RB Leipzig

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RB Leipzig
RB Leipzig 2014 logo.svg.png
Crest (2014–present)
Full name RasenBallsport Leipzig e.V,
RasenBallsport Leipzig GmbH[1]
Nickname(s) Die Bullen (The Bulls), also Die roten Bullen (The Red Bulls)
Short name RBL
Founded 19 May 2009; 7 years ago (2009-05-19)
Ground Red Bull Arena
Ground Capacity 42,959
Management board Oliver Mintzlaff (Chairman)
Ulrich Wolter
Johann Plenge[1]
Sporting director Ralf Rangnick
Coach Ralph Hasenhüttl
League Bundesliga
2015–16 2. Bundesliga, 2nd (promoted)
Website Club home page
Current season

RasenBallsport Leipzig e.V., commonly known and deliberately promoted as RB Leipzig, is a German association football club based in Leipzig, Saxony. The club was founded in 2009 by initiative of energy drink-maker Red Bull GmbH who purchased the playing license of the fifth division side SSV Markranstädt with the intention of advancing the new club to the top-flight Bundesliga within eight years. Men's professional football is run by the spin-off organization RasenballSport Leipzig GmbH.[1] RB Leipzig plays its home matches at the Red Bull Arena.

In its inaugural season in 2009–10, RB Leipzig dominated the NOFV-Oberliga Süd (V) and was promoted as champions to the Regionalliga Nord (IV). RB Leipzig won the 2012–13 Regionalliga Nordost season without conceding a single defeat and was promoted to the 3. Liga (III), then finished the 2013–14 3. Liga season as runner-up and was promoted to the 2. Bundesliga (II) as the first team since the introduction of the 3. Liga to win promotion after only one season.

On 8 May 2016, Leipzig ensured promotion to the Bundesliga for the 2016–17 season with a 2–0 defeat of Karlsruher SC.[2]

History[edit]

Background[edit]

Before investing in Leipzig, Red Bull GmbH, led by co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, searched three and a half years for a suitable location for an investment in German football.[3] Besides Leipzig, the company also considered a location in West Germany and explored cities such as Hamburg, Munich and Düsseldorf.[4]

The company made its first attempt to enter the German football scene in 2006. By advice from Franz Beckenbauer, a personal friend of Dietrich Mateschitz, the company decided to invest in Leipzig.[5][6][7][8][9] The local football club FC Sachsen Leipzig, successor to the former East German champion BSG Chemie Leipzig, had for years been in financial difficulties.[10][11] Red Bull GmbH drew up plans to invest up to 50 million Euros in the club. The company planned a takeover, with a change of team coulours and of club name. Involved in the arrangements was film entrepreneur Michael Kölmel, sponsor of FC Sachsen Leipzig and owner of the Zentralstadion.[10][12] By 2006, FC Sachsen Leipzig played in the Oberliga, by then the fourth tier in the German football league system. Playing in the fourth tier, the club had to undergo the German Football Association (DFB) licensing procedure. Red Bull GmbH and the club were close to a deal, but the plans were vetoed by the DFB, who rejected the proposed new club name and feared too much influence from the company.[10][13][14] After months of fan protests, which deteriorated into violence, the company officially abandoned the plans.[15]

Red Bull GmbH then turned to West Germany. The company took contact with cult club FC St. Pauli, known for its left leaning supporters, and met representatives of the club to discuss a sponsor deal. The supporters of FC St. Pauli had only a short time before participated in protests against the company's takeover of SV Austria Salzburg. Once it became clear to the Hamburg side that the company had plans far beyond conventional sponsoring, it immediately ended the contact, and the question never even made it to the club management.[4] The company then took contact with TSV 1860 Munich. Negotiations began behind closed doors, but the club was not interested in an investment and ended the contact.[16][17]

In 2007, Red Bull GmbH made plans to invest in Fortuna Düsseldorf, a traditional club with more than 100 years of history.[18] The plans became public, it was known that the company wanted to acquire more than 50 percent of the shares and rumors spread that the company wanted to rename the club "Red Bull Düsseldorf" or similar. The plans were immediately met with wild protests from club supporters.[4] As with FC Sachsen Leipzig, the plans also ran into legal difficulties. The statues of the DFB did not allow a change of club name for advertising purposes or an external investor to obtain a majority of votes.[18][19][20] Eventually, the plans were clearly rejected by club members.[4][17] The company turned back to East Germany.[4]

Leipzig was considered a most favorable place for an investment. The potential for establishing a new club in Leipzig seemed huge. The city had a rich history in football, being the meeting place for the founding of the DFB and the home of the first German national football champion, VfB Leipzig.[3] During the GDR, local teams such as 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig and its rival, BSG Chemie Lepzig, played at the highest level of the East German football league system, even on international level. The current state of football was however poor. No team from the city had played in the Bundesliga since 1994,[21] and no team had played in a professional league since 1998.[4] The two best teams would soon both play in the Oberliga, and local football was plagued by fan violence.[3] The city hungered for top level football.[22][23] Leipzig had a population of around 500,000 inhabitants. The city thus had a considerable economic strength and fan potential. At the same time, there were no Bundesliga clubs within a wide area from the city, which further strengthened the possibility to attract sponsors and fans. In Leipzig, exemplary infrastructure could also be found. The city had a large airport, motorway connections and most importantly: a large modern football stadium.[24][25] The Zentralstadion was a former 2006 FIFA World Cup venue and the second largest football stadium in East Germany, after the Olympiastadion in Berlin.[26]

An investment in a club playing in one of the top divisions in Germany would have been a costly affair. From previous experiences, the company knew that the existing traditions of such club would be a disadvantage.[27] It also knew that an investment in a club playing in one of the top divisions would meet legal difficulties. Such investment would thus be risky.[28][29] Instead, the company found that a new established club, designed for the company, would be the better option for an investment.[17][24] In the beginning of 2009, Red Bull GmbH contacted the Saxony Football Association (SFV), to find out about the procedure to establish a new club in Saxony.[15]

A new established club would need teams and a playing right. If it did not acquire a playing right from another club, it would have to start in the Kreisklasse.[30] The company searched for a club playing in the Oberliga,[15] since 2008 the fifth tier in the German football league system and therefore no longer subject to the DFB the licensing system.[13] By proposal from Michael Kölmel,[22] the company found SSV Markanstädt, a small club from a village thirteen kilometers west of Leipzig.[31] The club was positive to enter a partnership with a global company.[28] Its Chairman Holger Nussbaum wanted to secure the club's long term finances and designed a plan to engage Red Bull GmbH. Holger Nussbaum presented his plan for Michael Kölmel, who saw his chance and decided to join.[3][28] Assisted by Michael Kölmel, Red Bull GmbH began negotiations with SSV Markranstädt.[3] Only five weeks after the first contact, SSV Markranstädt had agreed to sell its playing right for the Oberliga to Red Bull GmbH.[31] The cost has not been disclosed, but SSV Markranstädt is believed to have received a compensation of 350,000 Euros.[25][32]

Founding[edit]

RasenBallsport Leipzig e.V. was founded on 19 May 2009. All seven founding members were either employees or agents of Red Bull GmbH.[3] Andreas Sadlo was elected chairman, and Joachim Krug was hired as sporting director. Andreas Sadlo was a well known football player agent, working for the agency "Stars & Friends".[33][34] In order to avoid future objections from the German Football Association (DFB), he resigned as player agent, before taking position as chairman. The statues of the DFB would not allow a player agent to be involved in the operating affairs of a club.[15] Joachim Krug had earlier been employed as coach and manager by Rot Weiss Ahlen, which by that time was known as LR Ahlen and sponsored by cosmetics manufacturer LR International.[35][36][37]

RB Leipzig became the fifth football club in the Red Bull sporting portfolio, following FC Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, the New York Red Bulls in the US. Red Bull Brasil in Brazil and the Red Bull Ghana in Ghana.[22] In contrast to previous clubs, RB Leipzig did not bear the corporate name. The statutes of the DFB would not permit the corporate name to be included in the club name.[19][22] Instead, the club adopted the unusual name "RasenBallsport", literally meaning "Lawn Ball Sports". But through the use of the initials "RB", which corresponds to the initials of the company,[3] the corporate identity could still be recognized.[37][38][39]

RB Leipzig began with a partnership with fifth division side SSV Markranstädt. The partnership meant that SSV Markanstädt would provide the initial core of RB Leipzig, as the basis for its leap into German football.[13][15] RB Leipzig acquired the playing right for the Oberliga, the top three men’s teams and a senior men’s team from SSV Markranstädt.[13][22][33][34] The first team was acquired complete with its training staff and its head coach Tino Vogel, the son of the former East German football legend Eberhard Vogel.[22][40][41]

The transfer of the playing right for the Oberliga had to be approved by the North East German Football Association (NOFV). RB Leipzig would need at least four junior teams, including an A-junior team, to finally obtain the playing right. SSV Markranstädt had retained its junior department and RB Leipzig lacked junior teams. Red Bull GmbH therefore approached FC Sachsen Leipzig. The club was again in financial difficulties and could no longer finance its youth department.[33] The NOFV approved the transfer of the playing right on 13 June 2009 and RB Leipzig was given one year to complete its number of junior teams.[42][43] The club then acquired four junior teams from FC Sachsen Leipzig.[44] The acquisition was urged by the Saxony Football Association (SFV), in order to prevent a migration of talents.[45]

RB Leipzig would play its inaugural season in the Oberliga at the Stadion am Bad in Markanstädt. The stadium held 5,000 seats and was the traditional home ground of SSV Markranstädt. The plans were however that the first team would quickly move to the far larger Zentralstadion.[13] Hopefully already in 2010, after a possible advance to the Regionalliga.[22][27] The stadium was owned by Michael Kölmel. He was known to Red Bull GmbH for years and had assisted the establishment of RB Leipzig as an negotiation partner.[3][27] Michael Kölmel had previously also been involved in local football himself, as a sponsor of FC Sachsen Leipzig. He was eager to find a strong tenant for the stadium, which last saw FC Sachsen Leipzig play in the Regionalliga behind closed doors.[27][40] Negotiations between Red Bull GmbH and Michael Kölmel began directly at the club's founding. Red Bull GmbH reserved the naming right to the stadium in June 2009, meaning that the name could not be sold to anyone else.[23][27][28][46]

On its founding, RB Leipzig aimed to play first division Bundesliga football within eight years.[40] Following the model previously elaborated by Red Bull GmbH in Austria and the US, the club was set to emerge and quickly rise through the divisions.[22] It was predicted that Red Bull GmbH would invest 100 million Euros in the club over a period of ten years, and Dietrich Mateschitz openly spoke of the possibility of winning the German championship in the long run.[22][38][40][47] The last team from Leipzig to do so was VfB Leipzig in 1903.[3]

Oberliga[edit]

After some previously scheduled games had to be canceled due to safety concerns, RB Leipzig played its first match on 10 July 2009, a friendly match against the Landesliga club SV Bannewitz. The match was played at the Stadion am Bad in Markranstädt and ended with a 5–0 win for RB Leipzig. The club played its first competitive match on 31 July 2009, in the first round of Saxony Cup against VfK Blau–Weiß Leipzig. After switching sides, RB Leipzig played as the home team and won the match 5–0. The club then played its first league match in an away match against FC Carl Zeiss Jena II on 8 August 2009. The match ended 1–1.

