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Union's Women Defeat Hertha BSC 5-0

At the stadium An der Alten Försterei:

Sun, 28. April 2024
Union's Women Defeat Hertha BSC 5-0

1. FC Union beat a determined Hertha BSC 5-0 in front of a record crowd for women’s football at the Stadion An der Alten Försterei, on one of the finest days for women’s football ever seen in the Hauptstadt. While the second half was goalless, Katja Orschmann and Athanasia Moraitou both scored, while Sarah Abu Sabbah bagged a first half hattrick for the hosts.

1. FC Union Berlin: Melanie Wagner – Fatmar Sakar (63. Luca Marie Scheel), Celine Frank, Marie Becker (67. Charleen Niesler), Katja Orschmann – Athanasia Moraitou, Lisa Heiseler (80. Lisa Görsdorf) – Dina Orschmann, Sarah Abu Sabbah (80. Elisa Schindler), Anouk Blaschka (63. Zita Rurack)

Hertha BSC: Reimann, Westphal (45. Genthe), Peters, Dreher, Pranke (63. Giannori) - Poock, Frieauff (45. Haesler), Rohde, Borchmeyer – Wellhausen (63. Yavuz), Reimold

Goals: 1-0 Abu Sabbah (6.), 2-0 Abu Sabbah (17.), 3-0 Moraitou (21.), 4-0 K. Orschmann (31.), 5-0 Abu Sabbah (Pen. 45.)

Attendance: 12,511

The starting XI

Ailien Poese had few surprises up her sleeve for this historic encounter against Hertha BSC, starting the same side who had proved so devastating last weekend against FFV Erfurt.

Mel Wagner was in goal behind a back three of Celine Frank, Marie Becker and Katja Orschmann, themselves flanked by the wing-backs Naika Reissner on the left and Fatma Sakar on the right.

Athanasia Moraitou was holding the midfield alongside Anouk Blaschka, in a tactical switch allowing Lisa Heiseler to go further forward, fresh after scoring her 100th senior goal for the club, joining Sarah Abu Sabbah up front with Dina Orschmann to her left.

Abu Sabbah bags a hattrick. Katja Orschmann and Moraitou join in with a goal apiece.

On a huge day for women’s football in the capital, in front of over 12,000 people, Union started off on the front foot, Moraitou’s corner in the 2nd minute leading to chaos in the Hertha box, Frank getting the ball goalwards, but seeing it pinballing away in the crowd on the line and away to safety.

With Hertha’s first foray forwards, Marie Becker then did well to shepherd Elfie Wellhausen away from danger on Union’s left. She was titanic at the back, and did even better after 10 minutes, getting across after Wellhausen suddenly broke and started to drift her run inside towards goal, Union’s lynchpin covering miles as she got back in time to time her tackle perfectly. With the half almost up, she turned inside Marleen Rohde with the deftest, coolest of touches.

Union weren’t to be halted. With five minutes played, Abu Sabbah cut inside from the right, rolling the ball onto her left foot, hitting it artfully towards the top corner, across Emma Reimann. Though the keeper got a finger to it, her shot was too well placed to be stopped.

They were sure they’d doubled their lead within minutes, but Dina Orschmann’s strike was ruled offside. Abu Sabbah would then blaze one just over with 12 minutes played.

It was 2-0 after 16 minutes, when Heiseler managed to find Abu Sabbah who lifted the ball over the despairing Reimann’s dive. Union were now dominant. Sakar’s deep cross volleyed just wide of the back post by Dina Orschmann. She gave a thumbs up to her wing-back.

Union would make it three within moments, though, after Abu Sabbah was brought down with a crash out on the right by Mare Pranke. Moraitou hit her free kick deep with her left, swinging it dangerously in towards the back post. The ball dropped as if in slow motion, kissing the post as it went in. The Greek international roared into the glorious sunshine, her voice joining that of the thousands of Unioner packing the stands.

The hosts moved the ball with purpose and intent. One move started by Katja Orschmann went via Heiseler who burst towards the box, drawing a good stop from Reimann; another came from the superb Becker who went straight up the middle via Heiseler, again, to Abu Sabbah, before the striker was nudged cleverly away from goal by Clara Dreher. It was Dreher who stopped Abu Sabbah in her tracks after exactly half an hour with another fine tackle.

