People looking at the current Bundesliga table will see Bayern Munich in 1st place as the established order but who are the team also unbeaten that are in 2nd breathing down the German Champions necks?
They are newly promoted RasenBallSport Leipzig, founded only in 2009 by initiative of energy drink maker ‘Red Bull‘ who purchased the playing right of fifth division side SSV Markranstadt with the aim of making the club a top flight team with eight years. It sounded very ambitious, yet they have achieved that aim one year early and are now unbeaten in the Bundesliga – ahead of the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Bayer Leverkusen.
It is like something you might do on Fifa Career mode or Football Chairman, but this is in fact very real.
Why, then, is the club met with such hostility instead of an underdog story being lauded like Leicester City in the Premier League last season?
Fan culture is huge in Germany and Leipzig are seen as a representation of everything that goes against the soul of German football with their significant corporate backing. They are bending unspoken rules in a country whose clubs are seen as more pure and closer to the supporters than anything in the Premier League. It is what the fans of Bundesliga clubs see as the reason as to why German football is unique and superior to the other major leagues.
Despite the protests and hatred towards the club, Leipzig are not going anywhere and appear to be getting stronger at an alarmingly fast rate. Building a football club from the bottom to the top usually requires significant hard work and time but Leipzig are flying up the ladder. For example they won the Bundesliga II straight away last season after being promoted from the third division in 2015.
Could they be setting themselves up for a great fall? Unlikely.
Is just having a lot of cash sustainable?
The answer is yes if the financial backing is complimented with smart planning which looks very much the case. Leipzig have carefully scouted young talent instead of going for big star studded names who inevitably would not fit into a proper team as seen plenty of times with clubs before.
Sweden’s Emil Forsberg and Scottish youngster Oliver Burke signed from Nottingham Forest for €15 million are prime examples. Burke by all accounts has already been very impressive and the 19 year old is becoming a key player for the high flyers.
Under sporting director Ralf Ragnick the club have the brains to go with the financial muscle. Leipzig have created plenty of debate in German football circles but if they continue their success, it makes German football very interesting.
Bayern Munich are still the top dogs and their challengers have a long way to go to topple them but Leipzig may just be their biggest threat in the next few years and who knows, the clubs only founded in 2009 could be playing Champions League football next season.