During the further course of the season, RB Leipzig suffered its first defeat on 13 September 2009, in a match against Budissa Bautzen. Despite minor setbacks, the club still managed to be crowned as Herbstmeister, standing at first place after the first half of the 2009–10 season. The team came back even stronger for the second half of the season, having signed the experienced midfielder and 2. Bundesliga player Timo Rost from Energie Cottbus in January 2010.[48] The team managed to secure first place in the 2009–10 NOFV–Oberliga Süd already on the 25th match day, thus earning promotion to the 2010–11 Regionalliga Nord. The team finished the season with an impressive goal difference of 74–17, having suffered only two defeats. The license to play in the Regionalliga was issued by the DFB on 4 May 2010.

RB Leipzig targeted a place in the 2010–11 DFB–Pokal, which would have been won by winning the 2009–10 Saxony Cup. The team reached the quarterfinals in the Saxony Cup, but was eliminated after a defeat against FSV Zwickau on 13 November 2013.

The incumbent chairman, Andreas Saldo, left the club in January 2010[49] and the position was assumed by the former Hamburger SV sporting director and incumbent sporting director for the common Red Bull football commitment Dietmar Beiersdorfer.[50][51] One day after the last match of the 2009–10 season, Beiersdorfer released head coach Tino Vogel, assistant coach Lars Weißenberger and sporting director Joachim Krug from their positions.[52] This action was done after Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz had announced a change in strategy. According to the new strategy, RB Leipzig was going to represent the key project in the football commitment of the company, in place of FC Red Bull Salzburg.[53] Tomas Oral was announced as the new head coach on 18 June 2010.

The players Christian Mittenzwei, Sebastian Hauck, Stefan Schumann, Toni Jurascheck and Michael Lerchl did not receive new contracts for the following Regionalliga season, while players Frank Räbsch, Ronny Kujat and two other players ended their careers.[54]

Regionalliga[edit]

Before entry to the Regionalliga, there were two significant changes in the club. The club returned the second, third and fourth team to SSV Markranstädt. In order to replace the reserve team, the club adopted the first team of ESV Delitzsch as its reserve team and purchased its playing license for the Bezirksliga.[55] The first team moved from the Stadion am Bad in Markranstädt, to make the Zentralstadion in Leipzig its new home arena. The former 2006 FIFA World Cup venue, was simultaneously renamed Red Bull Arena.[15][56] The opening of the Red Bull Arena was celebrated on 24 July 2010 with a friendly match against the German vice-champions FC Schalke 04 in front of 21,566 spectators. The match ended with a 1–2 loss for RB Leipzig.[57] The first team played its last game at the Stadion am Bad six days later on 30 July 2010, a friendly match against Hertha BSC, which ended with a 2–1 win for RB Leipzig.

The 2010–11 Regionalliga season started with a series of draws, the first one on 6 August 2010 against Türkiyemspor Berlin in front of 4,028 spectators at the Red Bull Arena. The first win came on the 4th match day, in an away match against Holstein Kiel, which ended 1–2 for RB Leipzig. The first home win came immediately after, on the 5th match day, in a match against 1. FC Magdeburg, which ended 2–1 for RB Leipzig.

After a moderate start to the season, the club found itself chasing Chemnitzer FC, which was considered a possible candidate for promotion. At the end of the year, RB Leipzig confirmed its ambitions to gain promotion, by signing Brazilian midfielder Thiago Rockenbach.[58] The club had signed forward Carsten Kammlott, considered a promising young talent, and the experienced Leipzig born defender Tim Sebastian, during the summer.[59][60]

The club finished its first season in the Regionalliga in 4th place, thus missing out on promotion. However, under coach Tomas Oral, the club succeeded in winning the 2010–11 Saxony cup after defeating Chemnitzer FC 1–0 in the final on 1 June 2011 in front of 13,958 spectators at the Red Bull Arena. By winning the 2010–11 Saxony cup, the club won its first title in club history. It also qualified to participate in the 2011–12 DFB-Pokal.[61]

Because the club missed out on promotion during the second half of the 2010–11 season, Peter Pacult from Rapid Wien was announced as the new head coach for the 2011–12 season on 4 May 2011. Almost simultaneously, the club announced that sporting director Thomas Linke had been released from his position, having been employed for only 10 weeks, from February 2011. Various media suspected a connection between the signing of Pacult and the departure of Linke.[62][63]

Also, several players left the team, among them Lars Müller, Sven Neuhaus, Thomas Kläsener and Nico Frommer, all participants in the previous Saxony Cup final.[61] With Daniel Rosin, Timo Rost and Benjamin Bellot, only three players from the former Oberliga team remained in the team for the 2011–12 Regionalliga season, while the former international Ingo Hertzsch as a fourth of these players remained in the club. Hertzsch ended his professional career after the 2010–11 season, but went on to join the reserve team, RB Leipzig II, and the RB Leipzig business operation.[64]

On 29 July 2011, RB Leipzig made its debut in the DFB Pokal, in front of 31,212 spectators at the Red Bull Arena. The team managed to knock Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg out of the first round of the cup, beating them 3–2 after a hat-trick by Daniel Frahn.[65] The team was eliminated in the next round, defeated 0–1 by FC Augsburg.

The 2011–12 Regionalliga season saw the largest win in club history, when RB Leipzig defeated SV Wilhelmshaven 8–2 on 19 February 2012.[66] After a decisive 2–2 draw against VfL Wolfsburg II on the 33rd match day, the club missed out on promotion for the second time in the Regionalliga, finishing the season in 3rd place.

Ralf Rangnick in 2011, as head coach of Schalke 04.

The 2012–13 season in the reformed Regionalliga Nordost began with major personnel changes. Former Schalke 04 head coach Ralf Rangnick was introduced as the new sporting director. Coinciding with his arrival, he replaced head coach Peter Pacult with former SG Sonnenhof Großaspach coach Alexander Zorniger.[67][68] The season proved more successful than the previous two. The club won the Herbstmeister title with two match days left of the first half of the season, after defeating FSV Zwickau with 1–0 away. The team then went on to secure first place in the 2012–13 Regionalliga Nordost on the 18th match day, after the second placed club FC Carl Zeiss Jena lost a match against Berliner AK 07 on 7 May 2013 and, as a consequence, were no longer able to overtake RB.

The 2012–13 Saxony Cup was another success. The club reached the final for the second time in club history and, as in 2011, the opponent was Chemnitzer FC. The team won the final on 15 May 2013 by 4–2 in front of 16,864 spectators at the Red Bull Arena. The crowd number set a new record for a Saxony Cup final, breaking the previous record from 2011. By winning the 2012–13 Saxony Cup, the club was also qualified to participate in the 2013–14 DFB Pokal.[69]

As the winner of the 2012–13 Regionallig Nordost, RB Leipzig won a place in the qualification for the 3. Liga. The club was drawn against Sportfreunde Lotte from the Regionalliga West. RB Leipzig won the first leg on 29 May 2013 by 2–0. The match was played at the Red Bull Arena in front of 30,104 spectators, a crowd number which set a new record for matches in the 4th division.[70][71]

The second leg was played on 2 June 2013 and ended 2–2 after two goals to RB Leipzig during extra time. The result meant that RB Leipzig had finally won promotion to the 3. Liga, after three seasons in the Regionalliga.

3. Liga[edit]

In the 2013–14 season, RB Leipzig made its first appearance in the 3. Liga in club history. The club signed Anthony Jung from FSV Frankfurt, Tobias Willers from Sportfreunde Lotte, Joshua Kimmich from the U19 team of VfB Stuttgart, André Luge from FSV Zwickau, Christos Papadimitriou from AEK Athens, Yussuf Poulsen from Lyngby BK and Denis Thomalla from TSG 1899 Hoffenheim during the summer.

RB Leipzig was eliminated by FC Augsburg in the first round of the 2013-14 DFB-Pokal on 2 August 2013 after losing 0–2 at the Red Bull Arena. The defeat brought an end to a year-long series without defeat in competitive matches. The 2013–14 3. Liga had a more promising start. The team won its first match, against Hallescher FC away, by 1–0 on 19 July 2013 and kept an undefeated streak until 31 August 2013, when the team lost 1–2 to first placed team SV Wehen Wiesbaden away.

On 5 October 2013, RB Leipzig again met the first placed team. SV Wehen Wiesbaden had lost its first-place position to 1. FC Heidenheim only one week after its defeat of RB Leipzig. 1. FC Heidenheim would defend it until the end of the season. RB Leipzig defeated 1. FC Heidenheim by 2–0 after a convincing performance at the Voith-Arena and climbed to third place.

Georg Teigl playing a match for FC Red Bull Salzburg in May 2013.

During the winter break, players Christos Papadimitriou, Juri Judt, Carsten Kammlott and Bastian Schulz left the team. In return, the team was joined by Diego Demme from SC Paderborn 07, Federico Palacios Martinez from VfL Wolfsburg, Mikko Sumusalo from HJK Helsinki and Georg Teigl from FC Red Bull Salzburg.

After losing 1–2 away to MSV Duisburg on 1 February 2014, the team would not concede a single defeat for the rest of the season. A thrilling duel with SV Darmstadt 98 appeared, with both teams fighting for the crucial second place. The two teams met on the 35th match day, on 19 April 2014. RB Leipzig came out as the winner, defeating SV Darmstadt 98 by 1–0 in front of 39,147 spectators at the Red Bull Arena.[72] RB Leipzig secured the second place and direct promotion to the 2. Bundesliga two weeks later, after defeating last placed team 1. FC Saarbrucken 5–1 in front of a nearly sold out Red Bull Arena on 3 May 2014. The crowd of 42,713 spectators set a new club record.[73][74]

By finishing the season in second place, RB Leipzig won promotion to the 2. Bundesliga and became the first team since the introduction of the 3. Liga to win promotion to the 2. Bundesliga after only one season.[74][75]

2. Bundesliga[edit]

2014–15 season[edit]

Following promotion to the 2. Bundesliga, the organization responsible for licensing was no longer the DFB, but instead the German Football League (DFL). The DFL announced its first decision in the licensing process on 22 April 2014. RB Leipzig was to be given a license for the 2014–15 2. Bundesliga season, but only under certain conditions.[76] Criticism mounted that the club lacked in participation, that club management was too concentrated in only a handful of people[77] and that the club was not independent enough from Red Bull GmbH.[76] To ensure independence and improve participation, the DFL set up three requirements that the club had to meet in order to obtain a license for the 2014–15 2. Bundesliga season.[77][78] One of the requirements was to redesign the crest, as the crest too closely resembled the corporate logo of Red Bull GmbH. A second requirement was to change the composition of the club's organizational bodies.[79] A third requirement was to lower the membership fees and open up the association for new members.[80] The German legal magazine Legal Tribune Online assessed all three requirements set up by the DFL as legally questionable.[81]

RB Leipzig filed an appeal on 30 April 2014.[82] Sporting director Ralf Rangnick appeared in media and expressed his willingness to reach a compromise with the DFL, saying that important is not what is written on the jersey, but what is inside.[83]

The appeal was rejected in a second decision by the DFL on 8 May 2014.[84] Red Bull GmbH owner Dietrich Mateschitz spoke out in media, openly criticizing the decision by the DFB. He described the requirements as a "decapitation request" and categorically rejected another season in the 3. Liga, ultimately threatening to end the project in Leipzig if the license was not given.[85][86][87]

RB Leipzig filed a second appeal on 12 May 2014.[88] The DFL licensing committee was set to make a decision on the second appeal on 15 May 2014, before making its final decision on 28 May 2014.[89][90] Sporting director Ralf Ragnick confirmed that the club was still in talks with the DFL and expressed optimism around the license.[91] On 15 May 2014 a compromise was announced. The compromise meant that the club had to redesign its crest and ensure that club management was independent from Red Bull GmbH.[92][93][94]

Terrence Boyd playing a match for the United States in November 2013.

