Marco Rose appointed as RB Leipzig head coach | DW | 08.09.2022

Four months after leading RB Leipzig to their first major trophy in the German Cup final, Domenico Tedesco has paid the price for the Red Bull-backed team’s dreadful start to the season.

Rose signed a contract until 2024 and will face former club Borussia Dortmund, who he parted ways with in May after just one season in charge, in his first game in charge of Leipzig on Saturday.

“RB Leipzig have parted company with Domenico Tedesco with immediate effect,” read a statement posted on the club’s Twitter account on Wednesday morning. “Assistant coaches Andreas Hinkel and Max Urwantschky have also left the club. RB Leipzig will announce his successor in due course.”

Tedesco, who led Schalke to a second-placed Bundesliga finish and the Champions League in his previous stint in Germany, took over from Jesse Marsch in December and took Leipzig from 11th back to the top four and the German Cup win.

But a record of one win from five to start the Bundesliga season and successive heavy defeats against Eintracht Frankfurt away at the weekend (4-0) and Shakhtar Donetsk at home (4-1) in their Champions League opener on Tuesday have seen the club take action.

“After our mediocre start to the Bundesliga season with five points from five games, along with the recent defeats to Eintracht and Shakhtar, we believe that a change of management is the right course of action to turn things round quickly,” RB Leipzig CEO Oliver Mintzlaff said.

Marsch and Tedesco gone quickly

Tedesco led the team for just over nine months, which was longer than Marsch, who took over when Julian Nagelsmann joined Bayern Munich at the end of the 2020-21 season. The rapid failure of successive coaches begs questions of the controversial footballing identity that RB have built.

After rising up the leagues thanks to their association with the Red Bull group and sidestepping of the 50+1 ownership rule by which German clubs must abide, RB have long been deeply unpopular in German football circles. Their relationship with other Red Bull-owned teams such as RB Salzburg, and the constant transfer flow between those teams, has also been controversial.

But in purely sporting terms, the project has been a success. The framework of hard pressing teams that offered young players like Timo Werner, Naby Keita and Dayot Upamecano a stepping stone on to the biggest clubs in Europe has seen the club become regulars at the top end of the Bundesliga and in European football.

Tough start for replacement

That looked in doubt after Marsch’s departure but Tedesco, a rare appointment from outside the Red Bull group, appeared to have steadied the ship.

“We had a very successful second half of last season under his tenure and we qualified for the Champions League. Under his leadership, we also won the DFB-Pokal (German Cup), our first major title, and he was part of the most successful season in our young club’s history,” said Mintzlaff. 

But it was not enough for Tedesco to be given more time. With RB’s best players often leaving before they reach their peak, coaching a side with such high expectations can be tricky, as Marsch and Tedesco have found out. Christopher Nkunku, the Bundesliga player of the year, is likely to be the next to leave, though the arrival at the end of the season of Red Bull Salzburg’s Benjamin Sesko points to the positives of the job.

Tedesco, for his part, will rue another failure to build on a successful first campaign. The 36-year-old was sacked in March of his second season at Schalke after a run of seven winless games and a 7-0 defeat to Manchester City in the Champions League. 

Whoever replaces him couldn’t have wished for a much tougher start: RB host Borussia Dortmund on Saturday before a trip to European champions Real Madrid on Wednesday.

Edited by: Jonathan Crane

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