Austrian Bundesliga

Jesse Marsch
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American coach Marsch lauds players after Salzburg wins Austrian Cup

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American coach Jesse Marsch has now managed a team to a silverware on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean following Red Bull Salzburg’s Austrian Cup triumph on Saturday.

Marsch’s men beat Lustenau 5-0 in the Austrian Cup Final, celebrating with a social distance-inspired celebration. Dominik Szoboszlai had a goal and an assist in the win, while Hee-chan Hwang posted two assists.

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The side’s red-hot start to the season dipped upon return from winter break after Salzburg sold a number of stars including Takumi Minamino (Liverpool), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), and Marin Pongracic (Wolfsburg).

Salzburg is back atop the Austrian Bundesliga after rivals LASK Linz lost six points for team training during the coronavirus pandemic.

Marsch, 46, won the 2015 Supporters’ Shield as New York Red Bulls coach, and was a regular trophy collector as a player with DC United and the Chicago Fire.

His Salzburg side impressed in a challenging Champions League group and the LASK punishment gives Marsch a look at the domestic double. There are 10 matches left in the Austrian Bundesliga season, which runs through July 5.

LASK Linz loses Austrian league lead for team training

LASK docked points
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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.”

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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.

Red Bull Salzburg set to play USMNT during January camp

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The United States men’s national team will face Red Bull Salzburg in a scrimmage during January training camp in Qatar.

The fixture is listed on the Salzburg web site.

That means, of course, that Gregg Berhalter will match wits with fellow American boss Jesse Marsch.

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Berhalter announced his roster for the break last week, with 22 MLS-based players joining three others in camp from Jan. 5-25.

Presumably, the Yanks will add a second Qatar-based match.

The camp in Qatar will be followed by a friendly against Costa Rica in California. Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup, and the USMNT begins qualifying in the Hex this Fall.

The Austrian league is on winter break, so Marsch’s men have four friendlies scheduled including the USMNT match. They’ll also face Russia’s Zenit St. Petersburg in Qatar before meeting Poland’s Gornik Zabrze and Austria’s SKU Amstetten in Europe.

Salzburg is yet to lose in league play but holds just a two-point lead over LASK. They have an Austrian Cup quarterfinal on Feb. 9 before meeting LASK on Valentine’s Day and Eintracht Frankfurt on Feb. 20 in the Europa League. That’s a huge ask of a manager.

Haaland’s BVB move sends message in wide-open Bundesliga race

Haland signs with Borussia Dortmund
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Borussia Dortmund announced its capture of star teen striker Erling Braut Haaland on Sunday, saying “our persistence paid off.”

BVB pipped a number of suitors, including Red Bull Salzburg’s partner club RB Leipzig, to land the heralded Norwegian striker.

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The 19-year-old produced an incredible half-season for Jesse Marsch at Salzburg, notching 28 goals and seven assists in 22 matches.

Lest anyone write it off as Austrian Bundesliga success for Haaland, he scored eight times in the Champions League. That includes a goal against Liverpool and three versus Napoli.

He signs a deal with BVB through 2023/24. From BVB.de/en:

“Right from the very start, I knew I wanted to move here. I can’t wait to get started and play in front of over 80,000 fans in the incredible Dortmund atmosphere. I’m so excited.”

This will likely prove at worst a temporary setback for Manchester United and Liverpool, but it’s huge for BVB. They may have a target man befitting a title fight. Leaders RB Leipzig have Timo Werner and Bayern still has Robert Lewandowski, and Haaland can be the next wave. Dortmund is seven points back of the Bundesliga lead in a wide-open title fight.

Haaland has the pedigree, his father 34-times capped for Norway. Alf-Inge Haaland played much of his career in England with Manchester City, Leeds United, and Nottingham Forest.

The move is a shot across the bow of Salzburg, though it fits their philosophy. And according to sporting director Christoph Freund they could not have signed Haaland without an out clause in his deal.

“It is incredible how well Erling developed with us and the kind of outstanding performances he has achieved together with our team,” from Salzburg’s official site. “We are proud to have been able to develop another young player to this level. Without putting an exit clause in his contract, we would not have been able to sign him for FC Red Bull Salzburg in the summer of 2018. We wish Erling all the very best for his future, which I am sure will take him to great places.

Can American coach Marsch overcome the sales of Haaland and Takumi Minamino? He’ll have a month to get his squad ready for a critical and brutal three-match run.

Salzburg is yet to lose in league play but holds just a two-point lead over LASK. They have an Austrian Cup quarterfinal on Feb. 9 before meeting LASK on Valentine’s Day and Eintracht Frankfurt on Feb. 20 in the Europa League. That’s a huge ask of a manager.

It won’t hurt Marsch’s resume too much if it doesn’t go well; His star will only rise if he successfully navigates life without Minamino and Haaland.

Report: Salzburg star Haaland meets with Borussia Dortmund

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Erling Braut Haaland is one of the most promising young names in European football, his career trajectory shooting up, up, up after several dynamite performances in the UEFA Champions League.

The Red Bull Salzburg striker, 19, wasn’t in full fitness when his side was bounced from the UCL by Liverpool on Tuesday, but he’d made his presence felt earlier in the competition.

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Haaland bagged eight of his 28 season goals in the UCL, including three against Napoli and one against the reigning champion Reds.

Now the Leeds-born Norwegian is eyeing up his next step. Having been linked with Manchester United and his dad’s club Leeds, Haaland reportedly flew into Dortmund for a Wednesday meeting with Borussia Dortmund.

Dad, Alf-Inge Haaland, played 22 years between Bryne, Nottingham Forest, Leeds United, Manchester City, and Rosseland.

Now should Haaland find a new home, it seems awfully likely it would work similar to Christian Pulisic‘s move to Chelsea from Dortmund last season; The twice-capped Norway international could sign for BVB (or another club) and head back to Salzburg to star in the Europa League (he’s cup-tied in the UCL).

Plus, Salzburg would love to give coach Jesse Marsch a full year with the star. They’re unbeaten in league play.