Just recently we had reported about an unprecedented increase in the number of match fixings and a similar increase in betting fraud in sport. Now there is a similar suspicion of a case in the handball Bundesliga. An unusually high bet was placed in Southern Europe on a second division game.

On the 26th. May 2023 the Handball-Bundesliga GmbH (HBL) gave a press conference and stated that it had been informed about a possible case of match fixing, i.e. betting fraud. This concerns a second division handball game which took place on the 9th. May 2023. During this game Wölfe Würzburg faced HC Motor Zaporizhzhia. Because of the war in the country, the Ukrainian champions have contested the games which are not in the league of the 2nd.Bundesliga.

The Swiss data analysis specialists of Sportradar have discovered strong anomalies during this second division match. The Universal Fraud Detection System (UFDS) of the company stepped in. The HBL followed up with an investigation.

The UFDS of Sportradar

Each year, the Universal Fraud Detection System monitors several hundred thousand kinds of sport and sports activities around the world for unusual procedures which may indicate betting manipulation. They follow more than 600 international betting providers (regulated and unregulated bookies). Every year they monitor more than 30 billion quota changes for suspicious activities. The system makes use of of machine-learning and AI but there are more than 50 experts who take care of the analysis. If there is a suspicious case, the cooperating league is immediately informed.

Unusually high stakes in Southern Europe

Why did the UFDS i.e., Sportradar alarm the HBL? According to the association, the main reason was that the stakes which were placed during this game with some betting were too high. The association announced in its press conference that the suspicion was raised when the Ukrainian team was losing at the half time. In fact, the Wölfe were leading 18 to 15 at the half time.

Most of the amounts were not staked online but in stationary betting agents. Sportradar listed these betting agents as being in Southern Europe. Many bookmakers acted immediately and removed the match from their betting services during the first half of the game.

In the Sport Bild HBL boss Frank Bohmann stated the following about this case:

“The affected stakes were noticeable, and the amounts were much higher than those normally placed in the second division. Till now we have no further clues but the investigative team of Sportradar will carry out further investigations.“

What did the HBL do?

Immediately after it was informed about the situation, the HBL referred the suspicious case to the responsible commission which it had set up in 2011 for this exact purpose. The match referee and the DHB officials were questioned. According to the HBL, the commission found no anomalies during the game that would indicate match fixing.

The implicated teams were also informed. However only HC Motor Zaporizhzhia was asked to give the comments in writing. The constellation of the bets did not cause any suspicions on the team of Wölfe Würzburg. The trainer and manager of Zaporizhzhia also questioned all the players and no clear indication of match fixing was established.

The case is still not solved: in a bid to try and solve the case and rule out any suspicions, the HBL joined forces with Sportradar once again. The investigators were ordered to carry out further analysis and investigations. The HBL explained in its statement that, if necessary, the case will be referred to the responsible enforcement authorities. The information will be given to the latter transparently.


Betting corruption in the HBL? There is no straight “yes” or “no” answer to the question. The case is far from closed, particularly since the stakes were placed so often and they were so high. We hope that that the HBL will disclose the results of the further analysis and investigations which are being carried out by Sportradar. Of course, we will report about it if there are further news about the case.

Image source: https://www.pexels.com/de-de/foto/person-tisch-geld-diebstahl-6266666/ 

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