News of Urs Fischer’s departure as head coach at Union Berlin marked the end of the most successful chapter in the club’s history, but history will be made again at the Stadion an der Alten Försterei with Marie-Louise Eta set to become the first female coach in the Bundesliga.
Eta will be the assistant to Marco Grote after he was named in interim charge of the first team until further notice. The pair previously oversaw Union’s U19s together, after Eta joined the staff there in summer 2023, including the team’s four UEFA Youth League fixtures so far this season.
The 32-year-old Dresden native is a former player, winning the U17 Bundesliga with Turbine Potsdam in 2005, 2006 and 2008 before stepping up to the senior Bundesliga team in 2008/09. Eta was part of the team that won the UEFA Women’s Champions League in 2010 and three straight Bundesliga crowns. She would go on to play for Hamburg, Cloppenburg and Werder Bremen before retiring in 2018 at the age of 26.
The defensive midfielder, who played most of her career under her maiden name of Bagehorn before marrying former player and coach Benjamin Eta in 2014, also represented Germany up to U23 level and won the U20 World Cup before later working under Bettina Wiegmann as assistant for the country’s women’s U15 side, having started her coaching career with Bremen’s U15 boys’ team.
Having completed her pro coaching licence at the German FA academy in Frankfurt and stepped up to Germany’s U17s, Eta was brought onboard at Union as Grote’s assistant with the men’s U19s.
Eta will now become the first woman coach to appear on a men’s Bundesliga bench when she and Grote oversee Union’s fixture against Augsburg on Saturday, 25 November. Assuming no permanent replacement for Fischer is announced soon, she will also be on the touchline for the UEFA Champions League game away at Braga the following Wednesday and potentially away at Bayern Munich the weekend after.
It isn’t the first time the Bundesliga has broken the grass ceiling for women in football, with Bibiana Steinhaus in 2017/18 becoming the first female referee in one of Europe’s top leagues.
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