The club signed numerous players before the 2014–15 season, among them Rani Khedira from VfB Stuttgart, Lukas Klostermann from VfL Bochum, Marcel Sabitzer from FC Red Bull Salzburg, Terrence Boyd from Rapid Wien and Massimo Bruno from Anderlecht. Several players also left the team. Massio Bruno and Marcel Sabitzer were immediately transferred on loan to FC Red Bull Salzburg. Fabian Bredlow was transferred on loan to FC Liefering, André Luge was transferred on loan to SV Elversberg and Thiago Rockenbach Silva joined Hertha BSC II as a free agent.

The club spent and estimated sum of approximately 12 million Euros on new players during the summer of 2014. The sum was large enough to put the club in 8th place of all clubs in the Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga, thus spending more than half of all clubs in the first division.[95]

RB Leipzig played a series of friendly matches during the 2014–15 pre-season. On 18 July 2014, the team defeated Paris Saint-Germain 4–2 in front of 35,796 spectators and 150 accredited journalists at the Red Bull Area. The first goal was scored by Terrence Boyd, scoring his second goal in his second match for his new club. Terrence Boyd received the jersey of Zlatan Ibrahimović from Paris Saint-Germain after match.[96][97] On 26 July 2014, the team defeated Queens Park Rangers with 2–0 at the Stadion der Freundschaft in Gera. Both goals were scored by Yussuf Poulsen.[98]

The 2014–15 2. Bundesliga season began with 0–0 draw against VfR Aalen on 2 August 2014, followed up by a couple of wins and another draw. The first defeat in the league came on the 6th match day, losing 1–2 against 1. FC Union Berlin at the Red Bull Arena on 21 September 2014. After the 7th match day, the club stood at second place in the league.

RB Leipzig was drawn against SC Paderborn in the first round of the 2014–15 DFB-Pokal. The team won the match with 2–1 on extra time at the Red Bull Arena on 16 August 2014. In the second round, the club faced FC Erzgebirge Aue. The team won the match with 3–1 on extra time at the Red Bull Arena on 29 October 2015, and was qualified for the round of 16 for first time in club history.[99]

RB Leipzig released its own club magazine Klub on 6 October 2014.[100]

After a series of disappointing results, the club had dropped down to a 7th place by the 13th match day. On 23 November 2014, RB Leipzig defeated FC St. Pauli with 4–1 in front of 38,660 spectators at the Red Bull Arena. Two goals were scored by Terrence Boyd and the club climbed to a 5th place. The success, however, was followed by a draw against SV Sandhausen. On 7 December 2014, the team met first placed team FC Ingolstadt. RB Leipzig lost 0–1, and the result meant that the club now stood at 8th place.

Emil Forsberg playing a match for Malmö FF in June 2013.

RB Leipzig strengthened the team during the winter break by signing Omer Damari from Austria Wien, Emil Forsberg from Malmö FF and players Rodnei and Yordy Reyna from FC Red Bull Salzburg. The club spent an estimated sum of 10,7 million Euros on new players during the winter break, a sum which covered almost all transfer expenditures during the period for the whole of 2. Bundesliga.[101][102]

On 6 February 2015, the club lost 2–0 to Erzgebirge Aue. As consequence, the club had now played four matches without a win and had lost contact with the top placed teams. On the following Tuesday evening, the club summoned Alexander Zorninger to a meeting, and on Tuesday night, the club took the decision to walk separate ways with him after the season. The decision had been taken by the club management in consutation with Red Bull GmbH owner Dietrich Mateschitz. Already on the next morning, Alexander Zorniger announced his own decision to leave immediately. The club received criticism for its decision. Under Alexander Zorniger, the club had risen from the Regionalliga to the 2. Bundesliga. The decision was considered merciless by some media.[103][104] Incumbent RB Leipzig U17 coach Achim Beierlorzer was announced as interim heach coach for the rest of the season.[105][106]

On 5 March 2015, RB Leipzig met VfL Wolfsburg in the third round of the 2014–15 DFB Pokal. The club was eliminated after being defeated with 2–0 at the Red Bull Arena. The match was attended by 43,348 spectators. It was the first time in club history that the stadium had been completely sold out.[107]

The preferred candidate of sporting director Ralf Ragnick as new head coach from the summer was former Mainz 05 coach Thomas Tuchel, but the negotiations with Thomas Tuchel failed. Another candidate was Bayer Leverkusen junior coach Sascha Lewandowski, but he too declined the offer. In May 2015, sporting director Ralf Ragnick was himself announced as new head coach from the summer, with Achim Beierlorzer as his assistant.[108][109]

RB Leipzig finished the 2014–15 2. Bundesliga season in fifth place.

2015–16 season[edit]

Before the 2015–16 season, RB Leipzig invested further in strengthening the team, signing Davie Selke from Werder Bremen, Atınç Nukan from Beşiktaş, Marcel Halstenberg from FC St. Pauli and Willi Orban from 1. FC Kaiserslautern. Selke was signed for an estimated €8 million, Nukan for an estimated €5 million and Halstenberg for an estimated €3 million.[110][111] Meanwhile, Joshua Kimmich was sold to Bayern Munich and Rodnei left to join 1860 Munich as free agent.

RB Leipzig also made transfers with its unofficial sister club, the FC Red Bull Salzburg. As several times in the past, three players were signed on free transfer, among them the Austrian national Stefan Ilsanker. They were joined by Massimo Bruno and Marcel Sabitzer, returning to RB Leipzig from being on loan. These transfers provoked anger among the fans of FC Red Bull Salzburg. For several years had FC Red Bull Salzburg transferred some of its best players to RB Leipzig. Fans of FC Red Bull Salzburg were heard singing chants against RB Leipzig during a game in the ÖFB-Cup in April 2015, after Austrian media had reported that Stefan Ilskander could move to Leipzig during the summer.[112] [113][114]

The signing of Davie Selke was record breaking, being the most expensive player ever signed in the history of the 2. Bundesliga.[115] In total, the club spent a sum of approximately €18.6 million on new players during the summer of 2015, more than all other clubs in the 2. Bundesliga together.[116][117]

During the pre-season 2014–15, RB Leipzig defeated Southampton with 5–4 in Bischofshofen on 8 July 2015,[118] and Rubin Kazan with 1–0 in Leogang on 12 July 2015.[119] The team then went on to defeat Hapoel Tel Aviv with 3–0 at the Red Bull Arena on 18 July 2015.[120]

The club was drawn against VfL Osnabrück in the first round of the 2015–16 DFB-Pokal. The match was played at the Osnatel-Arena in Osnabrück on 10 August 2015. Osnabrück scored 1–0 already in the first minute, the home fans celebrated so violently that barriers and safety net partially collapsed and the match had to be interrupted. The match was restarted and Osnabrück led the match into the second half. In the 71st minute, referee Martin Petesen was badly hit in the head by a lighter, thrown from the home stand. The lighter had been thrown after Martin Peterson had tried to resolve an argument between Davie Selke and Osnabrück substitute Michael Hohnstedt, resulting from a controversial situation in the Osnabrück penalty area. The match was again interrupted, and later cancelled.[121][122] RB Leipzig offered a replay,[123] but the DFB decided the match to be counted as lost by Osnabrück with 0–2.[124] RB Leipzig later decided to waive 20,000 Euros of the 50,500 Euros VfL Osnabruck owned the club for its share of the revenues from the match. RB Leipzig also allowed the payment of the remaining 30,500 to be postponed until the next year.[125]

In the midst of the European migrant crisis in 2015, both club, staff, players and fans of RB Leipzig showed support for refugees. In August 2015, RB Leipzig donated €50,000 to the City of Leipzig for its work with helping asylum seekers. The club also sold 60 containers from its training center, including sanitary facilities, to the city, in order to serve as accommodation for asylum seekers. The club had originally invested around €500,000 in the containers. Moreover, the club became patrons of the initiative "Willkommen im Fußball", giving refugee children the opportunity to play football.[126][127] Staff and players of RB Leipzig collected and donated sporting equipment and private clothes to refugees. Also sporting director and head coach Ralf Rangnick participated in the donation, with personal concern for the commitment, citing his own background as being a child to refugees. His parents had met in a refugee camp at Glauchau, his father had fled from Königsberg and his mother from Breslau.[128][129][130] By initiative of fans, RB Leipzig invited refugees on free admission to watch its home match against SC Paderborn on 11 September 2015.[131][132] 450 refugees attended the match, they were met and accompanied by 200 fans before the match.[133]

Being counted as winner in the first round of the DFB-Pokal, RB Leipzig was qualified to the next round. The club was eliminated in the second round after losing 3–0 to a strong playing SpVgg Unterhaching from the Regionalliga Bayern at the Alpenbauer Sportpark on 27 October 2015.[134]

After defeating SV Sandhausen with 2–1 away at the 13th matchday on 1 November 2015, RB Leipzig stood at first place in the league.[135]

Colours and crest[edit]

RB Leipzig was directly set to play in the traditional red and white colours of Red Bull football teams.[15][38] All crests proposed at the club's founding were rejected by the Saxon Football Association (SFV), as they were considered copies of the corporate logo of Red Bull GmbH. The team therefore played its inaugural season in 2009–10 without a crest.[44][136] RB Leipzig later proposed a new crest, which was eventually accepted by the SFV in May 2010.[137] The crest was slightly different from the crests used by other Red Bull football teams. The two bulls had been altered in shape and added a few strokes.[32] The crest was used from the 2010–11 Regionalliga season until the end of the 2013–14 3. Liga season. It was however rejected by the German Football League (DFL) during the license procedure for the 2014–15 2. Bundesliga season.[76] As part of a compromise with the DFL, the club agreed to redesign its crest and introduced the current crest.[92] The current crest is significantly different from the crests used by other Red Bull football teams, although it is identical to the modified crest used by FC Red Bull Salzburg for international matches and due to UEFA regulations. The yellow sun has been changed in favor of a football and the initials of “RasenBallsport” have been relocated to the bottom of the crest and are no longer highlighted in red.[138]

Stadium[edit]

RB Leipzig played its inaugural season in 2009–10 at the Stadion am Bad in Markranstädt. The stadium held 5,000 seats and was the traditional home ground of SSV Markranstädt. The plans were however that the first team would quickly move to the far larger Zentralstadion.[13] Hopefully, already in 2010, after a possible advance to the Regionalliga.[22][27] Red Bull GmbH reserved the naming right to the stadium at the club’s founding, meaning that the name could not be sold to anyone else.[23][27][28][46] The company negotiated the acquisition of the naming right during the successful 2009–10 season and the proposed new name was approved by the City of Leipzig on 25 March 2010.[139][140][141] Red Bull GmbH then acquired the naming right and the Zentralstadion was renamed “Red Bull Arena” on 1 July 2010. The contract runs until 2040.[142][143] The inauguration was held on 24 July 2010, in a friendly match against Schalke 04, in front of 21,566 spectators.[57]

