Soccer

Jesse Marsch out at RB Leipzig: American coach sacked during underwhelming first season

American coach Jesse Marsch has parted ways with RB Leipzig, the Bundesliga side confirmed Sunday. A run of three straight league defeats proved to be too much for the Leipzig hierarchy to continue to back Marsch, who had taken the vacant head coaching post in the summer after Julian Nagelsmann’s move to Bayern Munich. Highly regarded within the Red Bull system, the 48-year-old had previously coached New York Red Bulls and Red Bull Salzburg before moving up to the top job in the club group.

However, Marsch departs with Leipzig 11th in the Bundesliga after six wins and five defeats with the club also needing to beat Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday (live on Paramount+) just to be certain of Europa League qualification. Marsch’s assistant Achim Beierlorzer will be in the Red Bull Arena dugout for that match with a permanent successor to be announced “in the near future”.

“It was not easy for us to part company with Jesse Marsch, because I hold Jesse in high regard as a person and as a coach,” said Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff. “It is a shame that things did not work out as we had hoped with this setup, and that this step has now become necessary. Unfortunately, the development we were hoping for and the results needed to achieve our goals for the season have not been achieved.

“We are currently running short of our own expectations and with this decision we want to create a new impulse. Regardless of this, however, I also see our players as having a duty and I expect our team, which is very strong in sporting terms, to show its potential and quality on the pitch more consistently than it has done recently.”

Marsch may feel that the Leipzig job came at the wrong moment for him after great success in his previous managerial roles. Nagelsmann and star central defender Dayot Upamecano left for Bayern at the start of the summer whilst the Bundesliga champions snared midfielder Marcel Sabitzer on deadline day in August. Whilst significant sums were invested in the likes of Andre Silva, Mohamed Simakan and Ilaix Moriba it seemed inevitable that some drop off would come from a side that finished second in Germany last season.

Marsch, a Wisconsin native, might also point to underlying metrics that suggested cause for optimism at Leipzig, who had the Bundesliga’s second most expected goals even if the picture was not so rosy at the other end. There were impressive results too, most notably a 2-1 win over Borussia Dortmund last month and a 4-0 thrashing of Stuttgart early in the season.

Ultimately a five-point gap to fourth place and Champions League qualification compelled Mintzlaff to act. Marsch said: “Up until the very end, I remained hopeful that after a troubled start to the season and inconsistent performances, we would find more cohesion and stability as a group and turn our fortunes around. 

“Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to do that – after a discussion with Oliver Mintzlaff, we came to the joint decision to make a change in the coaching position.”


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