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Red Bulls Expert Guide: September 13, 2021

Bernd Eibler gets settled in Jersey, MSU’s soccer park makes it into Minecraft, and Jesse Marsch’s nightmare start at Leipzig continues in this week’s links

VfL Wolfsburg v RB Leipzig - Bundesliga
Jesse Marsch had an unflattering meeting with his predecessor against Bayern.
Photo by Max Maiwald/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Welcome to the Red Bulls Expert Guide presented by Once a Metro.

Reading this post should be a part of your weekly routine. I want people to consume the Expert Guide as regularly as they shower and brush their teeth, all things that should be done once every seven days. I’m just kidding, folks. We like to have a good time here. Well, I do. I don’t know if you are.

Here’s this week’s top story.

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One person enjoying the current Red Bulls’ season is assistant manager Bernd Eibler. In an interview with BVZ, he claimed to “have not regretted” the move to MLS. The 27-year-old also shared his perspective on the downward turn in form.

“We are still behind in terms of results, but the league is completely close together in terms of level,” Eibler told his hometown paper. “We are top in the league when it comes to pressing or counter-pressing. Our topic is finishing in the last zone because we don’t play clean enough.”

The young Austrian is also quick to praise the training center as “excellent,” claiming the club provides the best conditions. Described by BVZ as a “football freak,” the Red Bulls keep him “constantly occupied” with work. He resides in Morristown, which provides comfortable confines away from the hustle and bustle of New York.

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We have another expansion rumor, of sorts.

The Red Bull Chile account on social media platform Twitter posted two emojis: a soccer ball and two curious eyes. Naturally, fans and the press have begun mild speculation as to whether the energy drink conglomerate is expanding into the “País de los Poetas.” As RedGol opines, “There are no certainties about the meaning.”

En Cancha took the story further, claiming that Deportes Santa Cruz – currently at second place in the second-tier Campeonato Primera B – was “flirting” with Red Bull. The article means that in an almost literal sense because the Twitter account for the club posted the same eye emoji. However, with Bragantino’s incredible success, the media is on the lookout for more investment into the South American soccer scene.

This is, of course, similar to a few weeks ago when Red Bull México posted something similar. Perhaps a tweet is just a tweet. Also, maybe, just maybe, those accounts should alter their course and respective content strategies, lest too many local fans get their collective hopes up.

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KVC Westerlo was back in Belgian First Division B action, and David Jensen was between the pipes. De Kemphanen (The Ruffs) took down Waasland-Beveren, 2-0, maintaining a spot atop the eight-team table. The Danish goalkeeper has three shutouts this season with promotion looking very, very likely.

I wonder if his loan contract includes an option to buy. Someone should ask… someone else. That would certainly alleviate a morsel of the Red Bulls’ roster and international slot logjam, which is quite unpleasant and splintery when spread on toast.

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YouTube creator DORADOS created MSU Soccer Park at Pittser Field in the video game Minecraft. The soccer-specific stadium on the campus of Montclair State is the home field of New York Red Bulls II and occasionally New York Red Bulls U-23. The reserve team is currently in seventh place in the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference with a 4-14-4 record.

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Speaking of the reserves, John Wolyniec and company dropped a 6-0 decision to the Tampa Bay Rowdies. The Florida side tops the overall USL Championship table, but perhaps the Red Bulls could have done slightly better with four first-team players in the starting lineup. Little is going right for the IIs, but perhaps next season will be better.

On that future note, center back Lucas Monzón made his first appearance in a Red Bull jersey and played 45 minutes. Of the three first-half goals, let’s say the Uruguayan was responsible for the second. He slid high up the field to shut down the opponent a tad late, failed multiple times to slow down or impede the ball, and was physically overmatched by eventual scorer Sebastián Guenzatti.

This is not the ideal debut for a defender, but Monzón walked into a difficult situation.

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Despite his strenuous efforts during the international break, Al-Taawoun pushed hard to get Alejandro “Kaku” Gamarra back into the fold.

