the second half, Dulfer intercepted a Vipers pass and fed Inger Smits, who scored to make it 26-20.
Bad Wildungen made a tactical adjustment in the closing stages, using a seventh player in attack, but the BVB victory never looked in doubt. Johanna Stockschläder scored back-to-back goals into the empty net to make it 32-25 and then 33-25 (54). In the end, the Black & Yellows won 37-30 and sit atop the Women's Handball Bundesliga (HBF) with 56:0 points.
The goal of finishing the season as undefeated champions is just two games from being realised. On 22 May, Borussia will host Neckarsulmer Sport-Union in their last home game of the season followed by the season finale away to HSG Blomberg-Lippe on 25 May.
BVB: Duijndam, Roch, ten Holte; Grijseels (2), van der Heijden (4), van Zijl (3), Smits (5/1), Abdulla (2), Stockschläder (4), Freriks (2), Dulfer (7), Rode, Bleckmann (3/1), Vollebregt (4), Danielsson (1)