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Marie-Louise Eta makes history by becoming first woman to take charge of a men’s team in Bundesliga game

By Ben Church, CNN

(CNN) — Marie-Louise Eta made history on Sunday after becoming the first woman to take charge of a men’s team in a Bundesliga fixture.

The 32-year-old was named Union Berlin’s assistant coach earlier in the season but filled in for usual head coach Nenad Bjelica, who is currently serving a three-game ban.

Eta’s first match in charge ended with a 1-0 victory against Darmstadt, with Benedict Hollerbach’s first-half strike the difference between the two sides.

“We’re delighted that we were able to put in such a good performance today. We did what we set out to do on the pitch,” Eta said after the match.

Before embarking on her coaching journey, Eta enjoyed a successful playing career. After breaking into professional soccer at just 17, she went on to win the UEFA Women’s Champions League with Turbine Potsdam in 2010.

She also helped the club win three consecutive Bundesliga titles between 2009 and 2011.

According to, Eta retired at just 26 before stepping into coaching – she took charge of Germany’s youth teams before joining Union Berlin in 2023.

“It doesn’t make me proud because I’m the only woman. As a person, I am happy that I can do this job,” she said in 2018, per

“I don’t see any difference whether a man or a woman works in youth football. The quality of the coach on and off the pitch is crucial.”

Head coach banned

Union Berlin’s head coach Bjelica is serving a three-game ban after being sent off for pushing an opposition player in the face last week.

The incident occurred in the 74th minute of Union’s 1-0 defeat against Bayern Munich.

Bayern’s Leroy Sané went to retrieve the ball after it went out of play, but Bjelica prevented him from doing so, throwing it over his shoulder when the forward swiped for it.

Clearly annoyed by Sané’s efforts to grab the ball, Bjelica then pushed the forward in the face as the pair squared up to each other on the sideline.

As players and coaching staff rushed in to separate the pair, Bjelica again put his hand in Sané’s face.

“I reacted and I shouldn’t have done. The red card was absolutely deserved,” Bjelica said after the match.

In addition to his touchline ban, Bjelica was fined 25,000 euros ($27,040) for his actions by the German Football Association.

Bjelica will be missing for Union Berlin’s next two matches against RB Leipzig and Mainz.

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