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One Foot in the 2. Liga

Union Beat SV Henstedt-Ulzburg 8-0

Sun, 09. June 2024
One Foot in the 2. Liga

1. FC Union Berlin's women's team beat SV Henstedt-Ulzburg 8-0 on Sunday afternoon in front of over 18,000 fans at the Alte Försterei on a wonderful day for women's football in the city that has as good as confirmed their place in the 2. Liga next season. Sarah Abu Sabbah got a hat-trick, and was joined on the scoresheet by Pia Metzker, Dina Orschmann with two, Lisa Heiseler and Lisa Görsdorf.

1. FC Union Berlin: Wagner – K. Orschmann (74. Rurack), Niesler, Frank – Sakar (74. Reissner), Blaschka, Moraitou (74. Görsdorf), Heiseler, Metzker – Abu Sabbah (84. Trojahn), D. Orschmann (84. Scheel) 

SV Henstedt-Ulzburg: Klaas – Kossy (62. Knobloch), Fuß, Pawelec, Behneke – Nagomy (74. Kern), Hagedorn (74. Advani), Hegeler – Hille, Homp, Michel 

The starting XI

Ailine Poese had to make just the two changes from her usual starting eleven on this huge day for 1. FC Union Berlin. Melanie Wagner was in goal behind a back three of Katja Orschmann, Charleen Niesler and Celine Frank, who replaced Marie Becker who was hurt during last weekend’s final league match of the season against Bischofswerdaer.

Fatma Sakar was playing as the right wing-back, while Pia Metzker, who played her first game back from injury against Türkiyemspor, was on the left.

Athanasia Moraitou and captain Lisa Heiseler were in midfield leaving Dina Orschmann and Anouk Blaschka to support Sarah Abu Sabbah up front.

Goals: 1-0, Metzker (17.) 2-0, Abu Sabbah (31. Pen) 3-0, Heiseler (39.) 4-0, D. Orschmann (43.) 5-0, Abu Sabbah (46.) 7-0 D. Orschmann (66.) 8-0 Görsdorf (86.)

Attendance: 18,045

Metzker opens the scoring, Union run riot

It was a historic day in so many ways. There were over 18,000 people inside the Alte Försterei on Sunday afternoon to see a fantastic performance that saw Union have more than a leg in the 2. Liga through a hard-fought, and often glittering performance against the Regionalliga Nord winners, SV Henstedt Ulzburg. 

They had refused to be overawed by the occasion or the roaring stage. They were superb. But despite the relentless nature of their play, the sight of Lisa Görsdorf wheeling away in front of a packed out Waldseite added the most human, beautiful of touches to the day.

For few have served this club as finely, as humbly as she, and as her team-mates flocked her following her 86th minute goal – her first of the season – there was barely a dry eye in the house.

But that was all to come. Union started with a move almost tailor made in the first minute, as Katja found Dina Orschmann with one of her telepathic long-balls. Dina put wide, though she hadn’t heard the whistle go for an offside anyway. But it was a sign of things to come.

Henstedt-Ulzburg looked organised and solid in the opening exchanges, bravely refusing to flood their own half with bodies, as so many other sides Union have beaten this season have done, while Vera Homp and Michelle Hille were already showing signs of the shifts they were going to put in up top, harrying the excellent Niesler and Metzker early on.

But Union were composed and patient, as well as showing their own toughness in the middle, as when Moraitou barged Sophie Hagedorn off the ball in the centre-circle, or when Abu Sabbah crashed into Malin Hegeler with, as the old Union boss, Christian Beeck, famously said, the necessary brutality.

Katja Orschmann stepped up, over the halfway line, beating one before playing a shorter, lower ball, splitting the defence, to Abu Sabbah, but Union’s top scorer couldn’t quite get on the end of it having made her run. Her time would come. Heiseler then put over the bar after five minutes before Dina Orschmann drew the first save of note from Anneke Klass, slipping as she shot from 25 yards out, the ball dropping neatly into the keeper’s hands.

Blaschka, playing deeper than usual, adding weight to Union’s midfield, then saw one from just outside the box saved as the stopper dived to her left after 15 minutes.

Union were now all over their guests, as the Alte Försterei found its voice. It was a wonderful occasion, of which the players and coaching staff can be rightly proud. They had earned this. A delightful ball from Metzker found Abu Sabbah, who opted to square across goal for Heiseler, but it took and excellent last-ditch tackle from Michel to deny Union’s skipper.

