Bietigheim take first European trophy with win over Viborg
The EHF European League Women has new champions. After one of the greatest-ever seasons delivered by a team in the second-tier European competition, SG BBM Bietigheim earned their maiden international trophy with a 31:20 win against Viborg HK that concluded an action-packed weekend at the Energi Viborg EHF Finals.
- this was Bietigheim’s 50th consecutive win across all competitions, in a streak dating to March 2021 when they lost a Bundesliga game against BV Borussia 09 Dortmund
- the pivotal moment of the game was an unanswered 6:0 run between the 12th and the 18th minutes, when Bietigheim took the life out of Viborg’s attack, displaying their trademark defensive skills, to create a 10:5 lead
- Viborg back Kristina Jörgensen became the top scorer of the competition this season, with 72 goals, followed by Sola HK left wing Camilla Herrem (61) and Baia Mare right back Jelena Lavko (60)
- Bietigheim left back Xenia Smits was awarded the Most Valuable Player award at the Energi Viborg EHF Finals, after scoring five goals in the game against Viborg and playing a pivotal role in defence
- Viborg lost a final in the second-tier European competition for the first time, spoiling a 100 per cent record set in the Women’s EHF Cup in 1994, 1999 and 2009
- Bietigheim clinched their first-ever European title, after losing the Women’s EHF Cup final in the 2016/17 season, against Rostov-Don with an aggregate score of 46:53
Title win rewards flawless season for Bietigheim
Taking into account the two games from qualification round 3 against Tertnes Bergen, SG BBM Bietigheim built a 12-game winning streak in the EHF European League Women 2021/22 on their way to the title, after one of the best-ever seasons from any team in the second-tier European competition. Bietigheim boasted the most effective defence — conceding an average of only 23 goals per game — and stellar attack, led by Dutch pair Inger Smits and Kelly Dulfer.
One 6:0 run and another 5:0 unanswered run were the backbone of Bietigheim’s amazing win against Viborg in the last game of the Energi Viborg EHF Finals. The victory enabled coach Markus Gaugisch’s team to become the first German side to clinch the trophy in the second-tier European competition in 30 years, after Leipzig did it in the 1991/92 season.
Bietigheim are also the only side to clinch the trophy without dropping a single game in the last 30 years, a testament to their superb season, which will likely see them enter the history books, after also registering one of the most lopsided victories in a final of the second-tier European competition.
It was a hard job, but I am very happy and I am so proud of the girls. They did well; stayed focused throughout the game. We played with a lot of heart, a lot of speed and we found good solutions in attack. It was a perfect day for us.
We are very disappointed right now, but we are still a young team, with players that will grow and learn from this experience. We stood no chance — Bietigheim were awesome. In a few days, I want to look back and smile about this season.