“Mourinho and the fans of Spurs watched how their team was made to look like a bunch of schoolboys by the young guns of Leipzig. They dominated the center of the park. Their fast passing and full control over the ball aided by a solid backline left the Spurs thinking, their wheel has completed its circle and it is the time for the forces to rise and shine”

 

As the final whistle blew, Lucas Moura was seen crying. Jose Mourinho, the manager of Tottenham Hotspur came forward to control Moura’s emotion. Last season, Moura’s fairytale display helped the Spurs to feature in the finals of the Champions League. Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs, alongside Ajax, won the hearts of everyone. From there, it was thought, the Spurs would continue to rise and shine, but that killer instinct and never-say-die attitude faded this season. The Spurs are a ship without a radar.

Mourinho’s team was outplayed, outclassed and outcoached by a team, who neither has a superstar coach nor players, but it is a team, which has a soul – they play for the sake of fans and passion.

 

A tough beginning

Red Bull GmbH – the Austrian Energy Drink Company is rich and believes in productive investment. Led by co-owner Dietrich Mateschitz, searched three and a half years for a suitable location for investment in German football, before Leipzig. The company also considered a location in West Germany and explored cities such as Hamburg, Munich, and Düsseldorf.

On the advice of Franz Beckenbauer, a personal friend of Dietrich Mateschitz, the company decided to invest in Leipzig. The local football club FC Sachsen Leipzig, the successor to the former East German champions BSG Chemie Leipzig, had for years been in a financial crisis. Red Bull GmbH planned to invest 50 million Euros.

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By 2006, FC Sachsen Leipzig played in the Oberliga – the fourth-tier League in Germany. 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 “FC Red Bull Sachsen Leipzig” – DFB was too cautious about the over-influence of Red Bull. The fans protested which turned violent and let Red Bull step back.  They did try for investments in West German-based clubs like Fortuna Düsseldorf, FC St. Pauli, TSV 1860 Munich, but they did not go well.

Back to the East

Red Bull turned back to East Germany.

They considered Leipzig as one of the most profitable places for investment. Leipzig boasts a great history in football before the Berlin wall broke. It had been the meeting place for the founding of the DFB and home of the first German national football champions, VfB Leipzig.

During the GDR, local teams such as FC Lokomotive Leipzig and their arch-rivals, BSG Chemie Leipzig, played at the highest level of the East German football league system, even on the international level. But the current scenario was quite pathetic – no teams from the city featured in the Bundesliga since 1994 and none had played in a professional league since 1998. The two best teams would soon play in the Oberliga, and local football was plagued by fan violence.

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Leipzig had a population of around 500,000 inhabitants. The city thus had a considerable economic strength and 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. The city had a large airport, motorway connections and most importantly: a large modern football stadium.

The Zentralstadion was a former 2006 FIFA World Cup venue and the second-largest football stadium in the east of Germany, after the Olympiastadion in Berlin.

The possibilities were available for Red Bull to cash in and most importantly, the passion for football among the people in Leipzig was huge.

The start of a new journey

Red Bull noticed it and wished to give the fans something to cheer for and feel proud.

They took over a fifth division club, situated from a village thirteen kilometers west of Leipzig, SSV Markranstadt. 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 to Michael Kölmel, who saw his chance and decided to join.

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Assisted by Michael Kölmel, Red Bull began negotiations with SSV Markranstädt.  Only five weeks after the first contact, SSV Markranstädt had agreed to sell its playing right for the Oberliga to Red Bull.

Time passed by…..

After a lot of planning and negotiations, on May 19, 2009, RasenBallsport Leipzig e.V. was founded. All seven founding members were either employees or agents of Red Bull GmbH.

Andreas Sadlo was elected chairman, and Joachim Krug was hired as a sporting director. Andreas Sadlo was a well-known football player agent.  In order to avoid future objections from the German Football Association (DFB), he resigned as a player agent, before taking the position as chairman.

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RB Leipzig became the fifth football commitment in the Red Bull sporting portfolio, following FC Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, the New York Red Bulls in the United States, Red Bull Brasil in Brazil and Red Bull Ghana in Ghana.

It’s time to rise and shine

The journey began and after a decade, it seems, Red Bull’s idea to invest for a long term result paying rich dividends. They were promoted to Bundesliga in 2015 and became the first Bundesliga debutant, since the German reunification, to qualify for a European tournament, following a 4–0 win against SC Freiburg on 15 April 2017. They also became the first team from the area of former East Germany to qualify for a European tournament, since 1. FC Union Berlin qualified for the 2001–02 UEFA Cup.

Subsequently, Leipzig managed to qualify for the 2017–18 Champions League after beating Hertha BSC 4–1 at the Olympiastadion on 6 May 2017, two days before the anniversary of the club’s promotion to Bundesliga.

Red Bull never considered buying big names for the club despite having the ability to do such they could have been like a Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City or Chelsea, but they did not wish to kill the soul of a system, but offer competitiveness and charm through players and staffs who could delight the followers not only at home but away from Bundesliga as well.

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They decided to invest on building a state-of-art academy and training centers, where the strategy was to build a style of football, which focuses on developing a style of football at all age groups, appointing the most promising youth coaches, developing sharp and smart scouts, who would help to recruit little known talents and would turn into stars in future. For example Naby Keita of Liverpool, who was an unknown figure early on, but developed at Leipzig and then was sold to Liverpool at a high price.

The current squad, which impresses each and everyone at Bundesliga and Champions League boasts with players like Yussuf Polsen the Danish striker, signed in 2013 at the age of 19 when Leipzig was still in the third division, right-back Lukas Klostermann was discovered by the scouts in Bochum at the age of 18 in 2014, the Austrian midfielder Marcel Sabitzer joined in 2014 at the age of 20, Swedish playmaker Emil Forsberg stunned everyone in his country upon leaving champions Malmo for the second division club in January 2015 despite having much-better offers and left-back Marcel Halstenberg, relieved by Borussia Dortmund’s reserves, and joined in 2015 in order to help Leipzig on their way to a historic promotion to the Bundesliga.

These names are not big but are producing results for their team. These players have suited very well to the system, which Leipzig has tried to build for a decade – energetic football and impressive to watch. They are fast in transition, extremely aggressive on the attack and love pressing high up the pitch.

On June 21, 2019, Leipzig signed Julian Nagelsmann as the coach – a young, but an unknown figure in a world where big names are respected and highlighted enough. But Nagelsmann believed in working silently – studying each and every team closely, working on the weaknesses of his players and shaping them up skillfully and temperamentally to fight against the big boys of world football. A year later, all know who Nagelsmann is – without a doubt, he is the best young coach in the world right now.

Smart, sharp, studious, strategist and hardworking – that is what Naglesmann is all about.

He has made Leipzig better who are expected to be best in the coming days.

Leipzig’s long term plans have started to bloom flowers.

Mourinho and the fans of Spurs watched how their team was made to look like a bunch of schoolboys by the young guns of Leipzig. They dominated the center of the park. Their fast passing and full control over the ball aided by a solid backline left the Spurs thinking, their wheel has completed its circle and it is the time for the forces to rise and shine.

RB Leipzig are the joy of people right now.

 

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