The Red Bull Arena had a capacity of 44,345 seats during the 2014–15 season. In March 2015, RB Leipzig announced that it was going to invest 5 million Euros in a redevelopment of the stadium.[144] The redevelopment included an expansion of the VIP area, the pressbox and the wheelchair spaces. It also included two new larger LED score boards and refurbished player facilities. The VIP area was expanded from 700 seats to approximately 1400 seats. The capacity of the Red Bull Arena was reduced to 42,959 seats before the 2015–16 season, due to the redevelopment of the various stadium areas.[145][146][147][148]

The Red Bull Arena is an all-seated stadium, without standing areas. Home supporters are located at the sector B. During the general meeting of the supporter union in 2014, the assembly raised a demand for converting sector B into a standing area. As of 2016, the demand has not yet been responded. In 2014, it was considered impossible to convert sector B into a standing area, due to the conditions relating to the structure of the stadium.[149]

Attendances[edit]

The first round of the 2011–12 DFB-Pokal against VfL Wolfsburg on 29 July 2011 at the Red Bull Arena was attended by 31,212 spectators. RB Leipzig won the match with 3–2. The match marked the club’s first appearance in the DFB-Pokal and the attendance set a new club record. [65][150] The record held for only three months. The second round in the 2011–12 DFB Pokal against FC Augsburg on 25 October 2011 at the Red Bull Arena was attended by 34,341 spectators. RB Leipzig was defeated 0–1, but the attendance set a new club record.[151] The last home game of the 2013–14 3. Liga season against 1. FC Saarbrucken on 3 May 2014 at the Red Bull Arena was a chance for RB Leipzig to secure direct promotion to the 2. Bundesliga. The match was attended by 42,713 spectators. RB Leipzig won the match 5–1 and secured promotion. The Red Bull Arena was almost sold out and the attendance set a new club record.[73][74] The Red Bull Arena was sold out for the first time in the third round of the 2014–15 DFB-Pokal against VfL Wolfsburg on 4 March 2015. The match was attended by 43,348 spectators, setting the current club record for a match at the Red Bull Arena as of 2016.[107][152]

RB Leipzig holds two attendance records. The 2011 Saxony Cup final against Chemnitzer FC on 1 June 2011 at the Red Bull Arena was attended by 13,958 spectators. The attendance set a new record for a Saxony Cup final.[61][69] The record was broken two years later, once again in a final between RB Leipzig and Chemnizer FC. The 2013 Saxony Cup final against Chemnitzer FC on 15 May 2013 at the Red Bull Arena was attended by 16,864 spectators.[69] The second attendance record held by RB Leipzig was set during the 2012–13 season, in the qualification for the 3. Liga. The qualifying match against Sportfreunde Lotte on 29 May 2013 at the Red Bull Arena was attended by 30,104 spectators. The attendance set a new record for a match in the fourth tier of the German football league system.[71]

RB Leipzig played its hundredth match at the Red Bull Arena on 4 October 2015, against 1. FC Nürnberg. At that point, the club reported a total attendance of 1,464,215 spectators, or an average of 14,643 spectators, for matches at the Red Bull Arena.[152]

Average home league attendances[edit]

Season Average attendance
2009–10 2,150[153]
2010–11 4,206[154]
2011–12 7,401[155]
2012–13 7,563[156]
2013–14 16,734[157]
2014–15 25,025[158]
2015–16 29,441[159]

Future expansion[edit]

In October 2014, German media reported that the club wanted to expand the Red Bull Arena to 55,000 seats for future first division Bundesliga play. An expansion to 55,000 seats would make the stadium one of the ten largest football venues in Germany. Who was to finance such an expansion remained unclear. German media considered that a possible option was that Red Bull GmbH bought the stadium, to make the investments itself, but it was also considered unlikely the current owner would be prepared to sell the stadium, which had just turned profitable.[160][161]

The club had since before reserved a large area near the A38 motorway north of Leipzig, close to the Leipzig/Halle Airport. The area could be used to build a completely new stadium. As this, the area could also be used to put pressure on the current owner of the Red Bull Arena to agree to an expansion. In March 2015, German media reported the club considered building a new stadium on the area north of Leipzig. Such stadium could be modeled after the Veltins-Arena in Gelsenkirchen or the Esprit Arena in Düsseldorf, and would have been built with a significantly larger capacity than the Red Bull arena, possibly up to 80,000 seats.[162][163][164][165]

Current owner of the Red Bull Arena, Michael Kölmel, gave comments on the plans to build a new stadium in an interview in August 2015. He pointed out how a new stadium on the outskirts of Leipzig could be detrimental to fan culture, and said that the Red Bull Arena could be expanded to 55,000 seats, and even more.[164]

In October 2015, an expansion of the Red Bull Arena was back on the agenda. New plans were made to expand the stadium to 57,000 seats, involving the Viennese architect Albert Wimmer. The reconstruction could start in the summer break of 2016.[166] In January 2016, the club decided to put the plans on hold, at least until 2017.[167]

In February 2016, German newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung reported that the club management again considered the possibility of building a new stadium with a capacity of 80,000 seats north of Leipzig. However, a prerequisite for such a project would be that ticket demand exceeds the supply of seats in the Red Bull Arena significantly and sustainably. A move to a new stadium could be possible in 2020, when the club's current contract to lease the Red Bull Arena expires.[168]

Supporters[edit]

RB Leipzig has 24 official fanclubs as of March 2016. The first two to become registered as official fanclubs were L.E Bulls and Bulls Club, both registered in 2009. L.E Bulls is the oldest official fanclub,[169] but Bulls Club claims to be the biggest.[170] There are also several non official fanclubs, such as Rasenballisten and Fraktion Red Pride. RB Leipzig also has a minor ultras scene with supporter groups such as Red Aces and Lecrats.[171][172] The German newspaper Mitteldeutsche Zeitung reported that RB Leipzig had 5,000 organized supporters by March 2016.[173]

The different fan clubs and supporter groups are organized in the supporter union Fanverband RB Leipzig Fans. The supporter union was founded in 2013. It is an umbrella organization for official fan clubs, unofficial fan clubs and other supporter groups. 25 supporter groups are currently organized in the supporter union, as of 2016. Each supporter group in the supporter union is represented by two representatives. The representatives of the supporter groups meet every 4 to 6 weeks. The supporter union also holds a general meeting once per year. Even fans that are not members of a supporter group are welcome at the general meeting. The supporter union is represented by five to seven fan representatives. These are elected every second year. A maximum of five fan representatives are elected by the representatives of the supporter groups, and an additional two fan representatives are elected by the general assembly. A core function of the fan representatives is to serve as a direct link to the club. The fan representatives can hold talks with club officials, for example, to communicate requests, suggestions and criticism from the supporter base. The fan representatives are also organized into working groups, relating to public relations, the stadium, finances, etc.[149][174][175] The first general meeting was held in November 2014 and gathered 350 supporters. Present were also club officials, such as general manager Ulrich Wolter. Topics discussed at the first general meeting were a conversion of sector B into a standing area, free seating on sector B, an establishment of a family sector, the music volume at the stadium, club songs and the catering at the stadium, etc.[149][176]

Several German newspapers have noted the emergence of distinctly nonconformist supporter groups at the Red Bull Arena. In January 2012, Leipziger Internet Zeitung reported on the appearance of ultra group Red Aces. The group members were said to see themselves as "Rasenballisten" and determined not to leave the supporter base solely to Red Bull GmbH.[171] In May 2014, Der Tagesspiegel reported on supporter group IG Rasenballisten. The group was said to highly value the name "RasenBallsport" and to be committed to give the club an identity beyond that offered by Red Bull GmbH. In the forefront, the group put the city of Leipzig.[177] In April 2015, Zeit reported further on this phenomena, notably supporter groups IG Rasenballisten and Lecrats. Their central idea was described as "Rasenballismus", stressing the Leipzig identity and the importance of passionated fans. Lecrats was described as geared towards the anti-commercial values of the ultra culture and as critics of Red Bull GmbH. IG Rasenballisten and the ultra groups were said to consciously avoid the reductions that apply to official fanclubs and to reject official club merchandise and the commercial name of the stadium.[178] In February 2015, the supporter group IG Rasenballisten became a registered voluntary association. The group had previously functioned as an interest community for other groups and individuals in the Red Bull Arena. Mitteldeutsche Zeitung reported that the group describes itself as uniting fanatical and critical fans of RB Lepizig. Members of Rasenballisten said that the group doesn't hesitate to criticize Red Bull GmbH, when found necessary, and stated that the identity of a club can not solely rely on the main sponsor. The group also makes a clear political statement, "Together for Leipzig – Rasenball against Racism". The statement can be found on scarfes sold by the group, and on a banner inside the stadium. RB Leipzig had previously refused to allow supporter groups such as Rasenballisten to sell their own merchandise at the stadium. But after lengthy negotiations, the club has given permission.[173][179]

The supporter group Red Aces took position against Legida, the local offshoot of Pegida, at the beginning of 2015. In an open letter to the club, the stadium operator, the Mayor of Leipzig and the citizens of Leipzig in January 2015, the group asked for support against a planned demonstration by Legida. The demonstration was set to begin near the Red Bull Arena, and the group specifically asked for the stadium light to be switched off at the time of the demonstration. The stadium operator decided to support the initiative and agreed to switch off the lightning.[180] Red Aces had also previously asked the club for permission to display banners against racism and Legida during the last home game of 2014. The club refused to allow the requested banners, according to Red Aces because the club did not want politics in the stadium. Despite the ban, the group displayed a banner directed towards Legida proclaiming the city of Leipzig to be diverse, cosmopolitan and tolerant.[181][182] In response to the demonstrations by Legida, the anti-racist action group Rasenball gegen Rassismus was founded by initiative of supporter groups Red Aces, Lecrats, Rabauken – Block 31 and IG Rasenballisten in January 2015.[183] Before the home match against SpVgg Greuther Fürth on 3 August 2015, Red Aces again asked for permission to display a banner against Legida, with the text "Ligaspiel und Legida – der Montag ist zum Kotzen da". The club refused to allow the requested banner. During the home match against FC St. Pauli on 23 August 2015, Red Aces was noted for defying the supposed ban on anti-racist banners in the stadium through displaying a banner with a clear anti-Nazi message.[184][185] Sporting director Ralf Ragnick later stated that there was no ban against anti-racist messages in stadium, explaining that the banner prohibited before the home match against SpVgg Greuther Fürth was prohibited because it contained abusive language, and that the club of course would agree if a fan wanted to display a banner with a message such as "RBL Fans against Racism".[186]

RB Leipzig supporters travelled in numbers to the first away match of 2016, against FC St. Pauli on 12 February 2016. Nearly 2,500 RB Leipzig supporters made its way to the Millerntorstadion and displayed a red and white flag tifo at the match start.[187][188] An even higher number of RB Leipzig supporters accompanied the team to Nuremberg one month later. The away match against 1. FC Nürnberg on 20 March 2016 at the Grundig-Stadion was attended by 2,800 RB Leipzig supporters, according to club statistics. The number set a new club record for away travels.[189][190][191]

Organization and finance[edit]

Association[edit]

RasenballSport Leipzig e.V is a registered voluntary association. Its executive body is the Vorstand, the management board. The management board is appointed by the Ehrenrat, the honorary board. It is also subordinated to the Aufsichtsrat, the supervisory board. The honorary board is elected directly by the club members at the general meeting.

