The weekend was a bit reminiscent of a Seeed song – at least from the point of view of 1. FC Union. Inside there is talk of the “Big B up on the Spree” and how big this B is is proven twice by the football club.
Once against B as in Bayern Munich, against whom the men in the Bundesliga drew on Saturday. And then again against B like Babelsberg, against whom the soccer players in the regional league won a comfortable 2-0 on Sunday. In sunshine, blue skies and 23 degrees, the Unioners achieved their first home win of the season in front of more than 200 spectators.
Even before kick-off, a number of fans were cavorting in front of the snack bar, where sausages, beer and soft drinks were being sold for the first time, and the bicycle racks in front of the Fritz-Lesch-Sportpark were also full. That should not only have been due to the explosive nature of the Berlin-Brandenburg derby, but also largely to the club’s new focus on the women’s department.
Due to the growing professionalism, promotion to the second division should succeed this season. Red banners could be seen everywhere and many fans, whose voices still sounded a bit shaky from the previous evening, got in the mood before the game and sang “Iron Ladies” to the tune of Pippi Longstocking. “You could tell before the game that something had changed,” said coach Ailien Poese, who joined this season. “We were pleasantly surprised, the atmosphere was great and you could hear the fans on the pitch.”
Union had no problems living up to their role as favorites against FSV Babelsberg, who have set themselves the goal of staying up in the league. The players put a lot of pressure on right from the start, so that almost the entire first half took place in the opposing half.
Captain Lisa Heiseler scored the first goal with a cross after 17 minutes and Union created many opportunities afterwards, but had problems converting them. After a corner from Heiseler, Elisa Spolaczyk made it 2-0 just before the break.
Goalkeeper Melanie Wagner had little to do up to this point. “I coached a lot from behind so at least I could help a little,” she said.
Especially in the training camp, her team, which had ten newcomers this season, grew together well. “It’s just a community that I haven’t experienced before.” But she also sees room for improvement: “We have to be ice cold in front of the box and take more chances.”
At the end of the second half, Union slacked off a bit so that Wagner had to fend off the first counterattack. However, the victory was never in jeopardy, the hosts clearly dominated the game until the end and were able to celebrate the home win in the end.
Central defender Pauline Gericke was also enthusiastic about the atmosphere. “It just feels good, the atmosphere with the fans is great. You can tell on the pitch that a lot of people are cheering.”
Among the cheering fans was someone who introduced himself as “Olaf, the twelfth woman” – matching the print on his shirt – and has been supporting the Union women for over ten years. He has a season ticket, “but when the first women and men play at the same time, the women always have priority.”
Olaf was particularly pleased that there were more spectators at the game against Babelsberg than there was last season. “When you come here, you think you’re on the wrong sports field. It’s never been like that with snack bars, stadium announcers and ball girls – we don’t know anything like that here.”
The new coach is also a win for the club. “Something better couldn’t have happened to us: a football apprenticeship and then the only female head coach in the whole league.”
Poese herself was satisfied with her team’s performance. “As expected, the opponent was difficult because they were deep and played very well defensively. But we didn’t allow anything.” In training this week, she wants to focus on taking advantage of chances.
The chances are already being played out well, now you have to work on scoring goals. “But that’s the most fun and then we’ll hopefully be successful in Erfurt as well.” Then maybe there will be a big B in Thuringia next weekend.