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Union Beat Viktoria 3-0

Heiseler, Abu Sabbah and Orschmann Lead the Way

Sun, 24. March 2024
Union Beat Viktoria 3-0

Union beat Viktoria 1889 on a rousing day in Lichterfelde that certainly hasn’t sealed the Regionalliga title, but has helped them a long way towards it. They are now six points clear of Viktoria with a game in hand. On a muddy pitch in front of a big crowd of almost 2,000 people, Lisa Heiseler scored the opener, joined in the second half on the sheet by Sarah Abu Sabbah and Dina Orschmann.

FC Viktoria 1899 Berlin: Buchholz – Cazares (84. Wasiak), Dekker, Höfker, Grosch (84. Gerken) – Friedl (84. Agac), Stulin – Trapp, Sänger, Yaren – Casanovas (62. Urbanek)

1. FC Union Berlin: Wagner – Sakar, K. Orschmann, Becker, Reissner (84. Bach) – Frank (90. Görsdorf), Heiseler, Moraitou – Blaschka (71. Rurack), Abu Sabbah, D. Orschmann

Goals0-1 Heiseler (31.), 0-2 Abu Sabbah (54.), 0-3 D. Orschmann (78.)

Attendance1830

Asked at the start of the season if she would have been happier if Viktoria been promoted last year, and with it out of Union’s way, Marie Becker was decisive, she didn’t even blink. No, she said. She knew they were Union’s greatest competitors, but that’s why she wanted them to stay. She wanted to beat them.

She had her wish earlier in the season when Dina Orschmann ensured Union’s 1-0 win at home, but don’t let it not be said; this one really mattered, it was resounding, and Becker was at the heart of it.

With her and her partner at centre-half, Katja Orschmann superb on a pitch reduced to a quagmire from the torrential rain that had fallen all grey morning long (when Katja Orschmann slipped in the middle of the Union half after about 30 minutes, the mud flew everywhere like it was a cartoon), Union not only fought through a tough opening half an hour. They ended up completely dominating their hosts as the sun came out over Lichterfelde.

But they had to fight to get into that position in the first place. Viktoria, too, were determined, knowing they had to try and pin Union back early. There were fouls on Dina Orschmann, on Athanasia Moraitou and on Naika Reissner, early on, and the hosts looked strong in midfield.

But they came up against a brick wall time and again, such as when Laura Casanovas burst into the inside left channel, or when Marlies Sänger did so on the other side after 15 minutes. Both times Becker was there, her timing perfect on a pitch where running was made to look like the hardest thing of all.

Union were playing a traditional four at the back, with Reissner and Fatma Sakar, both keen to have the ball, but doing the hardest of yards without it, they were utterly indefatigable, either side of their bulwarks. Reissner made a wonderful sliding challenge on Louise Trapp when she seemed beaten, sending a leg out from behind as she caught up from nowhere.

Athanasia Moraitou and Celine Frank were often reduced to watching long balls sail over them, or to dig in and hold the fort inside their own half for large periods, but as time went on they started to free themselves up. Sarah Abu Sabbah – up top, alongside Dina Orschmann on the left and Anouk Blaschka on the right - shot wide having been played in by the increasingly influential Reissner. Captain, Lisa Heiseler chastised herself as she overhit a ball up the line that went out for a throw, for no-one holds themselves to higher standards than the skipper and she knew that Union were starting to make inroads up the wings, Viktoria were starting to get pegged back 

She clapped her hands together and ran back into position.

Soon enough Union had won a corner on the right. It was whipped into the six-yard box where Heiseler met it powerfully with her head. The Viktoria keeper, Inga Buchholz, got a hand to it, diving to her left, but Union’s skipper had too much on it, the power on the header being almost like a manifestation of everything they’d given so far.

Aylin Yaren caught her with an elbow, unintentionally, shortly afterwards, flooring the midfielder. Heiseler just got up, shook herself off and carried on regardless. She’s made of solid stuff.

Union stepped up as half time approached. Dina Orschmann was certain she should have had a penalty when brought down by Selina Grosch in the box shortly after, and was incandescent when her plea was turned down, but it would matter little in the end. She’d get her moment.

If the sun was starting to come out by the time the Union players were back on the pitch for the resumption of the second half, it was fully present by the time the hosts arrived. It looked like Ailien Poese was making a point, sending her team out early. They were ready for anything, they just wanted to get playing again, it said. And play they did. Moraitou and Frank were now getting more of the ball, the former turning Yaren artfully as if she wasn’t there, a move repeated almost to a tee by her partner five minutes later.

Viktoria were chasing shadows now. Sometimes they caught them, sometimes not. Casanovas dragged Dina Orschmann back; Sänger stamped on Becker; their frustration was palpable. Both times the Union player got up and carried on from where she’d left off.  Heiseler trotted over to Orschmann, they touched hands, and they were back. Moraitou hit the free kick wide as Heiseler loitered with intent near the penalty spot.

Reissner saw her shot superbly saved by Buchholz before Katja Orschmann hit another long, searching ball that dropped to the feet of Abu Sabbah, as if laser guided. Union’s, and the league’s, top scorer took a single touch to kill it, another to move it in between two defenders, before using her third to finish perfectly inside the far post, with her left, back and across the keeper.

It was a joy. A pure striker’s goal, and Viktoria had no answer.

Though by now limping slightly on her left leg, and strapped up heavily on her left hand, Dina Orschmann was the driving force, constantly offering an option, always offering advice to Reissner behind her, always running into gaps, and the way she held off Cazares with her back to goal, was astonishing.

So it was with no little justice that it was she who would score the third, from a corner whipped in by Heiseler from out on the right. The ball just dropped above the striving leap of Becker but landed perfectly for the older Orschmann to finish at the back post into an empty net.

And that was largely that. Before the final whistle Becker would send a Katja-esque long ball perfectly to the feet of Abu Sabbah that, this time, she couldn’t quite finish off, and Mel Wagner made a superb, brave stop at the feet of Yaren at the death, the final flourish of the one player who was waiting for her chance to contribute, finally got her moment.

The players came together, as is customary, in front of their jubilant fans. And though they are used to winning, this one felt different. It felt special. And Becker can relax now. Their nemeses from last season had been well and truly despatched.