Having already lost to HSG Bensheim/Auerbach in the cup, the BVB women’s handballers have now suffered a defeat to the Hesse side in the league. They lost 29-25 (12-16) in front of 750 spectators at Halle Wellinghofen, having thrown away a four-goal lead at the break.

The scenario: BVB were still unbeaten in the Bundesliga this year. Prior to the game against Bensheim/Auerbach, BVB were in third place and only two points adrift of Thüringer HC.

The match & analysis: The game started rather nervously. Zöe Sprengers missed a seven-metre throw, while Yara ten Holte made a save at the other end. It took four minutes for Alina Grijseels to beat Bensheim keeper Vanessa Fehr for the first time. But BVB quickly settled and were defensively solid. Alina Grijseels and Haruno Sasaki in particular interpreted the half-positions very offensively, while the defence showed the bite and tactical discipline called for by Groener. Meret Ossenkopp upped the lead to 11-7 on 20 minutes, prompting Bensheim coach Heike Ahlgrimm to call a first time-out.

That did not change anything, however. Although coach Henk Groener began to ring the changes early on, BVB continued to pull away, went 13-8 ahead, came through a brief drop-off and took in a 16-12 lead at the break. A pity that Zöe Sprengers hit the bar on the stroke of half-time.

The Borussia ladies initially kept Vanessa Fehr busy in the second period, forcing the goalkeeper to make a series of saves. It was as though the Bensheim goal was sealed shut. Barely four minutes had been played after the break and Bensheim/Auerbach had pulled it back to 16-15. Haruno Sasaki stepped up for BVB with a goal that made it 17-16 six minutes later. But things had stopped working. The visiting defence was performing well, while Emma Olsson and Sara Garovic were denied by the woodwork from good positions several times. Maraike Kusian was unsuccessful from out wide. By the time Henk Groener called in his team for a second time-out, the Dortmund ladies were 21-20 behind.

Henk Groener played his trump card in the 48th minute and brought on Harma van Kreij, who was making her comeback after a four-month injury lay-off, in defence. But the substitution did not prompt a turnaround. BVB were 27-24 down with six minutes left. And although Dana Bleckmann sparked hope with a goal to make it 27-25, it was to be the last time BVB found the net as the visitors from Hesse held on to win 29-25.

BVB coach Henk Groener: “The 17 goals conceded in the second half says it all. We fought, but not as a team. We were not together on the court. We did the preparation for Bensheim, but did not put it into practice. We actually made a good start and went in at the break 16-12 in front.”

BVB women’s handball team: Moth, ten Holte, Kohorst; Grijseels (5/2), Sprengers (4), Kusian, Antl (3), van Kreij, Ossenkopp (2), Sasaki (4), Olsson (1), Rønning (4), Bleckmann (1), Hausherr (1), Stens, Garovic

Outlook: The non-internationals will now have two fixture-free weeks, before the Bundesliga campaign continues with a Matchday 17 trip to VfL Oldenburg on Sunday 12 March. Alina Grijseels, Lisa Antl, Yara ten Holte, Zoe Sprengers, Harma van Kreij and Sara Garovic will all be away on international duty with their countries before then.