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Union Berlin set to make Bundesliga history after appointing first-ever female assistant coach

BERLIN — Champions League club Union Berlin on Wednesday parted ways with coach Urs Fischer following a nine-game losing run in the Bundesliga that has left them in last place and appointed the first woman as assistant coach in Bundesliga history.

They appointed youth coach Marco Grote as the interim coach with Marie-Louise Eta as his assistant, making the 32-year-old the first female coach at a Bundesliga club.

Eta is a former professional player and Champions League winner who retired in 2018 and who played most of her career under her maiden name of Bagehorn.

She had previously been coaching youth teams, including Union's Under-19s after joining earlier in the year 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. Union finished fourth last season to earn their first ever Champions League group stage spot.

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

Fischer had taken over in 2018 and led them to their first ever Bundesliga promotion the following year.

Under the 57-year-old Swiss, the team qualified for European competitions in all 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. Together, we have now come to the conclusion that the time has come to take a different path," Zingler said.

Union have lost three of their four Champions League group matches while their most recent Bundesliga win this season was on Aug. 26.

"The last few weeks have cost a lot of strength,” said Fischer. "We've tried a lot, and the team has put in a lot of effort, but it hasn't paid off in terms of results."

"Nevertheless, it feels right to make a change now. Sometimes a different face, a different way of addressing a team helps to spark a development," he said.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Robert Birsel and Christian Radnedge)

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