Jesse Marsch's next destination is already known, and he'll be heading there after taking care of the last piece of business in his current surroundings.
Marsch's RB Salzburg polished off yet another Austrian Bundesliga title on Wednesday with a 2–0 win vs. second-place Rapid Vienna, marking a second straight league-cup double for the U.S. manager at the club.
Marsch will be replacing Julian Nagelsmann at fellow Red Bull property RB Leipzig next season, and while the expectations can't possibly be the same (domestic doubles won't be commonplace for Marsch in the German Bundesliga—in fact, if one occurs, it would be downright historic), he'll be riding in with a résumé boosted by silverware.
That was, in many ways, expected of him. Salzburg has now finished first or second in the Austrian Bundesliga in every season dating back to 2005–06, winning 12 titles in that time, including the last eight. The club has also won eight of the last 10 Austrian Cup titles, including the last three. That's not to say that success is a given, but there are built-in advantages for Salzburg in the domestic game that made life a bit more comfortable for Marsch.
He won't have those same advantages in Leipzig, though the pieces are lining up for the manager there already. The club will lose centerback star Dayot Upamecano to Bayern Munich, while his French countryman and fellow centerback Ibrahima Konaté has strongly been linked to Liverpool. That's an area that'll require some focus.
But plenty of the club's star core will return. Emil Forsberg inked a contract extension through 2025 on Wednesday, following in the footsteps of Amadou Haidara and goalkeeper Peter Gulácsi. Marsch will already be familiar with U.S. international Tyler Adams from their time together in New York, and he actually coached against Leipzig wingback Angeliño when he was on loan with NYCFC. The arrival of striker Brian Brobbey from Ajax on a free transfer can potentially serve as the yet-to-be-found solution of who can replace the scoring void left behind by Timo Werner's departure to Chelsea. For what it's worth, Marsch did show the ability to adjust to losing key talent at Salzburg, with Erling Haaland and Takumi Minamino departing halfway into his first season at the helm.
The presence of other Salzburg-to-Leipzig path-followers in Hwang Hee-chan and Dominik Szoboszlai (whose Leipzig debut continues to be delayed through injury despite a lucrative winter transfer) will also make for a smoother transition for the coach. Whether or not more Salzburg talent (perhaps U.S. midfielder Brenden Aaronson, at some point?) joins Marsch on the road to Leipzig remains to be seen.
It is very much the Red Bull way to come through the system, rise through the ranks, embrace challenges at each level and succeed. Leipzig is the top of the Red Bull chain, and Marsch's predecessors at the Bundesliga level—Ralph Hassenhüttl, Ralf Rangnick and Nagelsmann—have all gained notoriety and expanded their platforms for their work with the club.
Marsch will face challenges that no other U.S.-bred coach abroad has before, and while it's not as likely that success for him will take the form of multiple trophies each season, the foundation has been set for his growth to continue at his most challenging setting yet.
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