Luxemburgo hangs on as Augenthaler pays price
Saturday 17 September 2005
Augenthaler was dismissed as coach by Bayer Leverkusen after a poor start to the domestic season was followed by a midweek defeat in Europe, exactly the same scenario which Luxemburgo faces.
There is also a freakish sense of déjà vu about his situation. A year ago, his predecessor, Jose Antonio Camacho, resigned after Real followed a 3-0 Champions' League defeat by losing their third league match of the season away to Espanyol. Tomorrow, for their third match of the season, Real, who lost 3-0 in Lyon in midweek, are away to Espanyol.
Real also lost at home to Celta Vigo last weekend and, having spent £50m on new signings in the close season, Luxemburgo has been heavily criticised.
He has been condemned for playing players out of position and insisting the team adopts a Brazilian-style tactical formation without wingers.
His decision to move new signing Julio Baptista to an unaccustomed slot on the left, and to play David Beckham in a narrow right position, has congested the midfield and made it difficult for the club's powerful forward line to shine.
But Luxemburgo said he has no intention of following Camacho's example and walking away.
"I'm certainly not going to throw out a system just because of what happened this week," he said. "I'm not going to change because people criticise it - just take a look at my record and the trophies I've won."
Elsewhere in Spain, the champions, Barcelona, travel to Atletico Madrid tomorrow while the two clubs left with 100 per cent records, the Galician neighbours Celta and Deportivo La Coruña host Racing Santander and visit Valencia respectively.
Augenthaler's departure came in the wake of Leverkusen suffering their worst start to a Bundesliga season in 22 years and a home defeat to CSKA Sofia in the Uefa Cup.
The former Germany coach Rudi Völler, who is Leverkusen's sporting director, has stepped in as caretaker for tomorrow's match with MSV Duisburg.
Another coach under pressure is Schalke 04's Ralf Rangnick. Schalke lost to PSV Eindhoven in midweek and the club's general manager, Rudi Assauer, said afterwards: "I won't accept performances like that. It was a catastrophe and I need to speak to the players about it - and the coach."
Assauer sacked Jupp Heynckes after four league matches last season. Schalke, fourth in the Bundesliga, are at home to Hertha Berlin tomorrow.
The only worry for Felix Magath, coach of Bayern Munich, is whether Michael Ballack's ankle injury will prevent Bayern setting a record for consecutive Bundesliga wins at home to Hanover 96 today.
It should not. Bayern have won their last 13 league matches, nine on the run-in to the title last season and the first four this term, to match their run in 1981. Hanover have only managed one win this season.
In Italy, champions Juventus should maintain their perfect start to the season at home to promoted Ascoli tomorrow. The other clubs with 100 per cent records, Udinese and Livorno, will tomorrow go to Fiorentina and host Roma respectively.
Milan visit Sampdoria tomorrow and Internazionale play host to Lecce tonight.
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