BERLIN: When Kevin Volland scored a late equalizer for Union Berlin, assistant coach Marie-Louise Eta pushed the team for more.
Eta had already made history on Saturday by becoming the first female assistant coach in the 60-year history of the Bundesliga, as well as in the other top divisions of Europe’s “big five” soccer leagues.
Eta didn’t celebrate the goal for long, but instead encouraged her players to go for the win. There were still five minutes of injury time to play.
Kevin Behrens was blocked, Josip Juranović went close, and in the end, Union had to be content with a point as it climbed off the bottom of the standings.
“An important step in the right direction,” interim coach Marco Grote said.
Grote and Eta were appointed by Union during the international break to replace the popular Urs Fischer and assistant Markus Hoffmann. Union enjoyed unprecedented success with Fischer at the helm, but nine consecutive defeats in the Bundesliga this season forced a painful departure.
Union’s Germany international Robin Gosens said the new coaching team hadn’t changed too much.
“They didn’t want to destroy our work, or Urs Fischer’s work over the last five years,” Gosens said. “On the contrary, they said from the start that Union is what Urs Fischer has built up over the last five years, namely the mentality, giving everything we have for each other on the field. I think we showed that today.”
But Grote and Eta also brought their own ideas, Gosens said.
“What was new were two or three approaches, and two or three new ideas about how we play the spaces and get behind the defense. I think it worked quite well. We found room and good solutions,” Gosens said. “And I think the combination led to a really good game from us today.”
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