Marsch loses Bundesliga debut as Leipzig stumble

Berlin (AFP) – American Jesse Marsch lost his first Bundesliga game as head coach of RB Leipzig on Sunday after his side suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat at Mainz, whose preparations had been badly hit by an outbreak of Covid-19.

After winning back-to-back Austrian league and cup titles with Red Bull Salzburg, Marsch moved to their sister club RB Leipzig this season to replace Julian Nagelsmann, who is now at Bayern Munich.

There was a minute’s silence before kick-off to pay respect to German legend Gerd Mueller who died in the early hours of Sunday.

Mainz deservedly took an early lead when home captain Moussa Niakhate hooked the ball into Leipzig’s goal on 13 minutes.

It was a remarkable display from Mainz whose preparations were disrupted by having 11 players quarantined as striker Karim Onisiwo was one of three squad members to test positive for Covid-19.

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

Much is expected this season of last season’s runners-up Leipzig, who host Bayern in the Bundesliga on September 11.

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

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

Mainz thought they had doubled their lead late on when defender Alexander Hack smashed home a shot from a corner, but replays showed the ball had previously gone dead behind the Leipzig goal.

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

On Friday, defending champions Bayern were held to a 1-1 draw at Moenchengladbach.

Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Braut Haaland then played a part in all the hosts’ goals in a 5-2 thrashing of Frankfurt on Saturday.

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