Austria

LASK docked points
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LASK Linz loses Austrian league lead for team training

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LINZ, Austria — Austrian league leader LASK Linz has been deducted six points for conducting team training sessions in violation of pandemic restrictions, a decision that could have a big impact on the title race.

The points deduction means LASK slipped from first place to second, three points behind defending champion Salzburg. There are 10 rounds left to play in the Austrian Bundesliga, which is due to resume on June 2.

The Austrian soccer league said Thursday its also fined the club 75,000 euros ($83,000) for breaking “the basic idea of fair play.”

[ MORE: German Bundesliga Week 29 predictions, preview ]

LASK said it will appeal the verdict.

The proceedings against LASK were started on May 14, when videos were shown to the league of the team training together instead of in small groups as permitted.

The club later acknowledged it held four team training sessions. Both LASK coach Valérien Ismaël and vice-president Jürgen Werner apologized during a press conference.

LASK has 14 days to lodge its appeal.

Report: Chelsea in pursuit of Bayern Munich’s David Alaba

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A new, natural left-back may be on his way to Stamford Bridge this winter.

Chelsea are weighing in on placing a $78-million (£60 million) bid for Bayern Munich’s David Alaba, according to a report.

Longtime left-back favorite, Marcos Alonso, has fallen in Frank Lampard‘s pecking order, making just eight Premier League appearances this season. As a result, the 41-year-old has recently instead shifted captain Cesar Azpilicueta from his natural right-back position to the left side.

20-year-old Reece James now features as the Blues’ right-back, a glaring indicator that Lampard isn’t sold on either Alonso or 25-year-old Emerson Palmieri.

Alaba, 27, has a contract with the German giants until the summer of 2021, meaning that the transfer price is not coming at a reduced price.

Debuting for Bayern’s first team in 2010, Alaba has since made 250 Bundesliga appearances, scoring 22 goals and jotting 25 assists. This season, he’s featured 17 times for the champions throughout all competitions.

At the age of 17, Alaba earned his first cap with Austria; since then, he’s registered a total of 72 caps.

The Blues are free to engage in the transfer market after their appeal on a two-window transfer ban was ratified by the Court of Arbitration for Sport in early December.

Marsch: ‘We will be proud eventually’ after loss to Liverpool

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It stings right now, but Red Bull Salzburg and its American coach can be proud of its UEFA Champions League group stage effort this season.

Jesse Marsch’s men couldn’t make some early chances work and Liverpool came to life in the second half of a 2-0 win on Tuesday in Austria, a win which pushed the reigning UCL champions into the knockout rounds and sent Salzburg into the Europa League.

[ RECAP: Salzburg 0-2 Liverpool ]

His Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp offered lots of praise for Salzburg, and the Austrian club’s first half performance was good enough to threaten a lead.

Marsch was asked whether he was proud or disappointed.

“It is a bit of both,” he told ProSoccerUSA’s Manuel Veth, via Twitter. “We had that moment with Hwang and Haland and normally that is a goal. … We are disappointed but will be proud eventually.”

Marsch admitted that Haland was playing injured, and that substituting him late was a tough decision.

The American said that Salzburg can win the Europa League, so the team won’t be dropping its heads despite its lack of place in the UCL Round of 16.

Marsch has certainly exceeded expectations in his maiden voyage as Salzburg boss, drawing Napoli and twice beating Genk while providing plenty of worry to Liverpool in two losses.

He also proffered this gem below:

UCL AT HALF: Marsch’s Salzburg rolling; Champions holding firm; Chelsea’s Mount hurt

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We’ve got news after 45 minutes of six more UCL matches, including a big injury at Stamford Bridge and a monumental start for an American in Austria.

[ UCL: Scores, lineups, stats, box scores ]

Chelsea 0-0 Valencia

No goals to report here, but early season hero Mason Mount has left the match with an injury for the Blues. He was not replaced by Christian Pulisic, rather Pedro.

Liverpool 0-0 Napoli

It’s been a pretty even affair, though Liverpool can thank Adrian for a pair of great saves on Dries Mertens before Hirving “Chucky” Lozano’s goal was ruled offside.

Red Bull Salzburg 5-1 Genk

Jesse Marsch is now officially the first American man to manage a team in a UEFA Champions League game.

The Red Bull Salzburg boss is also the first to hold a second minute lead, as red hot striker Erling Braut Haaland scored his 15th, 16th, and 17th goals in nine matches under Marsch.

Haaland also five assists on the season, having entered Tuesday’s match with 658 minutes across all competitions.

Haaland is the son of former Leeds, Man City, and Nottingham Forest manager Alf-Inge Haland.

Hwang-Hee Chan has Salzburg’s other goal, and two assists.

Elsewhere

Inter Milan 1-1 Slavia Prague — RECAP
Lyon 1-1 Zenit Saint-Petersburg
Borussia Dortmund 0-0 Barcelona
Ajax 1-0 Lille
Benfica 0-0 RB Leipzig

So far, so great for American coach Marsch with Red Bull Salzburg

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The American manager has had an interesting ride in recent seasons. Bob Bradley got short-shrift at Swansea City and is bossing MLS with LAFC. Gregg Berhalter serially overachieved at Columbus and is now taking his lumps with the USMNT.

There’s something to be said about David Wagner at Huddersfield Town and Schalke, but the former USMNT striker’s background is almost exclusively German (there’s nothing wrong with that, but it makes for a lousy case study).

So we’ve made a note to keep an eye on Jesse Marsch’s early season as the ex-New York Red Bulls coach takes the reigns at Red Bull Salzburg.

After all, the perennial Austrian contenders sold five players with eight-figure price tags, including Israel’s Munas Dabbur and a quartet of Germany-bound players.

Marsch did not leave the U.S. as a player or coach, aside from international duty and one year with Montreal, until he left RBNY for an assistant’s job with RB Leipzig last season with a view to this gig.

The Austrian league sits just below the Netherlands in UEFA coefficient, and Salzburg is a rich club in the league but the situation was far from a, “Hey kid, here are the keys. Don’t drive into a lake.”

So far, so great.

Salzburg is 6-0 to start the league campaign, and has scored 27 goals while conceding just four.

He’s been helped by 19-year-old Molde transfer Erling Braut Haaland, who has scored a remarkable 11 goals with three assists in seven games. Haaland made his Norwegian national team debut on Thursday.

Marsch will manage against Genk, Liverpool, and Napoli in the UEFA Champions League this season and, at 45, could be on the pathway to an even bigger gig.