A History of RB Leipzig: Can the East German side continue to thrive under the spotlight?

RB Leipzig are ahead of schedule as they continue to push for their aim of top flight football.

RasenBallsport Leipzig or in short RB Leipzig have risen quickly in their brief history, but there a club that have been under the spotlight since day one. Five years ago energy drink makers Red Bull added a new team to their list of clubs, first there was Red Bull Salzburg in Austria, then New York Red Bulls, followed by Red Bull Brasil and their fourth club Red Bull Ghana. Red Bull either reformed or formed those clubs, before going on to changing the teams names, their crests and the colour of their kits, which hasn’t always been greeted with open arms. In 2009 Red Bull looked to Germany for their next project, the company purchased the license of East German and fifth division side SSV Markranstädt.

Since the takeover the club have quickly risen up through the German leagues. Their first season as a club was outstanding as they ran away with the league title after securing eighty points in their thirty league games. During the season in the NOFV Süd RB Leipzig won twenty-six times, only dropping points in four games, two draws and two defeats. Tino Vogel was the man in charge for the club’s first campaign and after a successful season he stepped down to manage the U19’s before going on to take over the club’s second team in 2011.

For the 2010/11 season the club appointed Tomas Oral as they prepared for their first season in the Regionalliga Nord. Most promoted sides struggle in a higher division, but this wasn’t the case for RB Leipzig. They did miss out on promotion, however they would’ve been proud of a fourth place finish which saw them finish six points ahead of fifth place. 2010 also saw the club move into the Zentralstadion and then renaming it Red Bull Arena, the stadium has a capacity of 44,345 and it’s the biggest stadium in East Germany. After guiding the club through a decent season in the Regionalliga Nord Tomas Oral left the club at the end of the season, in November 2011 he took over at Ingolstadt.

With Oral’s departure the club hired Austrian Peter Pacult, the former Rapid Wien coach was able to do one better than Oral, guiding the club to a third place finish. RB Leipzig were in the top three who everyone else struggled to catch, Hallescher FC finished as champions with seventy-seven points, Holstein Kiel finished second with seventy-five points and RB Leipzig had seventy-three points, fourth place side Wolfsburg II finished twenty-two points behind RB Leipzig. Had RB Leipzig not drawn as many games they could’ve claimed top spot, they finished second in the highest scorers charts with seventy-one goals, they also finished with the second best defensive record, having only conceded thirty goals, top spot went to the champions Hallescher FC who remarkably only conceded fifteen goals.

The 2012/13 season saw the club competing in the Regionalliga Nordost and they had another man in charge, their current coach Alexander Zorniger was appointed in July and with him in charge the club finished fourteen points clear at the top of the table. Not only were RB Leipzig able to win the league they do so without tasting a single defeat, they impressively won twenty-one games, while drawing nine. After claiming top spot RB Leipzig had to face Regionalliga West champions Sportfreunde Lotte. The first leg saw RB Leipzig win 2-0 at the Red Bull Arena thanks to goals from Stefan Kutschke and Matthias Morys. The second leg wasn’t as simple as the club would’ve liked, goals from Tobias Willers and an injury time goal from Dennis Schmidt forced the game into extra time. An own goal from Tobias Willers pulled a goal back for RB Leipzig and then Stefan Kutschke converted a penalty to level the leg and resulted in sending RB Leipzig up to the 3.Liga.

The tough challenge of the 3.Liga didn’t seem that tough in the eyes of RB Leipzig, they managed to fight their way into second place where they stayed for most parts of the season to secure back to back promotions. Darmstadt were a surprise package in the 3.Liga last season and they along with Heidenheim were the only side that competed with RB Leipzig throughout the season. Darmstadt finished in third place, seven points behind RB Leipzig and despite finishing with seventy-nine points the Leipzig club missed out on the 3.Liga crown by goal difference. Just as they did in the 2012/13 season RB Leipzig were a side capable of scoring goals, thanks to the goals from Daniel Frahn (19) and Dominik Kaiser (13), RB Leipzig finished the season as the league’s top scorers with sixty-five goals. They also did well in defence as they only conceded thirty-four goals, the only sides to better them were their promotion rivals Darmstadt and Heidenheim.

Most fans may not like RB Leipzig but they need to be credited for putting Leipzig back on the footballing map, however the more they progress the more the 50+1 rule will be put under scrutiny. This is certainly going to be a crucial season for RB Leipzig, they are well on course to reaching their aim of Bundesliga football, but they’ll need to make sure they avoid the drop back down to the 3.Liga. Their now one of three teams representing East Germany in this season’s 2.Bundesliga, they’ve joined Union Berlin and Erzgebirge Aue, but they would love to join Hertha Berlin in Bundesliga as soon as possible. With Alexander Zorniger in charge and Ralf Rangnick as Sport Director and the money invested by Red Bull the dream isn’t far from becoming a reality.

Article for VAVEL.

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