Significant organizational changes were made in 2014, following requirements set up by the German Football League (DFL). One of the requirements was to change the composition of organizational bodies. Both the management board and the honorary board had been composed by either employees or agents of Red Bull.[79][80][192] This effectively contradicted fundamental principles of the 50+1 rule, as interpreted by the DFL,[79] and which aims to forbid the influence of third parties on the sporting decisions of a club.[76] As a part of a compromise with the DFL, the club made a binding declaration to ensure that the management board was to be occupied by a majority of persons independent of Red Bull.[92]

In addition, a supervisory board was added.[193] The honorary board had performed tasks that are normally performed by a separate controlling organizational body. These functions were now transferred to a newly created supervisory board that can perform these tasks independently. The club decided to transfer the former members of the honorary board to the newly created supervisory board.[194][195]

The association is responsible for men's junior teams from U8 to U14 and all women's football teams.[1]

Membership[edit]

Voting membership is severely restricted.[192] In contrast to all other association football clubs in Germany, there is no official way to become a voting member of RasenballSport Leipzig e.V. According to Ulrich Wolter, the club do not aspire towards the high number of members of other clubs. Wolter has also pointed at other clubs, where Ultras have succeeded in creating structures, and stated that the club absolutely wants to avoid such conditions.[196]

For the establishment of a registered voluntary association, an association is required by German law[197] to have at least seven members. Four years after its founding, the club had only 9 members, all employees of Red Bull.[198] By 2014 the registration fee for membership stood at 100 Euro[192] and the annual membership fee at 800 Euro,[199] in comparison to Bayern Munich who, by that time, offered membership at annual fees between 30 and 60 Euro.[56][200][201] In addition to this, a person willing to pay the fee could not expect to become a member, since the management board could reject an application without notice.[56][198]

This restrictive membership policy met criticism, thus one of the original requirements set up by the DFL in order to obtain a license for the 2014–15 2. Bundesliga season was to lower the membership fees and open up the association for new members. The club responded to the pressure from the DFL and announced changes to the membership in June 2014.[202] It is now possible for a person to become an official supporting member. The annual fee for this type of membership is between 70 and 1000 Euros and serves to promote junior football within the club. In return, a supporting member receives certain privileges such as a meeting with the professional team and a fitness session at the Red Bull Arena. Supporting members also have the right to attend general meetings, although without voting rights.[203] In order to improve participation in the association, supporting members are represented by one member in the supervisory board.[204]

GmbH[edit]

On 2 December 2014, the general meeting of the association voted unanimously for the founding of a spin-off organization in the form of a GmbH. The decision was taken at an extraordinary meeting. Present were 14 voting members and 40 supporting members.[205] Chairman Oliver Mintzlaff stated that the change was made for the club to be able to step up professionally and to remain competitive.[206][207] The RasenballSport Leipzig GmbH is responsible for the professional team, the reserve team and men's junior teams from U15 and above.[1][203][206]

As of 2015, Red Bull GmbH is the main shareholder of RasenballSport Leipzig GmbH, holding 99 percent of the shares. The remaining one percent is held by the association. However, as required by the 50 + 1 rule, formal power lies with the association, holding the majority of votes.[208][209]

As of April 2016, the general manager of RasenballSport Leipzig GmbH is Oliver Mintzlaff.[1]

Sponsorship[edit]

RB Leipzig's kits have been provided by German sportswear brand Adidas since the club's founding. In 2014, the club switched to the American sportswear brand Nike, in an agreement that will be in place until at least 2025.[210] In October 2014, the club also entered into promotional agreements with Hugo Boss, Porsche as youth sponsor and Volkswagen for stadium commercials.[211] On 20 May 2016, RB Leipzig extended its contract with Krostitzer Brauerei to be its official beer partner until 2018.[212]

Training center[edit]

In 2010, Red Bull announced its intention to engage long term in Leipzig. In this context the club sough a location for a training center and a youth academy. Towards the end of the year, the club made concrete plans to invest 30 million Euros in a training center comprising six pitches, offices and a youth academy. The training center was to be located at Cottaweg, partly on the area of the naturally protected riparian forest Leipziger Auwald and the site of the traditional fair Leipziger Kleinmesse. The plans met objections and concerns from environmental organizations and from the current users of the area, a Leipzig fairground association and the football club BSV Schönau 1983.[213][214] After negotiations, the City of Leipzig agreed to the plans on 15 December 2010.[215] RB Leipzig and the city of Leipzig later announced that the club was going to invest in an area of 92,000 square meters.[216]

The construction was to be carried out in two phases and began in March 2011.[152] During the first phase, three natural turf pitches, one artificial turf pitch and an artificial hill for physical exercises were built.[217] All four pitches were installed with floodlights, irrigation system and soil heating. Pitch one was also provided with four 38 meter masts producing HD-compatible lightning for optimal television broadcasts. Locker rooms, sanitary facilities and weight rooms were installed in 60 containers, totaling 720 square meters.[218] The first section of the training center was opened in August 2011.[219]

The second phase of construction began in January 2014.[152] The plans for the second phase were set to create one of Germanys largest training centers for an estimated cost of 35 million Euros.[220] Involved in the project was the Dortmund based architect Christoph Helbich, who had previously been involved in the building of a new training center for Borussia Dortmund. For the second phase, the training center was to be expanded with two pitches, an area for goalkeeping practices and a three story 13,500 square meters sports complex, meant to offer amenities for all RB Leipzig teams, from the U8 team to the professional team. In addition, pitch one was to be provided with a covered grandstand with at least 1,000 seats, for A- and B-junior matches.[216][221][222][223][224]

The new sports complex was opened in September 2015 and taken in use by the professional team and six junior teams, from U14 to the reserve team.[152][225] It contains an 800 square meters indoor hall, an indoor tartan track for sprint exercises, weight rooms, cold chambers, a spa area, medical facilities and individual relaxation rooms for each professional player. It also houses a media center, new offices, a boarding school for 50 youth players and a café for parents and fans.[221][222][224][226] The RB Leipzig training center with its sports complex is considered one of the most unique and modern in Germany.[222]

Remains to be constructed in the spring of 2016 are a covered grandstand with 1,000 seats, an area for motor skills-training and a parking area.[152] The artificial hill for physical exercises, humorously called the "Felix Magath Memorial Hill",[227] is also to be reconstructed.[152]

As of 2015, the club has already plans for even further expansions of the training center. The club wants to build an additional pitch to the south of the training center. Such expansion would require more ground from the Leipziger Kleinmesse, and is therefore met with several objections.[228] More certain is a future expansion to the north of the training center.[229] This area is used by the football club BSV Schönau 1983 and the tennis club TC Grün-Weiß Leipzig. BSV Schönau 1983 has a contract to lease the area until 2026. The club ceded parts of its grounds to RB Leipzig in 2011. For this, the club received compensation. In total, RB Leipzig spent 900,000 Euros for the construction of new grounds for BSC Schönau 1983. The area currently leased by BSV Schönau 1983 is already pledged to RB Leipzig when the lease contract ends in 2026.[229][230]

Players[edit]

Current squad[edit]

As of 29 January 2016[231][232]
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Switzerland GK Fabio Coltorti
2 Germany DF Benno Schmitz
3 Germany DF Anthony Jung
4 Germany DF Willi Orban
5 Turkey DF Atınç Nukan
6 Germany MF Rani Khedira
7 Austria FW Marcel Sabitzer
9 Denmark FW Yussuf Poulsen
10 Sweden FW Emil Forsberg
13 Austria MF Stefan Ilsanker
14 Belgium MF Massimo Bruno
16 Germany DF Lukas Klostermann
17 Germany FW Nils Quaschner
No. Position Player
18 United States FW Terrence Boyd
22 Germany GK Benjamin Bellot
23 Germany DF Marcel Halstenberg
24 Germany MF Dominik Kaiser
27 Germany FW Davie Selke
31 Germany MF Diego Demme
32 Hungary GK Péter Gulácsi
33 Germany DF Marvin Compper
35 Germany DF Alexander Sorge
Germany GK Marius Müller
Guinea MF Naby Keïta
Germany FW Timo Werner
Israel FW Omer Damari

Players out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Hungary MF Zsolt Kalmár (at FSV Frankfurt)[233]
No. Position Player
Bosnia and Herzegovina FW Smail Prevljak (at Red Bull Salzburg)

For recent transfers, see Transfers summer 2015 and Transfers winter 2015–16.

Notable players[edit]

Players with 50 or more professional league appearances[edit]

Statistics correct as of the end of the 2015–16 season.

Name Nationality Position RB Leipzig career Appearances Notes[234][235][236]
Kaiser, DominikDominik Kaiser  Germany Midfielder 2012– 97
Poulsen, YussufYussuf Poulsen  Denmark Forward 2013– 97
Jung, AnthonyAnthony Jung  Germany Defender 2013– 78
Demme, DiegoDiego Demme  Germany Midfielder 2014– 74
Coltorti, FabioFabio Coltorti   Switzerland Goalkeeper 2012– 63
Sebastian, TimTim Sebastian  Germany Defender 2010–16 63
Frahn, DanielDaniel Frahn  Germany Forward 2010–15 57
Teigl, GeorgGeorg Teigl  Austria Defender 2014–16 54
Kimmich, JoshuaJoshua Kimmich  Germany Midfielder 2013–15 53
Compper, MarvinMarvin Compper  Germany Midfielder 2014– 50

Captains[edit]

  • Only captains in competitive matches are included.
  • Players marked in bold are still playing in the professional team.
Captain Nationality Years Notes
Hertzsch, IngoIngo Hertzsch  Germany 2009–10 [237]
Sebastian, TimTim Sebastian  Germany 2010–11 [237]
Frahn, DanielDaniel Frahn  Germany 2011–15 [238]
Kaiser, DominikDominik Kaiser  Germany 2015– [239]

Staff[edit]

Current staff[edit]

As of 13 May 2016

Position Name Notes[240][241][242]
Head coach Germany Ralf Rangnick
Assistant coach Germany Achim Beierlorzer
Assistant coach Hungary Zsolt Löw
Goalkeeping coach Germany Frederik Gößling
Athletic coach Germany Nicklas Dietrich
Athletic coach Germany Kai Kraft
Sports coordinator Germany Frank Aehlig
Team manager Germany Daniel Baude
Club doctor Germany Dr. Frank Striegler
Club doctor Germany Dr. Ralf Zimmermann
Sports psychologist Germany Sascha Lense
Goalkeeper coordinator Germany Perry Bräutigam
Goalkeeper coordinator Germany Eberhard Trautner [243]
Physiotherapist Germany Alexander Sekora
Physiotherapist Germany Sven Wobser
Physiotherapist Germany Nikolaus Schmidt
Physiotherapist Germany Christopher Weichert
Kit manager Germany Peter Hergert
Video analyst Germany Daniel Ackermann
Video analyst Germany Danny Röhl

Coach history[edit]

# Head coach Nationality From Until Days Notes
1 Vogel, TinoTino Vogel  Germany July 1, 2009 May 30, 2010 333 [244]
2 Oral, TomasTomas Oral  Germany July 1, 2010 June 30, 2011 364 [244]
3 Pacult, PeterPeter Pacult  Austria July 1, 2011 June 30, 2012 365 [244]
4 Zorniger, AlexanderAlexander Zorniger  Germany July 1, 2012 Feb 10, 2015 954 [244]
5 Beierlorzer , AchimAchim Beierlorzer  Germany Feb 11, 2015 June 30, 2015 39 [244]Note 1
6 Rangnick, RalfRalf Rangnick  Germany July 1, 2015 June 30, 2016 365 [244]
7 Hasenhüttl, RalphRalph Hasenhüttl  Austria July 1, 2016 [244][245]

Notes

  1. Interim coach.

Past seasons[edit]

Season League Place W D L GF GA Pts DFB Cup
2009–10 NOFV-Oberliga Süd (V) 1 26 2 2 74 17 80 not qualified
2010–11 Regionalliga Nord (IV) 4 18 10 6 57 29 64 not qualified
2011–12 Regionalliga Nord 3 22 7 5 71 30 73 Round 2
2012–13 Regionalliga Nordost 1 21 9 0 65 22 72 not qualified
2013–14 3. Liga (III) 2 24 7 7 65 34 79 Round 1
2014–15 2. Bundesliga (II) 5 13 11 10 39 31 50 Round of 16
2015–16 2. Bundesliga 2 20 7 7 54 32 67 Round 2
2016–17 Bundesliga (I)
Green marks a season followed by promotion, red a season followed by relegation.

