Marsch wins Bundesliga’s 1st duel between American coaches

Leipzig’s head coach Jesse Marsch during the German Bundesliga soccer match between RB Leipzig and VfB Stuttgart in Leipzig, Germany, Friday, Aug. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN (AP) — Jesse Marsch won the first Bundesliga duel between teams with American coaches by leading Leipzig to a 4-0 win over Pellegrino Matarazzo’s Stuttgart on Friday.

As well as giving Marsch temporary bragging rights over his compatriot, the win made amends for Leipzig’s shock 1-0 loss at coronavirus-hit Mainz in the coach’s German league debut in the opening round.

“It was a super reaction after our defeat last week in Mainz,” Marsch said in German. “From the beginning, we were clear, precise and good. We wanted to be very intensive, very aggressive against the ball, with the ball. It was really a great performance from us.”

Marsch’s team had been threatening more than Matarazzo’s and it was no surprise when Dominik Szoboszlai finally made the breakthrough in the 38th minute. The Hungarian forward let fly from a difficult angle inside the far post for his first Bundesliga goal. Szoboszlai had arrived at Leipzig in January but missed half a season due to injury. The 20-year-old Szoboszlai scored on his debut in the German Cup this month.

Emil Forsberg made it 2-0 seconds after the interval when André Silva laid the ball off with his heel for the Sweden midfielder to finish past Florian Müller in the Stuttgart goal.

Szoboszlai’s low free kick – intended as a cross – flew inside the far post in the 52nd, and Silva sealed the result with a penalty in the 65th for his first Leipzig goal.

The penalty was awarded despite the ball coming off Marc Oliver Kempf’s body before it hit his arm, but there was no correction from the video referee.

“It wasn’t the deciding factor,” said Matarazzo, whose team routed promoted Greuther Fürth 5-1 in the opening round. “We were shown our limits today. Leipzig were simply the better team in every aspect.”

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