Union Make History

6-0 Win Over Bischofswerdaer Caps an Incredible Season

Sun, 02. June 2024
Union Make History

With their 6-0 win over Bischofswerdaer FV, the title-winning women of 1. FC Union Berlin completed a historic 2023/24 season. The goals on Sunday afternoon were scored by Anouk Blaschka, with a penalty, Celine Frank, with a superb brace, and another hat-trick from the top scorer in all five Regional leagues, Sarah Abu Sabbah.

1. FC Union Berlin: Wagner – K. Orschmann (46. Schindler), Becker (56. Schulz), Niesler – Bach (69. Rurack), Blaschka, Frank (46. Scheel), Heiseler (46. Görsdorf), Metzker – Abu Sabbah, D. Orschmann 

Bischofswerdaer FV: Werner (46. Hör) – Anders, Müller, Salzer, Prill (58. Gneuß) – Salzmann, Wilsch (58. J. Heinrich) – Lehner (80. S. Heinrich), Wendisch, Kögler – Rinke   

The starting XI

Ailien Poese wasn’t going to take things to chance, not even now with the title won, and started Melanie Wagner in goal behind her favoured back three of Charleen Niesler, Marie Becker and Katja Orschmann. In the Absense of Naika Reissner, away on international duty, as was midfielder Athanasia Moraitou, Latoya Bach was on the right, while Pia Metzker started as the left wing-back.

The midfield was Celine Frank and Lisa Heiseler, while Dina Orschmann and Anouk Blaschka attacked behind the top scorer, Sarah Abu Sabbah.

Goals: 1-0 Blaschka (3., Pen.), 2-0 Frank (12.), 3-0 Abu Sabbah (13.), 4-0 Frank (32.), 5-0 Abu Sabbah (64.), 60 Abu Sabbah (73.) 

Attendance: 503 

Union score two early on, Bischofswerda retreat into their own box

History beckoned for this Union side as they kicked off on Sunday afternoon in  the oppressive heat of the Fritz-Lesch Sportplatz. Never before had a side won every single game of a Regionalliga Nordost season, and they were as motivated as ever before.

It showed, and the game started typically as Abu Sabbah was denied a first minute penalty when brought down by Leonie Prill in the box. She appealed, but then Union barely get any penalties these days.

Or that was, at least the theory; one which was blown out of the water a minute later when Katja Orschmann hit a free kick into the box, the ball careering off a stray hand in the melee. The flag went straight up, as if spring loaded. Anouk Blaschka barely blinked, taking the ball and stroking home the spot-kick with ease.

There was another good crowd in Adlershof – they’ve been growing inexorably for the last couple of years, and the threats of a coming storm weren’t enough to put them off this celebration - but they showed their sporting nature after Nadine Rinke crashed into the half-way-line flag, hurting herself. The applause that greeted her recovery was heartfelt and genuine.

They were also in for a treat. Katja Orschmann hit a glorious, swinging ball from the right across to Pia Metzker, coming in at the back post. Had her volley found the top corner it would have been sensational, but it flew inches wide. At the back, meanwhile, Becker showed typical calmness in dispossessing Anna Salzmann, brushing her off the ball.

Union were flying. Celine Frank, excellent all day long, played a one-two with Heiseler, taking the ball into the box, twisting past two helpless defenders, before finishing superbly with her left foot past the helpless Laura Werner in Bischofswerdaer’s goal.

It was, if not capped, but certainly equalled by the sheer art and cheek of Abu Sabbah’s lob a minute later, looking up and lifting the ball over Werner and under the bar from the edge of the 18 yard box. It was her 40th goal of an incredible season, and a joy to behold.

She was everywhere, probing and chasing, tormenting the Bischofswerdaer back line, and with almost 20 minutes played she almost added another beauty, when, at full stretch, she volleyed another ball over the top just wide, guiding the ball instead of blasting it.

