This weekend is the highlight of the season for Borussia Dortmund’s women’s handball team: the Final Four of the EHF European League in Graz. On Friday, the teams will fly to Austria accompanied by a large band of supporters. On Saturday, they’ll contest the semi-final. Left winger Lena Hausherr sat down for an interview in preview of the big weekend ahead.

On Friday, you and the team will depart for Graz. What will your expectations be as you board the flight?
”I don’t think we should make the trip there with set expectations in our head. I am sure that it will be a hugely exciting and emotional weekend. I’m looking forward to it and will be sure to enjoy it to the fullest!” 

What are your prevailing emotions at the moment: excitement and euphoria or tension and a certain nervousness? 
“Definitely excitement! We have shown many times this season that we’re capable of playing good handball and as a team we have unquestionably earned our place in the Final Four. Of course I want to win the title, who doesn’t? But we don’t feel any pressure, we should enjoy the games and soak up every moment we have there, both on and off the court. Everything will fall into place!”

How can you top the record crowd at the Westfalenhalle for the game against Siofok, not to mention the come-from-behind win over Nantes in the second leg of the quarter-final? 
”It’s true that we have experienced a few highlights this season that none of us could have dreamed of before. With the Final Four, we can make our ‘dream victory’ against Nantes even more perfect than it already was. Nonetheless, we should not forget that we still have three extremely important games in the Bundesliga awaiting us after this weekend.”

How do you rate your chances against Danish side Nykøbing Falster in the semi-finals?
“Nykøbing were my preferred opponent for the semi-finals. They have a good blend of young talents and experienced players in their team. I expect the game to be evenly-matched. If we perform with the same fire and energy as we have recently in the Bundesliga, we definitely have a good shot at achieving our dream of reaching the final.”

How do you rate the chances of your league rivals Thüringer HC in the second semi-final against the title favourites from Ikast?
”It’s hard to say. I definitely view Ikast as the favourites, but anything is possible in a knock-out game like this. It would be really cool and make me happy to see a final between two German teams.”

The club has organised a fan trip and many Black & Yellow supporters will accompany the team to Austria. Who from your inner circle will be there?
“Unfortunately my parents can’t travel with me to Graz due to health reasons. So my family will be watching the two games from home. It’s a shame that I can’t share an occasion like this with them in person, but with so many Black & Yellow fans travelling with us, it’s not too bad. I really appreciate the fantastic support because they have helped us so much in recent games and it’s always so much fun having them with us!”

If you could paint a picture of one moment from this coming weekend, what would it look like?
“It would be the moment directly after winning the semi-final against Nykøbing, celebrating in the dressing room with the girls. Because then we would have another big highlight coming up, the final, which we would all be looking forward to.”