Four promotions in 11 years of life: the incredible story of RB Leipzig, the threat of Atlético Madrid de Simeone in the Champions League

RB Leipzig is Atlético Madrid's rival in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals (Reuters)
RB Leipzig is Atlético Madrid's rival in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals (Reuters)

In a quarterfinal of Champions League where the only surviving champions are the FC Barcelona and the FC Bayern München –They face each other and among the best four there will only be one winner of The Orejona-, there are stories that surprise, such as the RB Leipzig, a German club of only 11 years life that has meteorically climbed to the elite of European football and has become the greatest exponent of an exemplary football project. Behind this team of young talents led by the prodigy strategist Julian Nagelsmann there is a structure that in just over a decade already competes at the highest level. A team built from a very careful sports policy that puts in check the greatest desire of the Cholo Simeone at Athletic of Madrid, that of being European champion, who has already been frustrated twice with lost finals against him Real Madrid (2013/14 and 2015/16).

It all started when the Austrian energy drink company Red bull decided to make the leap to soccer after years of venturing into extreme sports. In the first instance, in 2005 acquiring a club from his country in Salzburg, expanding its network the following year with the purchase of the New York team that competes in MLS and finally disembarking in countries with a greater soccer tradition and exporters of raw material for this sport, such as Brazil and Germany.

There was a long period when Leipzig lacked a representative in the Bundesliga and the last experience had been really traumatic, since the VfB Leipzig he reached the top flight in the early 1990s but fell immediately after a season in which he only won three wins in 34 games. This city is very important in the history of German football, since the German Football Association (DFB) in January of 1900 and the VfB was the first league champion in the inaugural season (1902-03), before dissolving in the previous Second World War.

The Lokomotive Leipzig is the city's historic club that is now represented by the Red Bull team.
The Lokomotive Leipzig is the city's historic club that is now represented by the Red Bull team.

Starting in the 1950s, this town vibrated with the derbies of the SC Rotation and the Locomotive in the DDR Oberliga, the highest category of East Germany. In fact, the FC Lok He also competed internationally and won four of eight cup finals played between 1970 and 1987. But then he dropped to the second division due to the sports reorganization that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall and there the football of the region collapsed. There was only a spasm when the entity, which had recovered the name of VfB Leipzig achieved promotion and played in the Bundesliga in the 1993/94 season, but it fell immediately and, a century after being crowned the first champion of the German league, the VfB ceased to exist due to bankruptcy.

It was in 2003 when the 1. FC Lokomotiv Leipzig resurfaced from the ashes by absorbing what little was left of the VfB and began to play in the 3. Kreisklasse, at that time the 11th echelon of the German football system. This team managed to rally nostalgic fans but the city's soccer shipwreck was notorious and rising to the elite was truly a utopia.

The hypertonic beverage firm saw the potential of a locality that had a World Cup stadium since the 2006 FIFA World Cup and he did not hesitate to “give wings” to a project that had to adapt to German traditionalism, where teams cannot have the name of corporate sponsors and the majority voting rights must belong to their partners. The prefix was chosen "RB" as an abbreviation for RasenBallsport ("Ball to the floor") and the May 19, 2009 The entity was officially created, taking the Plaza del SSV Markranstädt in the Oberliga Nordost Süd. A very modest start but with monstrous ambitions: the goal from minute zero was to reach the Bundesliga. Therefore, they signed an agreement so that the stadium with the capacity to 44,345 spectators be yours until the 2040: they renamed it Red Bull Arena.

Under the nickname of The Bulls, logically linked to the company logo, started their way into the fifth division in the season 2009/10. He RB Leipzig he garnered 80 points out of 90 possible, with 74 goals for and 17 against in that first campaign and sealed the promotion with 22 points of advantage over the second. It was a more than promising start, followed by two unsuccessful attempts to climb the 3. League. It was in this comment that one of the most important men in the short history of this institution disembarked: Ralf rangnick.

READ:  Cup for Mexico: Cruz Azul qualified for the semifinals and Tigres beat Chivas with goals from Gignac
Ralf Rangnick played a crucial role in RB Leipzig's successes as a sporting director and also as a coach (AFP)
Ralf Rangnick played a crucial role in RB Leipzig's successes as a sporting director and also as a coach (AFP)

Rangnick he already had good scrolls in German football. He became famous with his promotions to the Bundesliga with Hannover 96 (2002) and TSG 1899 Hoffenheim (2008), in addition to leading to Schalke 04 to their first Champions League semi-final and conquer with The miners the German Cup (2005). He joined the Red Bull project in 2012 how sports director and imposed a cool sports policy, with large investments in construction of a new training center – It is currently one of the largest in the country – in order to attract all the talent from eastern Germany.

He RB Leipzig finally managed to rise to the third echelon of German football in the season 2012/13, already with 30,000 viewers (record in the fourth German division) at Red Bull Arena. The fans of the region already had the team in their hearts, mainly because they noticed that money injections were used to improve structurally and develop new promises. In the following campaign, the promotion came 2. Bundesliga and two years later, the May 8, 2016, the club secured the ticket to the highest category, with Ralf rangnick like DT. At that point, their minor divisions were also successful: they were champions in different categories and some of the club's players were called up for youth teams.

At first they became the most hated club in Germany, fans and managers of the rest of the teams made fun of their economic power. But it was evident that The Bulls did not base their success on squandering money for stars, such as Chelsea, Manchester City or Paris Saint Germain, to name some of the most powerful in Europe. Dietrich Mateschitz (owner of Red Bull) could buy three yachts or four planes, but he likes football. And his team does not have stars that have cost 30 or 40 million euros. I'm sure if your players walked down a street in Germany, people wouldn't recognize three players. "Toni Kroos told the magazine Kicker in December 2016.

With the passing of the dates of that season 2016/17, that team earned the respect of German football with a offensive, dynamic and deadly playstyle. Players like Timo Werner –Who scored 21 goals in 31 games in his debut at the club–, Emil Forsberg, Marcel Sabitzer, Yussuf Poulsen and Dayot Upamecano, who were not on anyone's radar, began to stand out under the bold tactics of the Austrian DT Ralph Hasenhüttl, who with his 4-2-2-2 of aggressive pressure and dizzying transitions he led the tournament in three days (Dates 11, 12 and 13) and finished runner-up for Bayern Munich in his first experience at the highest level.

The young Julian Nagelsmann, one of the best DTs in the world, is currently in charge of RB Leipzig (REUTERS)
The young Julian Nagelsmann, one of the best DTs in the world, is currently in charge of RB Leipzig (REUTERS)

That second place allowed the RB Leipzig prematurely materialize the dream of playing the group stage of the UEFA champions league, the competition in which they will now face the Atletico Madrid of Simeone. After a transition on the bench made by Rangnick, The Bulls they have the luxury of having one of the best young DTs in the world: Julian Nagelsmann. The strategist who started in Hoffenheim at the 28 years, just a few months before his current team reached the elite, fits perfectly with the plans of lead a young dressing room and compete implementing a dynamic and vertical football.

Today the RasenBallsport Leipzig It is the maximum exponent of a network of four football clubs, all under the name of the city and linked to the energy drink brand. It is the pillar of the project, since the entities of New York, Salzburg and Campinas (Brazil) often feed their best talents to the cast of Germany who dreams of hitting him Athletics in Lisbon.

MORE ON THIS TOPIC:

The Champions League Final 8: the quarter-final agenda and everything you need to know

Alarm in the Champions League: Atlético de Madrid confirmed two cases of coronavirus

A Bayern Munich player claims to have the recipe to mark Lionel Messi

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here