Coach Jesse Marsh on Bundesliga Debut as RB Leipzig Upset over Covid-Hit Mains

American Jesse Marsh lost his first Bundesliga game as head coach of RB Leipzig on Sunday after his side suffered a 1-0 loss in Mainz, whose preparations were badly hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. After winning consecutive Austrian league and cup titles with RB Salzburg, Marsh moved this season to his sister club, now based at Bayern Munich, to replace Julian Nagelsmann. There was a minute’s silence before kick-off to pay respects to German legend Gerd Müller, who was killed in the early hours of Sunday. The hosts took an early lead when captain Moussa Niyakhate hit the ball into Leipzig’s goal on the 13th minute.

It was a remarkable performance from Mainz, in preparation for which 11 players were isolated as striker Karim Onisivo was one of three squad members to test positive for the coronavirus.

Head coach Bo Svensson had to reshuffle his starting squad, but his side turned in a determined performance in sweltering temperatures.

“We didn’t start well and the opening goal hurt us, it was an ideal position for Mainz who could defend deeper and deeper,” Marsh told broadcaster DAZN.

“He defended well – you have to say – and we didn’t get enough space with the ball. We didn’t have enough pace and we didn’t build enough.”

Much is expected from last season’s runners-up Leipzig, which will host champions Bayern on 11 September.

“We had a good pre-season and the game didn’t go in the direction we wanted, but for me, nothing has changed. It’s a good reminder that we have more work to do,” Marsh insisted.

It turned into a disappointing afternoon for Leipzig’s attack, led by Swedish playwright Emil Forsberg, which could not break the hosts’ defence.

“He was much less than us,” Forsberg said.

“We didn’t press them enough. We didn’t find enough solutions to sabotage their defense. Today it wasn’t good enough.

We have to do better against Stuttgart (at home) on Friday.

Leipzig’s new striker Andre Silva, who was reportedly signed for 23 million euros ($27 million) from Eintracht Frankfurt, has been repeatedly denied by Mainz goalkeeper Robin Zentner.

Mainz thought he had doubled his lead of late when defender Alexander Haack hit a home shot from a corner, but replays showed the ball was dead behind the first Leipzig goal.

At the other end, Leipzig defender Nordi Mukiel had a shot blocked by Hack.

Bayern were held to a 1-1 draw at Borussia Moenchengladbach on Friday.

Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland took part in all the goals for the hosts as they beat Frankfurt 5-2 on Saturday.

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