RB Leipzig have released American head coach Jesse Marsch from his contract with immediate effect after just four months.
The two parties announced on Sunday they have "mutually agreed to part ways" after a run of four defeats on the bounce and the decision follows RB Leipzig's 2-1 defeat to Union Berlin on Friday, which left Leipzig 11th in the Bundesliga. Marsch missed Friday's match after returning a positive test for COVID-19.
In April, the 48-year-old signed a two-year deal, and in the summer took over from Julian Nagelsmann who left to take the Bayern Munich job. Leipzig have suffered six defeats in their opening 14 Bundesliga matches, and three losses from their five Champions League encounters, thus club CEO Oliver Mintzlaff has decided to act on their poor form.
"It was not easy for us to part company with Jesse Marsch, because I hold Jesse in high regard as a person and as a coach," Mintzlaff said in a statement. "It is a shame that things did not work out as we had hoped with this setup, and that this step has now become necessary.
"Unfortunately, the development we were hoping for and the results needed to achieve our goals for the season have not been achieved."
Leipzig will announce a successor "in the near future" with assistant coach Achim Beierlorzer taking charge of their next match against Manchester City on Tuesday in the Champions League.
"We are currently running short of our own expectations and with this decision we want to create a new impulse," Mintzlaff said. "Regardless of this, however, I also see our players as having a duty and I expect our team, which is very strong in sporting terms, to show its potential and quality on the pitch more consistently than it has done recently."
Marsch spent 14 years as a player in Major League Soccer, and had impressed as manager of New York Red Bulls, who he led to Supporters' Shield in 2015 before moving to FC Salzburg.
At Salzburg he led them to back-to-back Austrian Bundesliga titles before joining Leipzig.
He inherited a squad which had seen star defenders Dayot Upamecano and Ibrahima Konate both leave, while Marcel Sabitzer also joined Nagelsmann at Bayern. Leipzig spent heavily in the summer, bringing in Andre Silva, Ilaix Moriba, Angelino, Josko Gvardiol and Mohamed Simakan. However, they started the season with three defeats in their opening four Bundesliga matches.
Marsch's Leipzig did record some impressive results: they beat Hertha Berlin 6-0 and edged past Borussia Dortmund 2-1, but with their Champions League hopes over before the knockouts, and another defeat on Friday -- one which Mintzlaff labelled catastrophic -- Marsch leaves just eight months after being handed the job.
"I am very grateful to be part of the Red Bull family and to have been given this opportunity!" Marsch said. "Up until the very end, I remained hopeful that after a troubled start to the season and inconsistent performances, we would find more cohesion and stability as a group and turn our fortunes around.
"Unfortunately, we didn't manage to do that -- after a discussion with Oliver Mintzlaff, we came to the joint decision to make a change in the coaching position.
"I keep only positive thoughts in my mind and wish for the club, the team, the staff and all the fans that RB Leipzig finds its way back to its old strengths very quickly and, given the quality in the team and in the club, I am sure that the club will achieve its goals."