By Megan Feringa | Mirror
Union Berlin are familiar with making history, so while Urs Fischer’s departure as a head coach might mark the end to the club’s most successful chapter in its history, it simultaneously brings forth a new chapter of history to write.
The club’s former under-19s assistant coach Marie-Louise Eta is poised to become the first female coach in the Bundesliga after being appointed first team assistant coach with under-19s coach Marco Grote taking over as interim manager of the senior side.
Fischer was dismissed following a nine-game losing streak that leaves Union rooted to the bottom of Germany’s top-flight, a stark collapse in position for a side that qualified for the Champions League last season.
Eta, 32, will be tasked alongside Grote to lead Union out of those depths starting with Augsburg on November 25, before taking on the Champions League against Braga the following week.
Eta is more than familiar with the joys and woes of life in German football. A former defensive midfielder, Louise-Eta plied her trade in the Frauen Bundesliga with Turbine Potsdam with whom she claimed three successive league titles and the Women’s Champions League.
Her playing history, conducted mostly under her maiden name of Bagehorn, also includes spells with Hamburg, Cloppenburg and Werder Bremen and saw her become an under-20 world champion with Germany.
A self-confessed “football manic”, the former European champion developed her passion for football as a small child while growing up in Dresden. Her latent talent went undiscovered for only so long, and by the age of 13, Eta was fielding various entreaties from interested clubs, including Potsdam, with whom she eventually signed.
Eta didn’t need long to prove how prescient the signing was as she helped the club’s under-17s to successive league titles in 2005 and 2006, and eventually again in 2008. Her impressive performances were rewarded with a call-up to Germany’s under-15s side in 2006.
Two years later, Eta broke into Potsdam’s first team, with whom she promptly won the league on the season’s final matchday. Two more championship titles followed, as well as the Champions League title in 2010 as the German side defeated French giants Lyon in a dramatic penalty shootout that finished 7-6.
That same year, the under-20s World Cup was held in Germany and 20-year-old Eta relished the euphoria of a tournament on home soil. The hosts eventually won after a 2-0 victory over Nigeria in the final in front of a crowd just under 25,000, with goals arriving from Alexandra Popp and an own goal from Osinachi Ohale.
Marie-Louise Eta is presented with the Bundesliga 2 championship trophy during her time at Bremen (
Image: Photo by Lukas Schulze/Bongarts/Getty Images)
Eta eventually moved to Hamburg for two seasons before gaining promotion to the women’s Bundesiga with second-division club BV Cloppenburg. A move to Werder Bremen followed, where Eta, who eventually captained the side, experienced an extreme gamut of emotions, from promotions and relegations.
Aged just 26, however, Eta decided to end her playing career after the 2017/18 season in order to concentrate fully on her coaching career, beginning with Bremen’s under-15s boys team. While doing so, Eta worked with the age groups of the German women’s national team.
After completing her pro-coaching licence, Eta stepped up to Germany’s under-17s before being brought onboard at Union to work with Grote as assistant coach with the club’s under-19s side.