It is not often that changes in coaches become apparent so long in advance. But the doubts about Domenico Tedesco, who was on leave early Wednesday morning, one day after the botched start in the Champions League, had grown over the months – and the Leipzig club management could no longer or did not want to hide their distrust for weeks.
On Thursday morning, two days after the 4-1 defeat against Shakhtar Donzek, which was at best an accelerator in terms of the separation from Tedesco, the next coach in Leipzig sat on the podium: Marco Rose. The 45-year-old seems to be the most obvious solution based on his biography and his philosophy alone – Rose lives in Leipzig and knows the Red Bull cosmos.
At his official presentation, Rose appeared relaxed and well rested. In doing so, he formed a striking contrast to club boss Oliver Mintzlaff, who clearly showed the trials and tribulations of the past few weeks. The separation from Tedesco was not easy for him, he explained. On Tuesday afternoon he would have had a longer conversation with Tedesco. “I’ve already told him that I assume he’ll still be on the bench against Dortmund on Saturday, but I also told him that we need results now,” said Mintzlaff. But then he reacted immediately under the impression of the team’s again catastrophic performance.
Rose confirmed this. “I was in Salzburg, visiting old friends and watching RB Salzburg vs AC Milan,” he explained. He worked there from 2013 to 2019, the last two years as head coach. Then he got a call. “And then it was said: We might need you tomorrow.” That’s how it happened: On Wednesday he jetted to Leipzig and signed a contract until 2024.
It is the relatively short contract period that is surprising. After all, Rose’s way of allowing football to be played and his knowledge of the Red Bull cosmos make him the ideal coach for Leipzig. He relies heavily on the elements of pressing and counter-pressing. His style will differ significantly from that which Tedesco, who tends toward possession football, had preferred. “I’m going to do a few things differently. We must achieve stability through activity. We want to be more stable at the back by putting more pressure on the ball up front,” he said. That sounds like what Mintzlaff calls “RB DNA.”
The fact that both sides, despite many agreements, could only agree on a cooperation for the current season and one more has to do with the structural problems of the club. Even after more than a year, it has not been possible to present a new sports director. It has long been known that it will be Max Eberl. But he still doesn’t get clearance from Borussia Mönchengladbach, where he resigned due to health problems. “I’d be happy if it works,” Rose said. With Eberl, whom he knows from Gladbach, “I would have a man at my side who would do us good.”
The vacuum in club management in terms of strategic direction and sporting competence is a problem. Rose is the third head coach that Mintzlaff has brought in since the departure of sports director Markus Krösche in the summer of 2021. Jesse Marsch had come first. With the American, the “RB-DNA” should already be revived. When it became obvious that the team wasn’t following him, Tedesco came along, whose ideas were diametrically opposed to those of his predecessors. With Tedesco, Leipzig made it into the Champions League and won the DFB Cup. Nevertheless, said Mintzlaff on Thursday, he “already felt at the end of the second half of the season that it wasn’t the development we were hoping for”.
A statement that is surprising, because at about the same time there was talk of the club wanting to extend Tedesco prematurely. However, the coach refused. He first wanted to have clarity about the composition of the squad and know who would become the sports director. In addition, everyone still remembers the pictures of how Mintzlaff was moved to tears after winning the DFB Cup.
Tedesco’s caution about his prospects was justified. The transfer activities only partially met his expectations: too little happened on the defensive, he waited in vain for the desired strike. It was clear early on that the club and coach were going in different directions. In addition, Mintzlaff became noticeably impatient in the new season. Already after the two draws at the beginning he spoke of a “crappy start”.
After all, he will no longer do that in the future, the club boss promised. It would also be bold given the starting program for the newcomer: Rose’s former club Dortmund is coming on Saturday, then it’s off to Real Madrid in the Champions League.