1. FC Union's women's team women's remain unbeaten in the Regionalliga Nordost after their fourth game of the season, though they did drop points for the first time. In the top of the table clash between the league leaders from Köpenick and second placed RB Leipzig II, both teams had to be content with a 1-1 draw.
1. FC Union Berlin: Wagner (46. Duszat) - Wildner, Becker, Schindler, Bach - Görsdorf (79. Bucher), Wimmer, Heiseler - Youssef, Spolaczyk (46. Rurack) Reissner
RB Leipzig II: Böttcher - Herrmann, Güldenpfennig (72. Bühring), Kiunke, Misch (59. Schmelzle), Heckler, Fietz, Schubert, Werner, Grenz (46. Spitzner), Petters (59. Lulaj)
Goals: 0:1 Güldenpfennig (41.), 1:1 Rurack (75.)
Leipzig take the lead, late in the first half.
Union head coach Ailien Poese made three changes to the starting line-up from the 4-0 win against FFV Erfurt löast weekend. Central defender Pauline Gericke was absent due to illness, so Marie Becker, who again returned after a two-week injury lay-off, went directly in the starting eleven. Latoya Bach and Naika Reissner also played in place of Zita Rurack and Lena Bucher.
The game started with a tense moment for Union. Just few seconds after kick-off goalkeeper, Melanie Wagner, was forced into a save, tipping a strong shot onto the post. The visitors had got off to a much better start and were controlling posession in midfield and around the Union penalty area in the first quarter of an hour, but without creating any further major chances. It took around 20 minutes for Union to wake up, gradually finding their way into the game.
Union improved, keeping Leipzig now at bay, but they were still guilty of squandering their own chances and misplacing passes.
Both teams were cancelling each other out in the midfield for long stretches, it looked like they would go into half time goalless until the 41st minute, when RB took the lead, stunning Union. Leipzig's Lena Güldenpfenning heading the ball over Wagner and into the net from a corner to give the Saxons a 1-0 half-time lead.
Rurack redeems Union
It transpired that Wagner had injured her back, making that very first save of the game, so she wouldn't re-appear for the second half, replaced between the sticks by Sarah Duszat.
But her team-mates played as if reborn, setting the tone and dominating the play. After just two minutes Naika Reissner was bearing down on goal, running onto a pass from substitute Zita Rurack, but the linesman's flag was up. Union, however, kept the pressure on Leipzig, and started creating more and more chances. A header by Rurack in the 54th minute flew just wide, before the Leipzig goalkeeper was tested for the first time in the match three minutes later. Pauline Wimmer's shot from distance was only just touched around the post by Eve Böttcher.
The, for a while, it seemed as if Leipzig would actually survive the Union storm. In the 75th minute, however, Rurack provided the moment of redemption. The 18-year-old rising to head in a corner for a deserved equaliser.
Union pushed on in the hope of getting a winner. And it almost came in the 78th minute when Reissner, who scored the winner in the 2-1 victory over Viktoria Berlin, shot from an acute angle only to see it coming back off the back post.
Although the winning goal was not to come in the end, Union's superb second half showing will give them a lot of confidence for the coming run of fixtures. And with ten points from four games, they remain top of the table for the time being, even though their rivals Türkiyemspor Berlin, with nine points, still have a game in hand.
The Coach's views on the game
"Although this draw still feels like a defeat at the moment, we can be very proud of our performance, especially in the 2nd half," said Poese. "We defended very well against a team that was the best we have faced this season, and we were very brave when attacking, which is what lead to the equaliser. In the end, the result hurts a bit, but we won't let our heads drop and will put our full focus on the next game."
The week ahead
Before the next Sunday's away match at Hertha 03 Zehlendorf in the Regionalliga, Union's women will play in the 1st round proper of the Berlin Cup next Thursday, 22.09.2022. The Verbandsliga's Borussia Pankow, host Union at 19:30 at Pichelswerderstraße 7 (13187 Berlin).