Reserve team[edit]

History[edit]

The first reserve team was formed out of the second team of SSV Markranstädt and played its inaugural season in the 2009-10 Bezirksliga Leipzig. The team finished the season on first place and won promotion to the 2010-11 Sachsenliga. However, as part of the deal with SSV Markranstädt, the team was returned to SSV Markranstädt after the 2009-10 season, and would then go on to play the 2010-11 Sachsenliga as the new first team of SSV Markranstädt.

In order to replace the reserve team and to avoid having to begin with its reserve team from the bottom of the German football league system, RB Leipzig entered a partnership with ESV Delitzsch from the city of Delitzsch in the northwest of Saxony. RB Leipzig adopted the first team of ESV Delitzsch as its new reserve team and purchased its playing license for the Berzirksliga Leipzig.[55] The team again finished the Bezirksliga Leipzig on first place, and won promotion to the 2011-12 Sachsenliga, where it would face the first team of SSV Markranstädt.

By the looming bankruptcy of FC Sachsen Leipzig, which eventually ended with the club folding in June 2011, RB Leipzig considered purchasing its playing license for the Oberliga for its reserve team. RB Leipzig initially showed interest for the playing license, but later withdrew. A condition for the acquisition was that at least 51 percent of the players in the team must be integrated in the new club, but RB Leipzig instead chose to develop its own reserve team.[246][247]

Tino Vogel was appointed new head coach for the 2011-12 season. The team was also joined by senior defender Ingo Hertzsch, who had left the professional team. The reserve team finished its first season in the Sachsenliga on fourth place. The league was instead won by SSV Markranstädt, who recaptured a license for the Oberliga.[248] The team improved and finished the 2012-13 Sachsenliga season on third place. The team then managed to secure a first place in 2013-14 Sachsenliga, and finally won promotion to the NOFV-Oberliga Süd, after three seasons in the Sachsenliga. Forward Tom Nattermann scored 32 goals during the season, finishing the 2013-14 Sachsenliga as the league top goal scorer by wide margin.[249][250]

The 2014-15 season included opponents such as SSV Markranstädt and 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig,[251] but the reserve team successfully adapted to the Oberliga and came to dominate its league. The team finished the 2014-15 NOFV-Oberliga Süd on first place, and immediately won promotion to the Regionalliga Nordost. Forward Tom Nattermann scored 26 goals during the season, only beaten by Jan Nezmar from FC Oberlausitz Neugersdorf.[252]

Before the 2015-16 season, almost half of the players from the previous season left the team, including top goal scorer Tom Natterman, who left for FC Erzgebirge Aue.[252] The team was instead joined by several new players, almost all coming from the club's own ranks, of which six players were brought up from the A-junior team.[253][254]

Incumbent B-junior coach Robert Klauß was appointed new head coach for the 2016-17 season, replacing Tino Vogel, who had led the reserve team from the Bezirksliga Leipzig to the Regionalliga Nordost.[255][256] The team was again joined by several players from the A-junior team, as well as 19-year-old talent Dominik Martinovic from the FC Bayern Munich A-junior team.[257] The young recruits resulted in the reserve team having the youngest team in the Regionalliga before the 2016-17 season. The average age stood at only 19 years and 5 months in June 2016.[258]

Stadium[edit]

The reserve team plays it home matches at the Stadion am Bad in Markranstädt. The stadium is the traditional home ground of SSV Markanstädt, and is therefore shared with the club. In 2013, RB Leipzig made plans to build its own amateur stadium. The first plans envisioned a new stadium with 5,000 seats at the RB Leipzig training center at Cottaweg.[221] However, because of the limited space at Cottaweg and the complicated approval procedures, these plans were scrapped. The club instead aimed to build the stadium near the Sportschule Egidius Braun of the Saxony Football Association (SFV) at Abtaundorf.[259]

Current squad[edit]

The team is coached by Tino Vogel.[260] As of 15 September 2015

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Germany GK Dominic-René Heine
2 Bulgaria DF Yuliyan Chapaev
3 Germany DF Sören Reddemann
4 Germany DF Sebastian Konik
5 Germany MF Henrik Ernst
6 Germany MF René-Mike Legien
7 Germany FW Dennis Rothenstein
8 Germany FW Federico Palacios Martínez
9 Germany FW Daniel Barth
10 Poland FW Vincent Rabiega
11 Germany FW Janik Mäder
No. Position Player
12 Germany MF Fridolin Wagner
13 Germany DF Hannes Mietzelfeld
14 Germany MF Alexander Siebeck
15 Germany FW Joshua Endres
17 Germany DF Jonas Hildebrandt
19 Germany DF Constantin Heider
20 Germany DF Alexander Sorge
22 Germany GK Sebastian Brune
23 Finland DF Mikko Sumusalo
33 Germany GK Fritz Pflug

Past seasons[edit]

Season League Place W D L GF GA Pts
2009–10 Bezirksliga Leipzig (VII) 1 23 5 2 109 27 74
2010–11 Bezirksliga Leipzig 1 18 6 6 65 32 60
2011–12 Sachsenliga (VI) 4 15 8 7 62 34 53
2012–13 Sachsenliga 3 21 4 5 69 25 67
2013–14 Sachsenliga 1 23 6 1 99 18 75
2014–15 NOFV-Oberliga Süd (V) 1 23 3 4 82 21 72
2015–16 Regionalliga Nordost (IV) 11 12 8 14 49 48 44
Green marks a season followed by promotion, red a season followed by relegation.

Junior football[edit]

As of 2015, RB Leipzig has 17 men and women's junior teams with 250 players, including the Reserve team. 25 players were youth nationals by the turn of the year.[152][261][262][263]

Training and matches are conducted at several grounds in Leipzig. The main ground is the RB training center at Cottaweg, which is shared with the professional team. Other grounds include the Sportschule Egidius Braun of the Saxony Football Federation (SFV) at Abtnaundorf. The RB training center with its sports complex is currently used by men's junior teams from U14 to the Reserve team, as the location of the youth academy.[152]

The club arranges the RB Leipzig Football School at different locations several times per year. The RB Leipzig Football School is a multi-day training camp, for boys and girls aged between seven and 14 years.[264] A planned training camp in Halle in 2015 was initially cancelled for security reasons, after threats of violence from local football fans.[263][265]

RB Leipzig has a partnership in junior football with SC Pfullendorf.[266][267] The club has also cooperated in junior football with several local clubs, such as 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig, BSV Schönau 1983 and ESV Delitzsch.[268][269]

The 17 RB Leipzig junior teams collected 9 league titles and 3 cup titles together during the 2014–15 season.[270] The following season was even more successful in terms of number of titles won. The 17 RB Leipzig junior teams collected 8 league titles and 6 cup titles during the 2015-16 season.[271]

Men's junior football[edit]

The first four men's junior teams, from A- to D-juniors, were acquired from FC Sachsen Leipzig in the summer of 2009.[44] After leaving his job as head coach of the professional team in 2010, Tino Vogel served as head coach of the A-junior team, before being appointed new head coach of the reserve team in 2011.[255]

The B-junior team qualified for the Under 17 Bundesliga in 2011.[272] The team won the Under 17 Bundesliga Nord/Nordost and qualified for the German championship for the first time in 2014. The team reached the final, but was defeated by Borussia Dortmund.[273]

The A-junior team qualified for the Under 19 Bundesliga in 2014. Incumbent B-junior coach Frank Leicht was announced as new head coach for the 2014–15 season. He was replaced as B-junior coach by Achim Beierlorzer, who had previously been employed for four years as B-junior coach at SpVgg Greuther Fürth.[274] Achim Beierlorzer was later replaced by incumbent U14 coach Robert Klauß, after being appointed interim coach of the professional team in February 2015.[255]

The 2014–15 season proved successful. The A-junior team won the Under 19 Bundesliga Nord/Nordost, and the B-junior team won the Under 17 Bundesliga Nord/Nordost for a second time in two consecutive years. With its A- and B-junior teams, RB Leipzig was the only club in Germany with two teams left in the final rounds of the German championship in 2015.[275]

As of 2015, the club has 14 men's junior teams, ranging from U8 to the Reserve team.[152] Two players from the A-junior team, Vitaly Janelt and Dominik Franke, were selected to play for the Germany national under-17 team in the 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup.[276]

Women's junior football[edit]

In June 2013, RB Leipzig announced the creation of its first two women's football teams, starting from the 2013–14 season. The first two teams created were a C- and a D-junior team. The C-junior team was to be trained by Mandy Morgenstern and start in the Bezirksliga.[277] The D-junior team was to be trained by Susann Seiring and start in the 1. Kreisklasse.[278]

In June 2016, RB Lepzig accepted to take over the youth department of women's football club FFV Leipzig from 1 July 2016. The deal followed upon a period of financial difficulties for FFV Leipzig, and the club had for a while sought to transfer its youth department to RB Leipzig. The take over includes the U17, U15 and U13 teams of FFV Leipzig, which from the 2016-17 season will be integrated into the RB Leipzig junior teams.[279][280]

As of 2015, the club has three women's junior teams, ranging from B- to D-juniors.[152][270] The D-junior team won the 2015–16 Landespokal, collecting the club's first title of the season.[281]

Youth academy[edit]

The RB Leipzig youth academy is the multi-layered youth system of RB Leizpig. It is located at the RB Leipzig training center at Cottaweg. The establishment of a successful youth academy has been an integral part of the club's long term strategy and philosophy since its early years.[282][283][284][285] Red Bull GbmH owner Dietrich Mateschitz said by the club's founding that his hopes were that the majority of the professional team would in the future have come through the ranks of the club's own academy.[286][287] Sporting director Ralf Rangnick said in 2012 that the ambition was to each year introduce one or two players from the youth academy in the professional team.[288]

