Bundesliga: What’s behind Jesse Marsch’s slow start at RB Leipzig? | Sportsman | German football and major international sports news | DW


Cologne 1-1 RB Leipzig RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne
(Modest 57 ‘- Haidara 71’)

A nightmarish week for RB Leipzig is finally over.

After heavy defeats to Bayern Munich last weekend and Manchester City in the Champions League this week, the Red Bulls had at least one point to share with Cologne thanks to Amadou’s equalizer. Haidara, although it could have been worse if Ondrej Duda hadn’t missed a game. goal open for late guests.

Already off to his worst Bundesliga start to the Bundesliga since being promoted in 2016, the thrilling draw against tenacious Billy Goats at least stopped the losing streak, but it does little to ease the pressure on the manager freshman Jesse Marsch.

The American, from the Red Bull machine, still has some way to go to come out of his slump.

But what exactly is wrong with Leipzig? And how does such a talented team only have four points after five league games? DW examines some possible factors.

Tactical reset

When RB Leipzig first arrived in the Bundesliga in the 2016-17 season, they took the league by storm with their high-intensity counter-attacking football, typical of the Red Bull philosophy dictated by the former sporting director Ralf Rangnick. But when it came to competing on multiple fronts, it was one-dimensional and physically unbearable.

Jesse Marsch tried to restore RB Leipzig in a counterattack squad

Under Julian Nagelsmann, RB progressed using a slightly more possession-based, more rounded, more flexible and less predictable game, which led them to a Champions League semi-final in 2020.

With the arrival of Jesse Marsch, a self-proclaimed “businessman” who has held positions in Red Bull franchises in New York and Salzburg, the Leipzig branch is now taking a tactical step back.

Marsch advocates energetic work against the ball, aggressive pressing and quick transitions like RB Leipzig of several years ago, but he doesn’t necessarily have the players at his disposal to do so …

What happened to André Silva?

He was Germany’s unnamed top striker Robert Lewandowski last season, scoring 28 goals in 32 Bundesliga games for Eintracht Frankfurt. But when Andre Silva moved east to RB Leipzig in July, he apparently left his goal shoes behind.

Silva has scored just one goal in seven games for Leipzig this season, the only penalty goal against Stuttgart in the Bundesliga. He has also made three of Leipzig’s five Bundesliga appearances, twice in favor of club veteran Yussuf Poulsen.

Andre Silva shoots a penalty against Stuttgart

Andre Silva’s only goal this season has come from the pitch against Stuttgart

Leipzig were desperate for a forward last season, with Poulsen, Alexander Sorloth and Hwang Hee-Chan not providing enough punch up front, and the club choosing not to make Patrik Schick’s loan permanent. Silva was supposed to be their solution, but now he’s surrounded by different players playing a different game.

No one in the Leipzig squad has been able to replicate what Frankfurt winger Filip Kostic provided for the Portugal international, nor is Silva a striker who likes to run behind on the counter. attack.

If Marsch wants to play RB Leipzig, then he should consider building on the strengths of his key striker.

When will Leipzig have Dani Olmo at his best?

This year’s summer break was short for footballers, but neither was it for Dani Olmo. After impressing in the second half of last season for RB, the Spanish attacking midfielder then represented his country both at Euro 2020 (five appearances) and then at the Tokyo Olympics, winning silver.

Spaniard Dani Olmo kicks the ball during Euro 2020 quarter-final match between Switzerland and Spain

Dani Olmo has had a busy summer with Spain

The 23-year-old was a key creator for Leipzig last season, scoring 12 goals in 46 games. He also appears to be at the heart of Jesse Marsch’s plans this season, playing in the hole behind the forward in all three games since returning to the squad.

But Olmo appears to be late at the moment and has yet to play a full 90 minutes. Marsch didn’t always put his top playmaker in the best positions, often having him take on other duties in midfield instead of getting into a position to play the last ball.

Olmo is one of the best young playmakers in Europe, but Marsch must help him realize his potential.

Big losses in the transfer market

RB Leipzig are no strangers to losing big players – the sale of Naby Keita to Liverpool and Timo Werner to Chelsea, for example – but departures this summer have been particularly crippling.

Most teams would struggle to make up for the loss of a world-class defender, and RB lost two to Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate. As if to rub salt into the wound, former captain Marcel Sabitzer followed Upamecano to Bayern – liaising with former coach Nagelsmann.

Having lost the backbone of a team that came second last season, Marsch has had a tough hand.

Bayern Munich's Dayot Upamecano

Dayot Upamecano was one of RB Leipzig’s big departures this offseason

Poor team planning

It’s not that there will be a lot of sympathy for RB Leipzig’s current fate. The club remain deeply unpopular among supporters of other teams who consider their corporate structures to be breaking the rules to give them an unfair advantage over the rest of the competition.

RB, for example, has access to relatively risk-free transfers from Red Bull’s farm team system and has used those connections 19 times to date.

Which makes the club’s inconsistent planning in recent seasons all the more inexplicable. The decision not to make Patrik Schick’s loan permanent when they knew Werner would be leaving remains odd, while inconsistent new recruit Mohamed Simakan has huge boots to fill in central defense.

Indeed, the fact that Leipzig lost Upamecano, Konate and Sabitzer so easily is also a damning indictment of the prospects offered to the club. After all, it’s not as if the Red Bull-backed team can’t compete financially, having spent over € 460m on new players since being promoted to the Bundesliga in 2016 (and over € 300m). ‘euros in revenue that made up for this, over 100 million euros came just this summer).

While Jesse Marsch has failed to get the most out of his squad so far, the one he inherited is significantly weaker than the one Nagelsmann worked with last season.

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