American Jesse Marsch lost his first Bundesliga game on Sunday as head coach of RB Leipzig after his side suffered a surprise 1-0 defeat in Mainz, whose preparations were hit hard by a Covid outbreak -19.
After winning back-to-back league and Austrian Cup titles with Red Bull Salzburg, Marsch has joined his sister club RB Leipzig this season to replace Julian Nagelsmann, who is now at Bayern Munich.
There was a minute of silence before kick-off to pay tribute to German legend Gerd Mueller, who died in the early hours of Sunday.
Mainz rightly took the lead when home captain Moussa Niakhate inserted the ball into Leipzig’s goal in the 13th minute.
It was a remarkable display from Mainz whose preparations were disrupted by the quarantine of 11 players, with striker Karim Onisiwo being one of three squad members to test positive for Covid-19.
Head coach Bo Svensson had to reshuffle his starting squad, but his squad showed determination in sweltering temperatures.
Much is expected this season from last season’s finalist Leipzig, who will host Bayern in the Bundesliga on September 11.
It turned into a frustrating afternoon for the Leipzig attack led by Swedish playmaker Emil Forsberg, who couldn’t break the hosts’ defense.
New Leipzig striker Andre Silva, signed for 23million euros ($ 27million) from Eintracht Frankfurt, has been repeatedly refused by Mainz goalkeeper Robin Zentner.
Mainz believed they doubled their lead late when defender Alexander Hack hit a corner kick, but reruns showed the ball was previously dead behind Leipzig’s goal.
At the other end, Leipzig defender Nordi Mukiele saw a shot blocked by Hack.
Defending champions Bayern were held to a 1-1 draw at Moenchengladbach on Friday.
Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Braut Haaland went on to play a role in all of the hosts’ goals in a 5-2 loss to Frankfurt on Saturday.
© 2021 AFP