Are you STILL or are you ALREADY online???

Union Keep the Wind at Their Backs

Women Beat Berolina Mitte 7-0

Sun, 14. April 2024
Union Keep the Wind at Their Backs

1. FC Union Berlin’s women’s team maintained their 100% precent record for the season, dispatching SV Blau Weiß Berolina Mitte, 7-0, on a sunny afternoon in Prenzlauerberg. Anouk Blaschka opened the scoring, joined on the list by Lisa Heiseler and Dina Orschmann, who both bagged a brace, topped off with two second half own goals.

SV Blau Weiß Berolina Mitte: Macaulay – Dittrich, Zeuzem, Kull, Pawlik – Kogan (29. von Schorlemer), Lamprecht, Aping, Graffstädt – Bruns (78. Feig), Wagner 

1. FC Union Berlin: Wagner – K. Orschmann (46. Rurack), Becker, Niesler – Sakar, Blaschka, Moraitou (46. Frank), Heiseler (66. Scheel), Reissner – Abu Sabbah, D. Orschmann (66. Görsdorf) 

Attendance: 250

Goals: 0-1 Blaschka (14.), 0-2 Abu Sabbah (16.), 0-3 D. Orschmann (20.), 0-4 Abu Sabbah (35.), 0-5 D. Orschmann (37.), 0-6 Lamprecht (55., o.g.), 0-7 Macaulay (61., o.g) 

There was a strong wind blowing across the Cantianstrasse pitch, in the shadow of the Jahn Sportpark, as Union kicked off against Berolina Mitte on Sunday afternoon. It was coming up from behind the goal that Mel Wagner was nominally defending, and as if it was physically, literally pushing Union’s players on. With only seconds played their superb back three of Katja Orschmann, Marie Becker and Charleen Niesler were spread the length of the halfway line, squeezing the life out of the hosts the way a python does a gazelle.

Memories went back to last week and the way that Dina Orschmann had rescued Union with her two goals in time added on, and they were making damn sure that would not be needed again. As they went back to the 13-0 thumping they had dished out to Berolina in October.

They were unremitting from the off, winning three corners in a row after only a couple of minutes, the first two taken by captain, Lisa Heiseler, the third by Anouk Blaschka, to mix things up. The Berolina keeper, Joelle Macaulay scrambled the second away. It was to be a long day, and even when she sprung a break with a long ball towards Finja Bruns, often the loneliest player in the world, entering the Union half occasionally like she was dipping her toe into hot water, it just came straight back.

Despite the scoreline, Macaulay made a couple of fine saves, one in the second half from a Heiseler drive that was flying into the bottom left hand corner, and the first, a remarkable, reflex stop from Dina Orschmann from close range. Dina had struck the ball well, and the stopper was scrambling back from the other side when she flew at the ball, somehow sticking a hand up as her momentum took her past the ball, and knocking it over the bar.

Though these were moments of respite, Union’s domination did mean that there was a certain lack of space in which to operate. Sarah Abu Sabbah brought down a Katja Orschmann pass on her chest, but was bustled off the ball as she entered the box. Athanasia Moraitou, having returned from international duty with Greece and striding the midfield with her typical grace, beat three players, one after another, but was dispossessed by the fourth.

But though it was coming, and the couple of hundred fans ringing the pitch, enjoying the sunshine, when Union scored the opener through Anouk Blaschka’s 14th minute strike, it was greeted only with silence, at least on the pitch. Dina Orschmann had gone down in the box, challenged heavily by Mona Aping in the build-up and she had stayed down.

Dina doesn’t play for time, and her team-mates knew it.

As soon as the ball hit the back of the net there were players around her, motioning immediately for the physios to come on, worried looks on their faces. Blaschka would ultimately allow herself a smile, though, and within minutes was watching Sarah Abu Sabbah sidefoot home into a largely unguarded net having found a pocket of space inside the box.

Soon enough Orschmann was back on the pitch, anyway, doing what she does best; instructing Naika Reissner, the left wing-back, with intricate hand gestures about how to unlock a stolid and solid defence such as this, and scoring goals.

Her first, Union’s third, was a volley, not dissimilar to the first she scored last week, if a little further out; her technique flawless as she balanced on her toes, head perfectly still, right foot swinging smoothly and powerfully round to meet the ball at waist height. If her second, Union’s fifth, was a little more prosaic, a stabbed shot from six yards that Macaulay never stood a chance with, the pick of the bunch was Union’s fourth, a move that ebbed and flowed across the expanse of the pitch; a goal that followed the course of the wind.

It was started as Niesler elegantly backheeled a pass to Reisner, who hit it along the line to Becker. Becker then rolled it to Katja Orschmann who then found the right wing-back, the tireless Fatma Sakar who played it back into the middle where Heiseler found Niesler who found Reissner again. Reissner is an old-fashioned winger with chalk on her boots, as they say, and her cross from the left was deep, swinging outwards, and hit precisely.

Exactly the kind of ball a centre-forward such as Abu Sabbah thrives on. She had timed her run towards the back post with perfection and volleyed home.

This wasn’t a side flexing their muscles, and it certainly had little to do with arrogance. It was devastating in its simplicity, beautiful in its conception and ruthless in its execution.

The second half started with Heiseler and Abu Sabbah as Berolina prepared to kick off, one knee each bent, their toes on the half way line, ready like they were about to start the 800 metres. With the whistle they sprinted into the Berolina half, showing little respite, so it was strange that neither of them would score again, nor would any of their team-mates.

Union continued to dominate the ball, but with both Orschmanns taken off at the break – presumably with half an eye on Thursday’s cup semi-final – but the goals would largely dry up.

Ailien Poese, Union’s head coach, would be disappointed. She is not one for unnecessary, niceties, and she demands nothing other than utter dedication, and even the slightest let up was unacceptable, she said. While she was "very pleased with our performance in the first half,” what she saw in the second wasn’t enough.  “We slowed down, weren't as determined and didn't really get into the penalty area. With the ambition we have, we have to continue to play more clearly and create more chances in order to score more goals.”

The score be damned, of course, Heiseler, was ready for battle. A few minutes into the half Aping went through the back of Blaschka. It was a clumsy, frustrated challenge. Blaschka grimaced, and she remained on the turf before the Berolina midfielder came back. Five minutes later, Union’s skipper left a tackle on her, and she turned away immediately, a smile on her face.

She is the leader for a reason, and her message was clear. “You don’t touch my team-mates”.

It was Reissner who inspired the sixth, knocking the ball ahead of her as she burst again down the left-hand side, but with a little too much on it - or so it seemed- but the Austrian international, too, is not one to back away from a challenge and she chased the ball down, catching it at the byline and wrapping her left foot around it.

Though intended as a cut-back, it only struck poor Emma Lamprecht, who could only turn it into her own goal. She looked like she wanted he ground to open and swallow her, burying her head in her shirt as her team-mates thronged her, reassuring her. There was little she could do. Sometimes football can be so cruel, but that the cruelty would be doubled as Macaulay then spilled a routine Blaschka corner, also into her own net. By this point it seemed to be a case of the universe taking things too far.

Not that the Unioner minded too much at the final whistle. For them, this was another big step towards the title, with Union’s nine point advantage over Viktoria maintained. But this is why Poese is so keen to keep standards at the absolute highest.

She must, because as any sailor knows, you should enjoy the wind at your back. You never know when it might change.