On Sunday, 17.09.2023, 1. FC Union Berlin’s professional women’s team face a Regionalliga Nordost top of the table clash against FC Viktoria 1899 Berlin. Kick off in the match between last, and this season’s top two at the Fritz-Lesch-Sportplatz in Dörpfeldstraße is at 14:00.
The clash between Union Berlin and Viktoria Berlin has been long anticipated, as two clubs with great ambitions for the future, and the ultimate aim of promotion to the Bundesliga meet. While the hosts are relying primarily on the club's existing structures in their professionalisation process, Viktoria are backed up by their investors. A total of 181 sponsors, including numerous public figures, have provided over 2 million euros since summer 2022.
With these financial resources, their team was once again notably strengthened in the off-season. Natalia Stulin, Stefanie Klug (who wore the Union kit from 2020 to 2022) and Anna Höfker are three recruits from the 2. Bundesliga, joined by the 87-time Dutch international defender Anouk Dekker, who at 36 is expected to act as a leader. Striker Eunice Beckmann, currently out of action due to a cruciate ligament rupture, also brings huge experience with her 128 Bundesliga appearances. They are lead by a new head coach in the shape of Dennis Galleski, who most recently worked at the Berlin Football Association.
Last season, Viktoria had the edge over Union. The team from Lichterfelde won the championship by four points and then met Hamburger SV in the play-off for promotion to the 2. Bundesliga. There, however, they suffered 3-0 and 3-1 losses. But with their new personnel, the club wants to make sure of promotion this season.
After three matchdays, Viktoria, like Union, have a 100% record, and with it are the only team in the league not to have conceded a goal so far. Their most recent victory was an 8-0 thrashing of Bischofswerdaer FV, having already seen off two potential promotion rivals in 1. FFC Turbine Potsdam II (3-0) and Türkiyemspor Berlin (5-0). With a 4-0 win over SV Henstedt-Ulzburg from the Regionalliga Nord, Viktoria also advanced to the last 16 of the DFB Pokal last weekend.
The head to head
The last encounter between the sides in February 2023 delivered everything you would expect from a top of the table match. In front of 1500 spectators at Dörpfeldstraße, Viktoria raced into a 2-0 lead. But Zita Rurack reduced the score to 2-1 before half-time, before Nour Youssef equalised a few minutes after the break in the pouring, freezing rain. Viktoria took the lead again a short time later, but again Union responded through Rurack to make it 3-3.
Just when it finally looked like they would have to share the points, Viktoria were awarded a free-kick near the halfway line in injury time. The ball sailed into the penalty area, falling onto the head of Union striker Elisa Spolaczyk, who unwittingly put the ball into her own goal. It was decisive, not only for a spectacular match, but also for the fight for promotion. Although still only the first game of the second half of the season, the gap proved insurmountable and although Union won all twelve of their following games, they were unable to knock Viktoria off the top of the table.
Union, however, won the first match that season, 2-1 at Stadion Lichterfelde. There, too, Viktoria took the lead, but Lisa Heiseler and Naika Reissner turned things around in head coach Ailien Poese’s first match in charge.
In total, the clubs have played each other 30 times. With 14 victories, Viktoria have the slightly better record, but Union have also had 11 wins. Five games have ended in a draw.
Head coach Poese will be without three players on Sunday, Luca Scheel, Elisa Schindler and Pauline Wimmer.
The coach’s views ahead of the match
"We have been able to prepare very well for the match so far this week,” said an optimistic Poese during midweek. “The whole team have been focused and concentrated through the last sessions of the week. My dear Unioner, we are looking forward to both seeing you, and to the game!"
For organisational reasons, admission is only possible for the 1,500 spectators with a valid ticket for the game. These tickets have now sold out and there are no further tickets available.