The guests circled the wagons, their box becoming a tangle of defenders, with Union patiently trying to find a way through the only occasional gaps. Katja Orschmann drew a fine stop from Werner from the right, Abu Sabbah thought she had another penalty. So it was with a certain sense of inevitability that Union’s third would come from outside the box again, and again through the magic left foot of Frank, this one at least the measure of the first. After filling in at the back, she has been integral to Union’s chances this year, and she was flourishing further forward today.

Union pushed on as the away side retreated ever further back. Abu Sabbah saw one saved from the middle, the willing Bach side footed a shot on goal that seemed to be heading inside the near post, but saw it palmed away at the last while Blaschka saw a deep, in-swinging corner come within milimetres of dropping inside the back post from a corner, a trick she has scored from already this season. .

Abu Sabbah adds to the score, Poese rings in the changes

Poese now had a chance to give some of her players a break, the result almost certain. Lisa Görsdorf, Elisa Schindler and Luca Scheel, making her last ever appearance for Union, came on for Frank, Heiseler and Katja Orschmann. It is unlike the coach to cast her gaze any further than the next minute, but here she could start to think about next Sunday, and the first play-off against Henstedt-Ulzburg.

For her part, Scheel said she was a little overwhelmed, having said goodbye before kick-off. “Of course, it was an emotional day for me with the farewell beforehand, the game and the championship. It was a nice finish,” she said.

Görsdorf found space immediately to thread a fine ball through to Dina Orschmann, but the keeper just got out in time to throw Union’s striker off her run. Abu Sabbah bent one past the top corner, blaming herself when she had time to pick her spot.

But then there were worried looks, despite the occasion, as Becker went down with a cry, holding her thigh, Abu Sabbah and Katja Orschmann bending over her tenderly as Union’s lynchpin received treatment. They were reassured when Becker walked off the pitch under her own steam, if only partly, to be replaced by Ginger Schulz.

Schulz, too, was quick to seize her chance, flashing a shot too close to Werner’s half-time replacement, Antonia Hör, from range, before defending stoutly from Rinke on one of the rare occasions that Bischofswerdaer chose to attack with more than just a lone striker.

But this was an outlier, for Union were dominant, and it was only a matter of time until Latoya Bach laid the ball square for Abu Sabbah to score from close to the penalty spot. It was an excellent finish, but bearing in mind how many defenders were nearby, for a striker of her quality, she had far too much space and time.

She was less successful with her next effort, a spectacular, swinging attempt at a bicycle kick having chested the ball to set herself, but Kira Lehner managed bravely to get in the way and head clear. But it wouldn’t be enough to still Abu Sabbah’s relentless run. She scored Union’s sixth, and her third, with a quarter of an hour to go when she beat Rinke to the ball in the box.

Abu Sabbah’s had cleaner finishes this season, but few will remember that as she wheeled away, the ball having kissed the back post on its way in, trundling over the line. They all count.

At the final whistle Poese and her assistant, Sven Gruel, were calmness personified. They didn’t punch the air, and there was little popping of corks. They would leave that for the players, but even their celebrations would be cut short. There is still work to do, but the coach is in little doubt that they’ll be ready.

“Of course there are still two games to go,” said Poese, “but we're already incredibly proud of the team. They've been so hard-working this season and have worked their way into this professional routine. They have improved incredibly and played with a certain self-confidence right to the end. We now want to take this momentum into the promotion matches and are incredibly looking forward to these games.”

The trophy had been sitting on a table throughout the second half of the game, meanwhile, waiting to be given over to the champions, the history makers. Of course, it was a given that they’d win today, but that shouldn’t detract from their astonishing success this season, their unremitting drive, their solidarity and focus.

And though everyone knows that promotion is the bigger goal, not just the title, when it was given to Heiseler and Dina Orschmann it still felt like the greatest of successes; no-one has had a better season in this league in its 34 year history, after all.

The cries of joy ringing out over Adlershof could be heard for miles around.