Monday, 12 December 2016

Does the rise of RB Leipzig mark the subtle death of German football?

The Bundesliga has seen many changes over the years, however, none more than this year.

League favourites such as FC Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have made way for the current league leaders, RasenBallsport Leipzig.

Seven seasons ago, RB Leipzig were in the fifth division of German football, they now sit in first place of the country’s top division.

But how?

The league has changed dramatically over time, and has now subtly adopted the ritual that the club with the most money will be the most likely for the title.

RB Leipzig were founded in 2009, becoming the successor club for SSV Markranstadt, after gaining the financial backing of Red Bull.

Since their successful path to supremacy in Germany, the club have come under intense scrutiny, becoming the villains of the Bundesliga.

The club arguably go against all that German domestic football stands for, tradition and club history, the idea of building clubs from scratch, with the critical input of supporters.

RB Leipzig do not follow such guidelines, with just seventeen members with power to vote in club proposals, the value of fan power is virtually non-existent.  

The majority of Bundesliga clubs are against the rise of Leipzig, with good reason.

'RB Leipzig was founded to make money. To sell an energy drink.' Said a fan of Leipzig’s former top club, Lokomotiv Leipzig.

Their continued success is feared, mainly from the viewpoint of financially inadequate clubs, who possess huge club history.

Formerly successful clubs have made way for RB Leipzig, who in their view, and the view of many others, have walked through the leagues as cheats, fueled by ludicrous amounts of funding.

VfB Stuttgart, who are now represented in the 2.Bundesliga, were German Champions just nine years ago.

After a loss of funding from their city, partly due to the rise of TSG Hoffenheim, the club have been particularly inconsistent, which eventually sacrificed their place in the top division.

When considering the success and fight of VfB, who were founded in 1893, the rise of RB Leipzig as their replacement is a pill hard to swallow.

Would the success of Leipzig inspire investors to transform teams into potential German champions one day? Would this destroy the traditional meaning of the Bundesliga?

However, some wonder why Leipzig aren’t celebrated more.

They are the first club to emerge in the Bundesliga from East Germany since 2009 – an area of the country that has seen its footballing tradition obliterated by assimilation.

They do also play some quite attractive football, which they should, considering their almost unlimited funding for training facilities.

RB Leipzig are the unfortunate reflection of modern day football, frowned upon by so many.

Regardless of opinions, die Bullen currently sit three points clear of current champions, Bayern Munich, at the top of the table.

It will be interesting to see the aftermath of this season, should Ralph Hassenhuttl’s team deliver the Bundesliga title, can German tradition survive?

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