The Borussia Dortmund women’s handball team have lost their match away to seventh-placed VfL Oldenburg 32-29 (18-17). BVB were without the trio of captain Alina Grijseels, Lisa Antl and Zoë Sprengers.

The scenario: BVB wanted to win their away match in Oldenburg in order to prevent the four-point gap to second place (Thüringer HC) from growing even further and to maintain their lead over Blomberg. BVB were without an important player in captain Alina Grijseels, who is still suffering from the after-effects of her thigh injury. She was joined on the sidelines by the injured duo of Lisa Antl and Zoë Sprengers. That meant that the Black & Yellows were without their three top scorers, who between them have netted 224 goals this season.

The match & analysis: VfL Oldenburg were already 5-2 up by the sixth minute. BVB had problems with VfL’s offensive marking. Toni Reinemann was extremely effective at disrupting BVB’s flow. By the ninth minute, BVB coach Henk Groener already needed to have a word. He called the first time-out and brought on Madita Kohorst for Yara ten Holte in goal.

BVB turned it around, looking increasingly flexible in defence, marking more aggressively and simultaneously taking their own chances through Bleckmann, van Kreij and Hausherr. With seven minutes to go before the break, BVB had reduced the deficit to one goal (14-13). Harma van Kreij made it 16-16 in the 26th minute – the first time BVB were level in the game. By half-time, Borussia were a goal behind again (18-17).

In the second period, the Black & Yellows initially built on their good performance from the final 10 minutes before the break. Emma Olsson put BVB in front for the first time four minutes after the restart (19-18). But things subsequently came off less and less, with BVB unable to find an answer to VfL’s good run and failing to beat goalkeeper Nele Reese several times. By the 46th minute, Oldenburg had pulled four goals ahead. Oldenburg player Merle Carstensen increased the lead to 29-23 10 minutes before the final whistle. Third-placed Dortmund could not manage to turn the game around in the final minutes; they did close the gap to three goals but ultimately lost 32-29.

BVB women’s handball team: Moth, ten Holte, Kohorst; Kusian, van Kreij (5), Ossenkopp (6), Sasaki (1), Olsson (5), Rønning (2), Bleckmann (5), Hausherr (6), Stens, Garovic, Egeling

Outlook: Next on the agenda is the home game against Buxtehuder SV on Wednesday 15 March. Throw-off at Halle Wellinghofen is at 19:30 CET. The BVB women’s handballers will then travel away to Neptunes de Nantes for the first leg of the European League quarter-finals the following Sunday (18:00 CET). The return leg at the Westpress-Arena in Hamm will take place a week later (26 March at 16:00 CET).