Austrian energy drink maker Red Bull-backed RB Leipzig have gained promotion from the 2.Bundesliga to Germany’s top tier Bundesliga for the first-time after a 2-0 home win over Karlsruher SC through goals from Sweden’s Emil Forsberg and Marcel Halstenberg in front of 42,559 fans.
Under joint coach-cum-director of sports Ralf Rangnick, RB Leipzig gain promotion to the Bundesliga along with 2.Bundesliga champions SC Freiburg, while 1.FC Nuremberg as third play the Bundesliga Relegation playoff.
What makes the RB Leipzig story so interesting, but also controversial is that RB Leipzig is part of the Red Bull Global Soccer network along with Red Bull Salzburg from Austria, MLS side New York Red Bulls and an academy in Brazil, while an academy in Ghana was shut down in 2014.
In May 2009, Red Bull made a full takeover of German fifth division club SSV Markranstädt based in Leipzig and the renaming into RB Leipzig with the RB not standing for Red Bull but RasenBallsport Leipzig due to German football rules which do not allow the name of sponsors to be attached to the club name. At the time SSV Markranstädt were a local club in Leipzig playing fifth division football and with little ambitions to move higher.
This changed overnight with the Red Bull takeover as their new owners had the aim of getting the club into the top tier Bundesliga in a nine year period until 2018 with an initial investment of 100 Million Euros.
That has now been achieved in only seven years with some unwanted stops along the way in the lower tiers of German football. RB Leipzig gains promotion to the Bundesliga and will want to challenge the big boys as soon as possible, then the UEFA Champions League is where the real money can be earned as Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz will want to see it and reduce his company’s investment in Leipzig with the club working to be self sustainable.
The rise of RB Leipzig has not gone down well with traditional clubs, their fans and football romantics, who say that big money football is spoiling and somewhat killing German football. But RB Leipzig say that they are not different to other clubs, who have become corporate entities over the last few years or real corporate teams like Bayer 04 Leverkusen, Volkswagen controlled VfL Wolfsburg or 1899 Hoffenheim owned by SAP co-founder Dietmar Hopp.
Interestingly Indian international goalkeeper Subrata Pal, who is a Red Bull athlete, had trained with the then fourth division RB Leipzig in August 2012, but due to the foreigners rule on Non-EU citizens, Subrata had not got a contract with RB Leipzig.