The BVB women’s handballers did not manage to achieve the turnaround they were hoping for: having lost two matches on the bounce, the injury-ravaged team suffered a 27-24 (15-12) defeat to Buxtehuder SV on Wednesday evening too.

The scenario: The Borussia ladies had suffered their first defeat of the season in the reverse fixture in Buxtehude at the end of October, losing 31-30. The gap to fourth place in the table, which is currently occupied by HSG Blomberg-Lippe, had decreased to four points following the latest two defeats at home to HSG Bensheim/Auerbach and away to VfL Oldenburg.

Personnel matters: The recently injured duo of Lisa Antl and Zoë Sprengers were back in action but captain Alina Grijseels, who had been expected to miss out on account of her thigh injury, was joined on the sidelines by Sara Garovic (bruised pelvis) and right winger Meret Ossenkopp – a late withdrawal due to illness.

The match & analysis: The injury-hit Black & Yellows struggled to get a foothold in the game due to misunderstandings and passing errors and found themselves 6-3 down after 10 minutes. But BVB came back into it, marked more aggressively and equalised at 6-6 through Haruno Sasaki in the 13th minute. And the Dortmund ladies kept going. Goals from Sprengers, the lively Sasaki again and then Dana Bleckmann increased the lead to 9-6 on the quarter-hour mark. But BVB were unable to extend the advantage, with almost all their attacks going through the middle and being repelled by the BSV defence. Instead, the Northern Germans turned the game back in their favour. Emma Olsson levelled at 12-12 for BVB three minutes before the break, then Buxtehude scored three times within 180 seconds thanks to goals from Hartstock, Prittwitz and Dölle to go in 15-12 up at half-time. 

BVB restored parity just as quickly in the second period, with the score at 15-15 two minutes after the restart. They were back in it, covering more offensively and giving the opponent less room. It was 20-20 by the 47th minute. Harma van Kreij and Dana Bleckmann, who equalised at 21-21 in the 50th minute, particularly stood out in this phase of the game.

It was end to end in the closing stages with the lead constantly changing hands. A defensive lapse saw BVB fall 24-23 behind with three minutes to go. Maraike Kusian immediately levelled, but Buxtehude scored three more goals before the final whistle to inflict a 27-24 defeat on the BVB women.

Coach Henk Groener: “We made a very nervous start but then caught ourselves. However, the team looked unsettled and made many inexplicable mistakes. The composure was missing; as a result, we made incorrect decisions and conceded many simple goals. We were our own undoing.”

Outlook: The Borussia ladies will be off to France on Saturday morning for the first leg of their EHF European League tie away to Neptunes de Nantes on Sunday evening (18:00 CET). The return leg will then take place at the Westpress-Arena in Hamm a week later (26 March at 16:00 CET).

BVB women’s handballers: Moth, ten Holte, Kohorst; Sprengers (2), Kusian (3), Antl (1), van Kreij (2), Sasaki (3), Olsson (2), Rønning (3), Bleckmann (8), Hausherr, Stens, Schwarz, Birk