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Marie-Louise Eta, Union Berlin assistant coach

Union Berlin have become the first club in Bundesliga history to appoint a woman as assistant coach after the sacking of Urs Fischer as manager.

Fischer lost his job after a nine-game losing run that has rooted Union to the bottom of Germany’s top flight, some collapse for a side that finished fourth last season and subsequently qualified for the Champions League.

The youth coach Marco Grote has been appointed as the interim manager with Marie-Louise Eta making history by becoming his assistant.

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Eta played in the Frauen Bundesliga with Turbine Potsdam, where she won the league three times in succession and the Women’s Champions League. She retired in 2018 having also represented Hamburg, Cloppenburg and Werder Bremen.

The 32-year-old, who conducted most of her playing career under her maiden name of Bagehorn, had previously been coaching youth teams, including Union’s Under-19s, and is set to become the first woman coach to appear on a men’s Bundesliga bench when she and Grote lead Union against Augsburg on Saturday.

“FC Union Berlin and their head coach Urs Fischer are going their separate ways with immediate effect,” read a club statement. “The joint decision was taken by Union president Dirk Zingler and Fischer in person during a meeting on Monday afternoon.”

Fischer took charge of Union in 2018 and led them to their first Bundesliga promotion the following year. Under the 57-year-old Swiss, the team qualified for European competitions in each of the last three seasons.

“In the five and a half years that we have worked together, we have developed a respect and trust for each other that has enabled us to always exchange ideas openly and honestly,” Zingler said. “Together we have now come to the conclusion that the time has come to take a different path.”

Union have lost three of their four Champions League group matches this season.

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