According to Asharq Al-Awsat, the club was angling for his quick return, although the move “required coordination and took into account precautionary measures in every country.” After starting the season with zero wins from three matches, a player of his caliber is required to rise out of the relegation zone. A three-day turnaround and long international flights may have long-term effects or increase injury risk, but those are tomorrow’s problems.

Al-Taawoun ended up drawing against Al-Ahli Saudi by a 1-1 margin. Kaku managed to return from South America but started the match on the bench, entering in the 58th minute. There are no updates on the other battle (the legal one).

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Did you know that Mathias Jørgensen is the seventh-highest transfer in the history of Odense Boldklub? The Danish club received “almost 15 million kroner for the then-18-year-old striker,” which is roughly $2,300,000. Tabloid B.T. notes that he has had “limited success” in the United States and during his loan to AGF.

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“It smells like a crisis,” writes Saskia Aleythe of Süddeutsche Zeitung.

RB Leipzig is experiencing the “worst start to the season in club history,” with Jesse Marsch possibly on the hot seat after a mere four matches. The weekend’s 4-1 loss to Bayern Munich against previous manager Julian Nagelsmann certainly led to a few curious and possibly accusatory glances around the campfire. The upcoming schedule gets no easier, as the club is locked in a Champions League group with Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, and a rising Club Brugge side.

“We have been going our way for years and will continue to do so consistently,” CEO Oliver Mintzlaff said following the match. “I don’t think we have to correct our goals for the season after four match days. There is trust in Jesse Marsch. This is not how we imagined the start.”

That’s a slightly different tact than his comments prior to the Bayern fixture. At the time, Mintzlaff claimed mild dissatisfaction but pointed to “the upheaval” at the club. He put the onus on the players to “internalize the new philosophy.”

There is an interesting storyline developing in Leipzig. Nagelsmann introduced an element of possession soccer into the team. Marsch is more of a throwback to the old school high octane gegenpress traditionally associated with Red Bull. For his part, the American believes the club can become better with time as he implements his “bit of a new idea,” but the lack of cohesion in the final third grows more noticeable.

“Nobody played badly, almost every player performed well,” said Marsch. “We went to our limits and invested a lot. But that may be our limit at the moment... The last action, the last pass, is missing [in order] to be dangerous… We need results to validate what we do in training, so that we also have a good feeling about what we are doing. That doesn’t happen by itself. We have to fight for results. We have to learn quickly.”

We could perhaps talk about how the Leipzig roster is fairly similar to last season’s second-place Bundesliga finish, outside of a few key but not impossible to replace players. There was also some fair criticism from Salzburg fans, suggesting that Marsch was perhaps not as great of a manager as American media or Red Bull held him up to be. That is a reasonable but perhaps misguided charge considering his general strength appears to be instilling long-term holistic growth on the training ground instead of garnering immediate results from the technical box, which might not arouse the senses for the fan base of a domestically dominant club that perpetually has failed to reach the next level. By comparison, his successor in Austria, Matthias Jaissle, is drawing rave reviews, although there are mildly differing circumstances between this season and the previous.

Leipzig is a tough job, no two ways about it. The transfer strategy can be limiting, but the demands for top performances remain. Marsch will get a reasonable amount of time, perhaps more rope than others due to his solid reputation within the organization, but that only goes so far. If he continues to struggle, ownership will not hesitate to pull the trigger, possibly before the end of the Hinrunde (first 17 matches).

Here’s a joke that was submitted by Agatha of Berkeley Heights.

I know what will turn the season around for Leipzig: signing Gonzalo Verón.

Thank you, Agatha. I’m sure Marsch will consider doing that.

Here’s another joke that was submitted by Ruby of Verona.

If Marsch wanted to struggle to implement a different tactical system, deal with a lack of cohesion in the final third, and garner unconvincing results, he could have stayed in New York.”

Thank you, Ruby. Why don’t we all just calm down a little?

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