Almost eight months to the day after their last international outing, the BVB women's handballers are preparing to return to the European stage. The Black & Yellows will take on Serbian representative ZRK Zeleznicar in the third and final qualifying round for the EHF European League. The two legs will be played as part of a double event at the Helmut-Körnig-Halle in Dortmund on Saturday and Sunday. The winner from that tie will qualify for the group stages, which will kick off in January.
The games continue to come thick and fast for Borussia Dortmund. Having reached the quarter-finals of the DHB-Pokal thanks to a victory away to HSG Blomberg-Lippe on Wednesday, they now face a return to the international stage. Their opponents, ZRK Zeleznicar, come from the Serbian town of Inđija, which is located an hour north of the capital city Belgrade. The Serbs comfortably beat HC Dalmatinka Ploce of Croatia in the previous round.
They will be the third and fourth games in the space of only eight days for BVB. "We've been able to rotate a bit; only Dana Bleckmann has had to play a lot," said Henk Groener, reflecting on the match in midweek. "The others have had a break. In addition, Lyna Schwarz and Zoe Stens have settled in very well, that's been really pleasing," commented the coach, who will again be counting on youngsters for the clash with the Serbian outfit.
In addition, the Dutchman is hoping for Lisa Antl to make her return. The pivot missed out in Blomberg with a minor injury. "I hope Lisa will be involved again at the weekend. Her neck wasn't mobile; she couldn't turn around. It wouldn't have made any sense to take her with us to Blomberg. It would've been too early. But I'm operating under the assumption she'll be able to play," said Groener, who is optimistic that he will have more alternatives at his disposal once again.
For one Dortmund player, Sara Garovic, the matches will be a very special occasion. The Serb is incredibly excited for the games against an opponent from her home country. "It'll be nice to see a few people from Serbia, it'll be a lot of fun," said the left-hander. Tickets for the two matches, which will take place on Saturday (12:00 CET) and Sunday (11:00 CET), can be bought online via the Ticket Shop or from the ticket office, and are available as a package for both games.
For those who are unable to make it to the hall, the Sprungwurf TV Twitch channel offers a free-of-charge alternative. Both matches will be broadcast live, with Tim Dettmar and Sören Mundt on commentary duty.