Rudi Völler no longer understands the world. Therefore, the German striker legend requested that SC Freiburg give in before the cup final against RB Leipzig and ended the meandering scarf fight. “You can not have the finale and the theater. You can not do that to me when I say goodbye,” Völler said at his farewell party in Bayer Leverkusen. Before the final on Saturday, Freiburg had banned the use of their coat of arms for common fan articles.
“Hame do you have to work for”
Aversion against RB Leipzig has become something of a tradition in German football. Then there is always the question of a construction that should not actually exist. While the management level has now come to terms with the opposite, there is still resistance in the fan scene.
The enemy image RB is often served more when the club is successful. A cup final comes in handy where the Saxons can win their first major title. In the end, by the logic of reluctance, RB takes his place in the final from another, supposedly honest, venerable club. In the gym on Leipzig’s Cottaweg, they use it as a matter of routine and use Wilhelm Busch, who once described envy as the most sincere form of recognition. “You have to work for evil,” said CEO Oliver Mintzlaff.
No romance on RB?
Many of RB’s critics, usually found among ultras, are not preoccupied with envy or malice. They see the alleged abuse of their game. You see conditions like in England, where clubs are controlled by oligarchs and sheiks, and where a club like Newcastle United has to play in Saudi Arabia’s colors next season, because that’s where the new owner comes from. They want to help shape the future of their club and, above all, have an influence on it.
It is not planned in Leipzig. “Football is played to play a drinking can,” said Borussia Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke. A romantic story, after which a couple of friends with the same hobby got together and founded a club – it does not exist on RB. Co-determination for fans is largely eliminated. As of March 2022, Leipzig had only 20 voting members.
There are also a few hundred support members. They are allowed to see the general meetings but have nothing to say. Such public meetings have only existed since 2014 because they were a requirement and condition of promotion to the second division.
The RB system was not included in the rules of German football when it was founded in 2009. An investor was banned from buying into a club, taking the majority of the votes, changing the name for advertising purposes or redistributing it.
Fanmarch has been canceled
So the Austrian drinks billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz simply founded the club himself and bought the right to start in the Oberligaen from SSV Markranstädt. The 50 + 1 rule, according to which the club must control an outsourced company, was thus overturned in Leipzig. Because the company is the club.
The trick, after which RB should stand for RasenBallsport and not for Red Bull, makes some opponents of Leipzig even more angry. The Saxon Football Federation initially rejected all designs for the club coat of arms because it was too similar to the company’s trademark. After minor changes, everything was waved through in May 2010.
According to reports, the German Football Association and the German Football League once considered suing the Leipzig model. But it would have stood on shaky ground. After all, TSG Hoffenheim in particular serves as a kind of precedent for patron Dietmar Hopp.
No common scarf
After a few years without the hoped-for income, Mateschitz hired Ralf Rangnick. And that led the club to where it is today; to the so-called top shelf of German football.
What can not be bought, however, is a fan culture. Only 1,000 supporters traveled to the second leg of the Europa League semi-final against Rangers from Glasgow, and a planned fan march was canceled.
The club recently launched its PR machine and never got tired of emphasizing that 50,000 tickets could have been sold for the cup final. So many fans walked away empty-handed. And they must do without a joint final with Freiburg.