Planning for a training center with facilities for a youth academy began in 2010, and the first section of the training center was opened in August 2011. Shortly after Ralf Ragnick became new Sporting director in July 2012, he began an extensive restructuring of the club. RB Leipzig recruited the duo Frieder Schrof and Thomas Albeck from the VfB Stuttgart youth academy in September 2012. Frieder Schrof had for years been successfully employed at VfB Stuttgart, responsible for the development of players such as Mario Gomez, Sami Khedira, Serdar Tasci and Thomas Hitzlsperger. During his time at the club, the A- and B-junior teams won 15 German championships. Frieder Schrof became head of the youth department.[289][290] Soon thereafter, RB Leipzig also recruited Thomas Schlieck from Schalke 04. Thomas Schlieck had previously been employed as goalkeeper coordinator at Schalke 04 and had before that been employed for twelve years as goalkeeping coach at Arminia Bielefeld. Thomas Schlieck became goalkeeper coordinator, responsible for goalkeeper training and development from the U8 to the professional team. He was also employed to work with goalkeeper scouting.[291][292]

The youth academy became a certified DFB-Youth academy in October 2012.[293]

An expansion of the training center at Cottaweg began in January 2014. The plans included a 13,500 square meters sports complex, with extensive facilities for the youth academy. The RB Leipzig youth academy together with three of its schooling partners, the Sächsisches Landesgymnasium für Sport Leipzig, the Sportoberschule Leipzig and the Rahn Dittrich Group in Leipzig, received certificate as DFB-Elite school in November 2014. 105 youth players were enrolled in schools of the three partners as of September 2014.[294][295] Other schooling partners of the youth academy included the Gutenbergschule and the Sportschule Egidius Braun of the Saxony Football Federation (SFV).[296]

The youth academy was certified with the highest rating, three stars and the title "Excellent", by the DFB and the DFL in July 2015. The certificate placed the youth academy among the highest rated youth academies in Germany.[297]

The new sports complex at the RB Training center was opened in September 2015. The training center now has a boarding school with rooms for 50 students, more than any other in the Bundesliga. 48 rooms were occupied by players aged between 15 and 19 years already by October 2015.[298][299]

The style of play taught at the youth academy is aggressive, ball oriented, and run intensive, with forward defending and fast transitions.[300][301][302] The youth academy demands the highest discipline from its players. Youth players have to pay attention not only to their physical shape, but also to their appearance. The youth academy imposes fines for weight gains and its Code of conduct contains regulations on both hair style and tattoos. Unusual hair styles and tattoos are forbidden.[299][303]

The scouting system operates worldwide, in cooperation with other football clubs in the Red Bull sporting portfolio. Up to U11, only children from Leipzig and the immediate vicinity are reqruited. Up to U15, players within a radius of 100 kilometers are requited. From U16 an above, scouting is done in the whole of Germany and worldwide.[300] Asked what type of players the youth academy looked for, Frieder Shrof said that players who come to RB Leipzig, must comply with the club's philosophy: be ball-hunters, be mentally and physically fast.[302]

For scouting purposes, the club arranges an annual "Talent Scouting Day", where boys and girls aged between six and 16 years are scouted. The Talent Scouting Day is done over three to five days. Young players are tested in speed tests, technique training, a 5-a-side tournament and a final match. The most talented players are invited to train with the junior teams. The Talent Scouting Day in 2015 had 1,000 applicants, of which 700 were selected. At the end of the day, 90 young players received invitations to the junior teams. The Talent Scouting Day in 2015 drew participants not only from Leipzig and surrounding cities, but also from Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia, Berlin, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Lower Saxony, Baden-Württemberg, and even Austria.[304][305][306][307]

The RB Leipzig youth academy has been accused of poaching young players from other clubs in questionable ways. One of the first to complain was FC Carl Zeiss Jena in 2012. The club said that young talents had been poached by RB Leipzig right at its own youth academy and with lucrative offers.[308] Similar complaint did also come from other clubs in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.[309] Complaints later also came from Eintracht Frankfurt, after 15-year-old talent Renat Dadachev left the club for RB Leipzig in 2014, allegedly for a much higher payment.[310][311] Frieder Shrof gave comments on these accusations in an interview in 2014, saying that the club was not interested in attracting young players with money.[300] He said that young players coming to RB Leipzig for money, have gone to the wrong place, and that the club wants to attract young players with good conditions for development and good education. In another interview in 2015, he added that what the club do is reasonable and legitimate, and that other clubs do just the same.[298] In 2015, RB Lepzig was noted for signing the 15-year-old talent Elias Abouchabaka from Hertha BSC for a remarkable transfer-fee of 250,000 Euros. The signing was preceded by a legal dispute and was criticized for the way it was done. RB Leipzig was accused by Hertha BSC for disregarding a Gentlemen's agreement on young talents between the 36 Bundesliga clubs.[312][313]

The RB Leipzig youth academy cooperates with the youth academies of FC Red Bull Salzburg, New York Red Bulls and Red Bull Brasil. The youth academy has also had a cooperation with the youth academy of the now dissolved Red Bull Ghana. The cooperation covers several areas, primarily scouting, medicine and training philosophy.[302] The cooperation in scouting forms a network, reaching worldwide. In Europe, scouting is divided. RB Leipzig scouts more to the north, and FC Red Bull Salzburg scouts more to the south.[314]

Honours[edit]

League[edit]

Cup[edit]

Reserve team

Youth League[edit]

Youth Cup[edit]

  • Under 19 Landespokal Sachsen
    • Winners (3): 2011–12, 2012–13, 2015–16
  • Under 17 Landespokal Sachsen
    • Winners (4): 2011–12, 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014–15
  • Under 17 NOFV-Pokal
    • Winners (2): 2012–13, 2015–16

Affiliated clubs[edit]

The following clubs were formerly affiliated with the club:

  • Germany SSV Markranstädt (partnership was ended in June 2010)
  • Germany ESV Delitzsch, functioned as Reserve Team (partnership was ended in June 2011)

Criticism[edit]

The establishment of RB Leipzig has caused much controversy in Germany. The controversy has revolved around the apparent involvement of Red Bull GmbH and the restrictive membership policy. This has been seen as contrary to common practice in Germany, where football clubs have traditionally relied on voluntary registered associations, with sometimes very large number of members, and where the 50 + 1 rule has ensured that club members have a formal controlling stake.[56][315][316] RB Leipzig has been criticized for allegedly being founded as a marketing tool and for allegedly taking commercialization of football in Germany to a new level.[37][56][317][318][319][320] The club has been rejected as a “marketing club”, a “commercial club” or a “plastic club”.[321] The criticism has been widespread. Critics have been found both in the management and among coaches and supporters of other clubs.

The introduction of RB Leipzig was met with protests from supporters of other Leipzig football clubs, notably 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig and FC Sachsen Leipzig. They feared a decline of traditional fan culture in Leipzig, and a commercialization of football in the region. After the partnership with SSV Markranstädt had become known, protests immediately appeared in Leipzig suburbs. Red Bull advertising boards at the Stadion am Bad in Markranstädt was smeared with graphitti and the pitch was purposely destroyed by a weed killer.[35][322] Apart from these actions, protests in Leipzig were generally non-violent.[38] Despite RB Leipzig playing its inaugural season in 2009-10 in the same league as 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig and FC Sachsen Leipzig, criticism from these clubs was moderate. 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig chairman Steffen Kubald neverless said that the match against RB Leipzig would for each team be the match of the season, and that RB Leipzig was the “Bayern Munich of the Oberliga”.[323][324]

The German economist Dr. Tobias Kollman said in 2009 that he saw Red Bull GmbH as a company with clear economic goals for its projects. Consequently, he described RB Leipzig as a “marketing club” and said that it was the first of this kind in Germany. He further described the activities of Red Bull GmbH in Leipzig a “sports political earthquake” in Germany.[24] Borussia Dortmund chairman Hans-Joachim Watzke and Eintracht Frankfurt chairman Heribet Bruchhagen warned in 2013 that clubs backed by major companies or financially strong patrons could pose a threat to the entire Bundesliga, talking of a “clash of culture”. They complained that such clubs are pushing back traditional clubs, and warned that RB Leipzig could well be the next such club to push a traditional club out of the Bundesliga.[325][326] Hans-Joachim Watzke said in 2014 that he considered RB Leipzig as behaving “morally questionable”, with reference to its transfer policy in close cooperation with FC Red Bull Salzburg, and pointed at its signing of Marcel Sabitzer.[327][328] Hans-Joachim Watzke has nerveless said that he was not an opponent of RB Leipzig, that he would appreciate a Bundesliga club from Saxony and that RB Leipzig was warmly welcome as long as the German Football Association (DFB) ensures that the club complies with the “democratic rules of football” and the club finances its own operations.[329] Peter Neururer has been a more fierce critic. As head coach of VfL Bochum, he said in 2014 that RB Leipzig "made him sick" and that he considered the club to be built on purely economical interests. He further complained that competing with RB Leipzig was not a fair deal, because the club could sign the players it wanted, and that such competition “had nothing to do with the sport that we love”.[330][331]

RB Leipzig and Red Bull GmbH have met protests from supporter groups across Germany.[332][333] Supporters of traditional clubs have regarded RB Leipzig as a symbol of a victory of money over tradition and have rejected the club as a "plastic club". They have protested against commercialization of football, the apparent involvement of Red Bull GmbH and the allegedly undemocratic structures at RB Leipzig.[318][319][320][321]

Following that RB Leipzig gained promotion to the 2. Bundesliga in 2014, supporter groups from ten clubs in the 2. Bundesliga created a campaign against the club, called “Nein zu RB” (“No to RB”).[165][319][334][335][336] Since then, numerous groups across Germany have joined the campaign. In March 2015, the campaign web page indicated a number of 182 supporter groups from 29 clubs.[333]

At away matches, the club has regularly been greeted with protests in various forms. During the away match against 1. FC Union Berlin on 21 September 2014, the home supporters symbolically wore black plastic ponchos and were silent for the first 15 minutes of the match. A large banner displayed by home supporters said: "In Leipzig, the football culture is dying". Another banner displayed said: "Football needs workers’ participation, loyalty, standing terraces, emotion, financial fair play, tradition, transparency, passion, history, independence".[337][338][339] At the away match against FC Erzgebirge Aue on 6 February 2015, the home supporters displayed banners which compared Dietrich Mateschitz to Adolf Hitler and supporters of RB Leipzig to blind Nazi followers.[340][341] FC Erzgebirge Aue was later fined 35,000 Euros by the DFB for the banners.[342] At the away match against 1. FC Heidenheim on 18 September 2015, the player bus was approached upon the arrival at the stadium by supporters of 1. FC Heidenheim who pelted the bus with hundreds of counterfeit dollar bills printed with a caricature of Dietrich Mateschitz depicted with a large hooked nose and the text “Scheiß Red Bull” (“Shit Red Bull”) and "In Capitalism he trusts".[343][344] The action later led to a police investigation, for a possibly dangerous interference with traffic safety and for the imprint.[345]

During the home match against FC Hansa Rostock on 23 November 2013, the away supporter protested by being entirely absent for the first seven minutes of the match and then filled the guest block in large numbers.[346][347] A similar protest was also carried out during the home match against 1. FC Union Berlin on 19 February 2016.[348] Other supporter groups in Germany have entirely refused to travel to away matches at the Red Bull Arena.[318][332]

