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.
[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]
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.
Premier League sides learned their fate in the UEFA Europa League, and not one of them were handed an easy path to the Round of 16.
Manchester United drew Club Brugge, who transferred from the Champions League after a third place finish. The sides met in UCL qualifying back in 2015, the Red Devils cruising past the Belgians.
[ MORE: Champions League draw ]
Arsenal tangles with stingy Greek side Olympiacos, having met in four Champions League group stages between 2009-15.
Wolves draw a side its never faced: La Liga mainstay Espanyol.
The notable matches don’t stop there.
American coach Jesse Marsch will lead Red Bull Salzburg against the Bundesliga’s Eintracht Frankfurt.
Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers both learned their fates, the Bhoys will meet Danish powers Copenhagen and Steven Gerrard‘s Rangers clash with Braga.
The Round of 32 matches will be staged Feb. 20 and 27.
Europa League Round of 32
Wolves v. Espanyol
Sporting Lisbon v. Istanbul Basaksehir
Getafe v. Ajax
Bayer Leverkusen v. Porto
Copenhagen v. Celtic
APOEL Nicosia v. Basel
CFR Cluj v. Sevilla
Olympiacos v. Arsenal
AZ Alkmaar v. LASK
Club Brugge v. Manchester United
Ludogorets Razgrad v. Inter Milan
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Red Bull Salzburg
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Benfica
Wolfsburg v. Malmo
Roma v. Gent
Rangers v. Braga
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:
An American manager and his Austrian club stand between Liverpool and its defense of the UEFA Champions League crown.
Red Bull Salzburg can advance to the knockout rounds with a defeat of Liverpool in Austria on Dec. 10, one that doesn’t come with three or more goals from the Reds.
[ RECAPS: Liverpool-Napoli | Valencia-Chelsea ]
That’s because they smashed Genk 4-1 in Belgium on Wednesday. They now have 16 goals in five group stage matches, eight coming courtesy of 19-year-old Erling Braut Haland. The player is now the first teenager to score eight goals in a group stage.
Here’s Marsch, via Sky Sports Austria:
“It was perhaps our best performance of the season so far. It was clear from the beginning that we were the better team. I’m proud of the guys. Against the ball it was difficult for Genk. An important goal for us is more stability and today was a big step in the right direction.”
A place in the knockout rounds for Salzburg would be magnificent, and for Marsch to author it would be a banner American fans would be thrilled to wave in celebration.
The ex-New York Red Bulls coach is now 17W-4D-2L as Salzburg boss, the only losses coming against Napoli and Liverpool. He’s unbeaten in league play, and targeting these moments as milemarkers.
“This team needs big games. This is important for the development of the talent in this squad. We are hungry, every day. That’s a big part of our success.”
Both Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur secured a berth in the Champions League knockout stage yesterday, and now the Premier League looks to Chelsea and Liverpool to do the same.
[ LIVE: Champions League scores ]
Chelsea has an early 12:55 p.m. ET kick as they head to Spain, an absolutely vital match as Chelsea sits level on seven points with both today’s opponent Valencia and group leaders Ajax. While they cannot officially secure advancement today, victory at Mestalla Stadium would be a massive step towards doing so, leaving them at the brink of qualification.
Christian Pulisic starts again for the Blues with N’Golo Kante and Tammy Abraham also in the lineup as Frank Lampard looks to secure a significant advantage over a clogged Group H crowd.
Liverpool is home against Napoli where victory would indeed clinch a spot in the knockout stage. A draw would also do the trick should Jesse Marsch’s Red Bull Salzburg fail to win on the road in Belgium. The Reds suffered a 2-0 loss in Italy back in mid-September and will look for revenge against a Carlo Ancelotti side in slight turmoil, having failed to win any of its last six matches across all competition.
Elsewhere, Barcelona can also clinch a knockout round spot with victory at the Nou Camp against Borussia Dortmund. Marco Reus is back from injury for Dortmund, but Paco Alcacer is not with the squad to face his former club after suffering a gash to his knee. These two teams played to a 0-0 draw back in mid-September but the German side will know that a draw here could leave them vulnerable in Group F with Inter hot on their trail with a visit to Slavia Prague.
Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League schedule
Liverpool v. Napoli
Racing Genk v. Red Bull Salzburg
Barcelona v. Borussia Dortmund
Slavia Prague v. Inter Milan
Zenit St. Petersburg v. Olympique Lyonnais (12:55 p.m. ET)
RB Leipzig v. Benfica
Valencia v. Chelsea (12:55 p.m. ET)
Lille v. Ajax