But the resulting corner only led to another goal, this time as Katja Orschmann popped up at the back post to finish unfussily.

It wasn’t without bite though. This was a derby after all, reflected in the stands and on the pitch; Dina Orschmann caught Elina Frieauff as she won the ball, as Pranke then left Sakar in a heap, holding her ribs in pain. The Hertha bench were up in arms when Freiauff was then called for a free kick on Moraitou as Hertha were still trying manfully to catch Union on the break

But the flashes of magic from the hosts were also there to be seen, Dina Orschmann’s bicycle kick with only four minutes to play of the half was technically brilliant, balanced and deserved more than the ball flashing just wide of the back post.

Union weren’t finished. It’s not their style, and Poese has forged a relentless drive within her side, a refusal to sit on their laurels. Dreher caught Abu Sabbah with 45 minutes already played, conceding a penalty and a yellow card to boot. Union’s top scorer took the spot kick herself, putting it to Reimann’s right, sending the keeper the other way. It was a resounding last kick of the half. Union were five up at the break.

A goalless second half sees Hertha resolute in the face of Union’s attack

While Union were unchanged for the second half, Hertha made two, themselves, with Freiauff replaced by Aurelia Haesler, and the former Unioner, Anouk Westphal, coming off for Lilli Genthe. But almost immediately Union were on the charge again, Moraitou with a mazy run through the box, Reimann having already had to come out and volley a dangerous ball clear.

They were enjoying themselves on this finest of stages. One beautiful move saw Moraitou - at her best, pulling the strings from the base of midfield, her socks down to her ankles, her left foot a constant threat - find Abu Sabbah, who laid the ball up for Dina Orschmann with a glorious flick of her heel.

Reimann did well to lunge at Abu Sabbah’ feet ten minutes in as Union’s Jordanian international was about to pull the trigger. Blaschke hit the bar with a chipped shot from the edge of the box following Dina Orschmanns short pass; as it took a fine, reflex stop from Reimann to deny Heisler as she shot to the Hertha keeper’s left.

Hertha, to their great credit, refused to fold, Mel Wagner being forced into a diving stop to her right before Svenja Poock hit the right hand upright with her firm header following the resulting corner.

Poese made two changes after that, bringing on Zita Rurack and Luca Scheel for Sakar and Blaschka. They were joined on the bench shortly after by Marie Becker, off in a like-for-like swap with Charleen Niesler. Niesler immediately was in the action, timing her sliding challenge on the substitute, Aurelia Haesler, immaculately. She would rob Senanur Yavuz with 20 minutes to play. And it was Niesler’s lovely ball that Abu Sabbah headed home that the Union fans were convinced was their sixth, until the linesman’s flag went up for an offside.

Abu Sabbah smiled ruefully. She is rarely unsure of herself, and her finish was a fine one, but it was her last touch of the game, replaced alongside the captain, Heiseler, with ten minutes to play by Lisa Görsdorf and Elisa Schindler.

Union pushed on, but Hertha were resolute in their defence, cheered endlessly on by their fans who never stopped singing, despite the result. Reimann stopped Moraitou’s lob from distance, as well as Scheel’s drive from the edge of the box. Dina Orschmann saw her shot go just wide after another of Reissner’s wonderful, tricky dribbles. She could have shot, but is the most unselfish of wingers, and regretted the chance missed as much as if she’d taken it on herself, and it was she who tracked back to tackle Yavuz with only minutes to play as Hertha threatened to break through midfield.

At the final whistle they celebrated as one, taking a deserved lap of honour. But it wasn’t just the triumphant Union players, but those of Hertha too, both sides revelling in the adoration of their fans on this wonderful occasion.

Following the game, Sarah Abu Sabbah summed things up thus. “The atmosphere was incredible and gave us a huge boost. I was delighted to score three goals today.” But she was careful to retain her focus on the challenges ahead.  “We have to keep looking after ourselves and focus on the next few games.”

She was, of course, correct on both counts. But for now, it was a derby of which both sides could be infinitely proud.