At some occasions, the protests have turned into violence and threats.[265][318][333][342][349] RB Leipzig had to cancel three friendly matches in July 2009 for security reasons.[350] At the first league match, away against FC Carl Zeiss Jena II on 8 August 2009, riots appeared when the police dissolved a blockade attempting to prevent the player bus from entering the stadium. The player bus was attacked with bottles, and the police had to use pepper spray to succeed. The team was insulted, spat at and pelted with beer cups during the warm-up, and had to leave the stadium with police escort after the match.[351][352][353][354] At the away match against Hallescher FC on 19 July 2013, the player bus was again attacked. Riots also appeared after the match when home supporters tried to break through a security perimeter to approach away supporters. Firecrackers and other objects were thrown at the police, and four police officers were slightly injured in the turmoil.[355][356][357] Before the away match against Karlsruher SC on 9 March 2015, several supporters of RB Leipzig received letters, indirectly threatening them with violence if they decided to support their team in Karlsruhe. The night before the match, the lobby of the player hotel in Karlsruhe was stormed by local hooligans.[333][349][358]

Several football clubs, such as VfB Stuttgart, 1. FC Nurnberg, TSV 1860 Munich, 1. FC Union Berlin, FC Erzgebirge Aue, Kickers Offenbach, Chemnitzer FC and KSV Hessen Kassel, have cancelled friendly matches against RB Leipzig, due to protests from their own supporters.[359][360][361][362]

Some critics can however also be found among the supporters of RB Leipzig. The supporter group Rasenballisten describes itself as uniting critical supporters. The group members have stated that the identity of a club cannot solely rely on its main sponsor and the group has criticized Red Bull GmbH for dominating the external representation of the club. Instead, the group wants to emphasize the name RasenBallsport and the Leipzig identity.[363]

Representatives of Red Bull GmbH and RB Leipzig and other people have commented on the issues and responded to the criticism. Sporting director Ralf Rangnick has pointed at the fact that sponsors and investors are present also at other clubs. He has rhetorically asked what the difference was between the commitments of Audi AG and Adidas AG at FC Bayern Munich, and the commitment of Red Bull GmbH at RB Leipzig? He admitted that there was a difference: FC Bayern Munich first had sporting success, and then sponsors and investors. However, he insisted that the situaton at VfL Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen was exactly the same, and that VfL Wolfsburg became German champions in 2009 to a very large extent due to the financial support from Volkswagen AG.[364] Dietrich Mateschitz said in 2009 that the sports commitment of Red Bull GmbH was indeed different from the sports commitments of other companies. He explained that when the company is committed in sports, it is involved in the sports opeations itself.[286] He has further explained in 2007 that where the company is committed, it is integrated and takes responsibility for the sports performance, with a wish to build the identity of the brand and the sport.[365] General manager Ulrich Wolter said in 2013 that Dietrich Mateschitz was not an oligarch or a Sheikh who buys a toy club, but someone who tries to generate success through long term sustainable contribution to youth and professional football.[366] Ulrich Wolter has also commented on club's profile and said that it was only normal for a sponsor to want to make its brand known.[367]

It has been suggested that the restrictive membership policy was implemented in order to prevent the club from being taken over by hostile supporters.[368] General manager Ulrich Wolter commented on the restrictive membership policy in 2013 and said that the club wanted to offer the greatest possible degree of legal certainty for its investors. He also said that the conditions that had prevailed at some other clubs had certainly not been positive for their development.[369] Blogger Matthias Kiessling, who has covered RB Leipzig continually since 2010,[370] commented on the restrictive membership policy in 2013 and said that the much lauded membership system of other clubs only existed pro forma anyway, and that participation now takes place via other channels, such as social media.[56] RB Leipzig and club supporters have since the club's founding successively developed procedures to enable participation and dialogue. The club entered a cooperation agreement with the supporter organization Fanproject Leipzig in 2013, and the club also has a dialogue with the fan representatives of the supporter union Fanverband RB Leipzig Fans.[371][372]

Both Dietrich Mateschitz and sporting director Ralf Rangnick have made comments on transfer policy. Dietrich Mateschitz commented on the football commitment of Red Bulll GmbH in 2007 and said that the company was “no good stars buyers”.[373] In an interview with Austrian sports website Sportnet in 2010 he said: “I am not Abarmovic. What we do, we try to do with our brain. Nothing is easier than to take a bag full of money and go shopping. That is supid, stupid we are not”.[374] In an interview with German newspaper Leipziger Volkszeitung in 2013 he further said: “It is not about a a race, to arrive as soon as possible in the Bundesliga with as many mercenaries as possible, but about healthy development and healthy growth. And that with as many own players as possible”.[375][376] Sporting director Ralf Rangnick commented on the club's transfer policy in 2013 and said that RB Leipzig was actually fishing in a very small pond, only signing players aged between 17 and 23 years old, and that RB Leipzig was the only club in the 2. Bundesliga who had not signed any players from another club in the league.[321] The establishment of a successful youth academy has also been an integral part of the club’s long term strategy since its founding.[282] Dietrich Mateschitz said in 2009 that his hopes were that the majority of the professional team would in the future have come through the ranks of the club's own academy.[286][287] General manager Ulrich Wolter said in 2013 that the club wanted to build an “Eastern lighthouse”, so that young players from East Germany would not always have to migrate to West Germany to develop.[366] The youth work at RB Leipzig received much praise from the German Football League (DFL) in 2014.[377]

Several people have responded to the rejection of RB Leipzig as a “plastic club”, which lacks traditions. Sporting director Joachim Krug said in 2009 that RB Leipzig was simply a newly founded club with high ambitions.[37] Head coach Tino Vogel filled in and said that a some point, every new tradition begins.[35] Supporters of RB Leipzig were noted for displaying banners saying "Let this tradition begin" during the first competitive matches in 2009,[378] and manager Dieter Gudel said in 2010 that RB Leipzig could well write "Tradition since 2009" on its pennants.[32] Dietrich Mateschitz said in 2013 that the only difference between RB Leipzig and FC Bayern Munich was one hundred years of tradition, and that in five hundred years, RB Leipzig will be five hundred years old and FC Bayern Munich six hundred years old. By this, he meant that also RB Leipzig will one day become a traditional club.[379]

Sporting director Ralf Ragnick declared in 2012 that there were actuallty advantages to working in a new club without deep roted traditions. He explained that structural changes and staffing decisions could be implemented quickly and flexibly at RB Leipzig, since there are no established hierarchies and less resistance in the environment. He further said that he had seen enough examples of traditional clubs which have not made it anywhere. He said that to him, what mattered was if there existed a working philosophy and sustainability.[380] The President of the DFB Wolfgang Niersbach said in 2014, with reference to the traditional clubs in Leipzig: “If the big traditional clubs have not managed to establish a serious way back in professional football for years and decades, then nobody should complain if a different approach is taken and this also leads to success”.[381][382]

RB Leipzig has also received positive criticism and praise. Entrepreneur Michael Kölmel, owner of the Zentralstadion, said in 2009 that Red Bull GmbH was a huge opportunity for Leipzig.[27] He has also said that in the end, also to other football clubs in Leipzig will benefit from RB Leipzig. He explained that young players will stay in the area and that the overall level of football in Lepzig will rise.[383] Leipzig Deputy Mayor Heiko Rosenthal said in 2010 that RB Leipzig was the "best thing" that could happen to the economical development of Leipzig.[32][137] He has further explained that RB Leipzig will draw attention to Leipzig, and constitute an important component in the future economical representation of the city.[320] Blogger Matthias Kiessling argued in 2011 that Red Bull GmbH was offering a more permanent investment than anything Saxony had seen since the fall of the Berlin Wall.[56] Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung said in 2011 that the investment of Red Bull GmbH in Leipzig was an ”incredible gift to the city”.[216] Dietrich Mateschitz was awarded the prize “Leipziger Lerche” in 2013 for his service to the region. Mayor Burkhard Jung praised Dietrich Mateschitz as "honest, ambitius and serious". The prize ceremony was for the first time attended by the Minister-president of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich.[384]

The chairman of the Saxony Football Association (SFV) Klaus Reichenbach expressed optimism about the club's founding. He said that he hoped for high class football, and that it would have earned the whole region and East Germany.[15] The chairman of the Northeastern German Football Association (NOFV) Rainer Milkoreit said in 2014 that the promotion of RB Leipzig to the 2. Bundesliga was a great development for East Germany and that the attendance boom in Leipzig showed just how much the club had been awaited.[385] FC Bayern Munich President Uli Hoeneß said in 2011 that the model chosen by RB Leipzig could be prosperous, but not necessarily. He said that decisive would be what the club could offer its fans, and that if the model works, it would be beneficial for all football, not only for football in East Germany.[386][387] Uli Hoeneß congratulated RB Leipzig to its promotion to the 2. Bundesliga in 2014 and said that it was the best thing that could happen to football in Leipzig.[388] FC Bayern Munich sporting director Matthias Sammer, a native of Dresden, said in 2014 that he was positive to the development of RB Leipzig, and praised the positive economical effects it had for the region. He also rejected the complaints of "traditionalists", as 1. FC Lokomotive Leipzig and BSG Chemie Leipzig ever since the Wende have failed to join forces for the sake of local football.[389][390] Franz Beckenbauer said in 2015 that he predicts that RB Leipzig will be dangerous to FC Bayern Munich in 35 years, if Red Bull GmbH is ready to continue investing for such a long time, and that RB Leipzig was a concept with a future.[391] VfL Wolfsburg manager Klaus Allofs said in 2016 that RB Leipzig was a cast of fortune for Leipzig, and a good thing for the region and for German football.[392]

In interviews published in German newspaper Bild in 2011, representatives of several Leipzig football clubs explained how their clubs had benefited from the establishment of RB Leipzig. Former FC Sachsen Leipzig liquidator Heiko Kratz explained that by 2009, the club was no longer able to finance its youth academy, but by selling its A to D junior teams to RB Leipzig, at least they could give the players a future. Holger Nussbaum from SSV Markranstädt, explained how the financial compensation from RB Leipzig meant that the club now had players that it otherwise would not have, and that it now aimed at reaching the Regionalliga. Ralph Zahn from ESV Delitzsch said that the financial compensation from RB Leipzig had made it possible for the club to build an artificial turf pitch with floodlights for the cost of 250,000 Euros.[393]

According to a survey carried out by the Leipziger Volkszeitung in 2009, more than 70% of the residents of Leipzig welcomed Red Bull GmhH's investment in local football.[15] The Leipziger Volkszeitung has also published the results from a study carried out by Intelligence Research in Sponsorshop (Iris) in 2016. According to the study, RB Leipzig now ranked third favourite team in Saxony and Thuringia, only surpassed by FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. RB Leipzig also had an increase in five out of six image values. Sympathetic had increased 2,8 percent to 45,1 percent, native had increased 7,2 percent to 40,5 percent, credible had increased 4,8 percent to 43,8 percent, regionally rooted remained at 45,8 percent, ambitious had increased 3,7 percent to 77,5 percent and passionated had increased 5,8 percent to 47 percent. A study carried out by the company Repucom in 2016 showed that RB Leipzig had a nationwide increase of 60 percent in press, radio and television. It also showed that the reports had become more objective and complex.[189]

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  368. ^ Kraske, Michael (26 November 2009). "Ösi-Millionen für den Aufbau Ost". Zeit Online (in German) (Hamburg: Zeit Online GmbH). Retrieved 12 June 2016. 
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  373. ^ Flohr, Sven; Dunkr, Robet (29 April 2007). "Red-Bull-Chef will deutschem Klub Flügel verleihen". Die Welt (in German) (Berlin: WeltN24 GmbH). Retrieved 12 June 2016. Nein. Erstens sind wir keine guten Stareinkäufer – auch wenn man uns gerne ein Dagobert-Duck-Syndrom anhängt – sondern wollen für den Unterbau selbst sorgen. 
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