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Marie-Louise Eta


Matthias Koch / IMAGO

Marie-Louise Eta has made it into the history books of German football. The Dresden-born player, who played as an active player for Turbine Potsdam, HSV, BV Cloppenburg and Werder Bremen, was promoted to assistant coach of 1. FC Union Berlin after parting ways with head coach Urs Fischer, thus creating a novelty in the Bundesliga.

However, it remains to be seen whether the 32-year-old will be on the bench against FC Augsburg on 25 November. Eta will take over on an interim basis together with U19 coach Marco Grote. It cannot be ruled out that Union will find a new head coach in the next ten days, who will bring his own staff with him. Union President Dirk Zingler initially did not want to answer specific questions about this at a press conference on Wednesday.

For Eta, who was born Marie-Louise Bagehorn, the temporary promotion to the pros is a dream come true. She could well imagine many things, she told the »Kicker« in the winter of 2022. » To take over a youth national team at some point, to work as an assistant coach in the men's professional leagues, to coach a women's Bundesliga team, as well as U-17 or U-19 boys," said Eta.

Successful career as a player

In July, Eta joined the Köpenice team and joined the Irons' youth academy. Alongside Grote, she coached the U19s. Prior to that, she was part of the coaching staff of the DFB in various youth teams. She began her coaching career with the men's U15 team of Werder Bremen. For Werder, Eta had played the most games of her career as a player.

At the end of February 2022, she secured a place in the DFB's Pro Licence course. She was the only woman in this course, which Eta successfully completed in April of this year with 15 other graduates – including Hansi Flick's former assistant Danny Röhl and St. Pauli coach Fabian Hürzeler.

Before the aptitude test, she had been under a lot of stress: "I walked around all day with a heart rate of what felt like 300 and put myself under a lot of pressure because of course I wanted to show my best side and there were some challenges. It was an intense day and a nice emotional chaos.« During the DFB training course, Eta had also sat in on Urs Fischer.

Female coaches are rare in the higher leagues

As a player, Eta became U17 European Champion and U20 World Champion. At club level, she won the German championship three times with Turbine Potsdam, and won the Champions League in 2010. She ended her career as a footballer in 2018 at the age of 26 with Werder, and played four years in her adopted home of Bremen.

Eta's husband, Benjamin, is also a football coach – but with less success at the moment. It was only on Monday that the northern regional league club SC Weiche Flensburg 08 parted ways with him after around ten months.

Women in coaching positions are still a rarity in men's football, and this also applies to Germany. In 2018/2019, for example, Imke Wübbenhorst became coach of the fifth-division club BV Cloppenburg – a premiere. In 2020, Wübbenhorst coached Sportfreunde Lotte, she was the second woman after Inka Grings (SV Straelen, 2019/2020) to coach a fourth-division club. In the 2021/2022 season, Wübbenhorst was assistant coach at third-division club Viktoria Köln. She now coaches the women of BSC Young Boys in Switzerland.

In 2018/2019, Sabrina Wittmann became the first female coach of the A-Junioren-Bundesliga, the highest German league for A-Juniors (U19). Since the 2021/2022 season, Wittmann has been head coach of FC Ingolstadt's U19s.