- Title: Unbeaten Bundesliga newcomer RB Leipzig divide soccer fans
- Date: 23rd November 2016
- Summary: PAN ACROSS MAGAZINE SITES WITH PICTURES ON OFFICE WALL
- Embargoed: 8th December 2016 17:41
- Keywords: Leipzig Bundesliga Red Bull
- Location: LEIPZIG & BERLIN, GERMANY
- City: LEIPZIG & BERLIN, GERMANY
- Country: Germany
- Topics: Soccer,Sport
- Reuters ID: LVA00459NYKOV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: As top of the Bundesliga RB Leipzig were preparing for their match against Freiburg later this week, team coach Ralph Hasenhuettl on Wednesday (November 23) reacted to criticism from some soccer fans in Germany about the club's rapid rise to prominence.
From silence in the stands as a form of protest, to constant mocking chants, fans in Germany have vented their anger against Leipzig, a club created in 2009 after energy drinks maker Red Bull bought the licence of amateur club SSV Markranstaedt.
The club is an exception to ownership rules in Germany where individuals cannot buy a majority share of a team unless they are the single biggest investors for an uninterrupted 20-year period.
But due to the ownership structure of Leipzig, billionaire and Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz was able to circumvent that rule, earning further wrath from soccer fans.
"I don't know how this influences the players, you would have to ask the players. How it influences me, we have stirred up a hornet's nest with our sportive achievements and it is normal that now it's buzzing," Hasenhuettl told reporters at a news conference in Leipzig.
"Still and I don't stop emphasising this, we know where we come from, we know that we have a young team and we know that don't have much experience in the Bundesliga yet," he added.
On the pitch, last Friday (November 18) RB Leipzig became the first promoted side to go unbeaten in their opening 11 matches after a 3-2 win at Bayer Leverkusen and then went three points clear at the top when champions Bayern Munich lost 1-0 to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday (November 19).
A tectonic shift in German soccer - this is how Philipp Koester, chief editor of German soccer magazine "11 Friends" called recent developments in the Bundesliga.
"Traditional clubs fighting to survive and retort clubs playing at the top. I think this is the consequence of a year-long bending of rules, normally these teams shouldn't be allowed to play in the first league, they don't adhere to the laws of the DFB (German Football Association), but use tricks and cheating in order to gain advantages, this is the result: a Bundesliga run by investors," he said.
"I don't think it is an improvement if teams, which actually only exist to promote a drink or do advertisement for a company who owns a football department now. Football clubs should dominate in the Bundesliga and it is definitely not a good, but a fatal development," he said.
"We have to think about how we manage to keep the chances balanced, that we have an exciting Bundesliga and there are clubs, which mean something to the people. I don't have the impression that currently Bundesliga officials and especially the big clubs have - given the greed - understood, how important that is to take care of the sportive competition."
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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