Then the pressure told. Sakar did superbly, advancing up the right, from where her low cross squirmed across goal, past the toe of Heiseler, where Metzker followed up, coming in at the near post, and finished superbly with the side of her foot past Klaas.

If there were any pre-game nerves – and it didn’t seem as if there were – they were surely batted away now.

Union were playing superbly. A lovely move, instigated by Moraitou in the middle saw Abu Sabbah called offside by a whisker. The striker was livid, she couldn’t believe it. Dina Orschmann then bustled and battled her way past Lisa-Kristin Behneke, squeezing out a right-footed shot that flew just wide of the back post.

And when Henstedt-Ulzburg did attack, they too often hit a wall in the shape of the immense Niesler at the back. She first did well to rob the industrious Homp when she bore down on Mel Wagner’s goal, before tackling Hagedorn, going to ground, and coming up with the ball at her feet. Niesler made another brilliant intervention, this time far higher up the pitch, after half an hour, sliding into Hegeler, and setting Moraitou away with the neatest of passes.

Dina Orschmann was meanwhile everywhere, and it was the gap she created that saw Metzker chase into the box only to be brought down by Esther Kossy. The referee pointed straight to the spot and gave the Henstedt-Ulzburg defender a yellow card for her troubles.

But this wasn’t a chance that Abu Sabbah was going to leave astray. Having recently scored a decisive spot-kick in the West Asian Women’s Cup final, she scored her next, brilliantly, from the penalty, sending Klaas the wrong way, coolness personified.

The guests looked stunned, and they were chasing shadows. Midfielder, and captain, Hegeler, took a moment to rouse her team-mates, clapping them on, but it was like trying to hold back the sea. After Dina Orschmann had put a header wide, Lisa Heiseler struck a wonderful, wicked, dipping shot that swerved in the air as it flew past Klaas to make it 3-0 for Union. The skipper wheeled away in delight.

It would get better only a few minutes later as Dina Orschmann came into a 50-50 with Klass, after her sister’s irrepressible pressing and Blashka’s dangerous, waist-high ball into the box. She got the finest of touches, lobbing the ball over the the keeper, and rounding her to meet it on the other side to side-foot it home.

It was a fitting end to a rousing half.

Abu Sabbah give the guests no time to breathe. Dina Orschmann bags a beauty, before Lisa Görsdorf takes the roof off

It couldn’t have started any better. Katja Orschmann attacked down the inside right channel, hitting a square ball that sowed panic in the box. Klaas didn’t know whether to come or go, but it was the kind of situation a striker as ruthless as Abu Sabbah thrives on. She swooped, and rolled the ball past the disheartened keeper.

Abu was having fun. She almost saw a lob on, her eyes flashing, before cutting the ball back for Blaschka at one moment, she flicked a pass with her heel to Sakar with the next. She would make it six with 53 minutes played, capping a wonderful move that saw Dina Orschmann again sliding a threatening pass across the box that she only had to touch into the net.

Orschmann the elder was aching for a second, and came close again after almost an hour when her volley following a corner took a deflection and crashed off the bar.

But she got it with 25 minutes to play - and it was a beauty - a bicycle kick that she guided rather than struck with her back to goal that saw her tearing away in undisguised glee.

The guests never gave up, even if their task was now an impossible one. Homp hit a lovely ball to Hille, catching Union on the break soon after, but Moraitou chased her back, blocking her attempted cross before it could head towards Michel as she entered the box; when Michel then advanced dangerously, Katja Orschmann’s pressure caused her to loop the ball harmlessly into the hands of Mel Wagner in Union’s goal. Michel was tireless, but she had no chance when, after another break, she had to deal with the attentions of both Katja Orschmann and Moraitou.

These were outliers, though. Even as Poese rung in the changes, bringing Naika Reissner, Lisa Görsdorf and Zita Rurack on for Moraitou, Sakar and Katja Orschmann, Union threw everything at Henstedt-Ulzburg. Blaschka saw a free kick clip the bar, Abu Sabbah had a shot belted away into the ether, Dina Orschmann had one saved by Klaas.

The roars of Fußballgöttin were deafening as Dina Orschmann and Abu Sabbah left the stage for Sophie Trojahn and Luca Scheel, but they were as nothing compared to the one that greeted Görsdorf’s strike with five minutes to go that made it 8-0. Few have served the club as immensely as she throughout the years, and as she stroked home another lovely move that went from Heiseler to Metzker, there was barely a dry eye in the house.

It was the most fitting of ends to an astonishing celebration of the women's game in Berlin. They couldn't have scripted it any better. Next week in the second leg should be a formality.