Rune Bratseth, who in the 1980s and 1990s became Werder Bremen’s best export article Norwegian football had to offer, is massively disturbed by the constellation that came about in the Europa League group phase: RB Leipzig is playing FC Salzburg.
“When I saw the two clubs in our group, I asked myself: “Is that allowed?” said Bratseth in an interview with Sport inside. The clash of two clubs from the Red Bull House, which the Brausemilliardär Dietrich Mateschitz launched and whose logos look similar to each other, has a bitter aftertaste for the board member of Rosenborg Trondheim.
The 57-year-old, for example, fears a distortion of competition in the return leg of the can duel: “What happens if both need a point on the penultimate matchday? It’s not good for the two clubs to suspect anything at all.” In Leipzig and Salzburg, the protagonists naturally see it differently that they are so close to the conflict line. After all, UEFA had already ordered a process of unbundling three years ago, which has also been completed, as those responsible emphasise. “The clubs were once closely interlocked, which is no longer the case,” asserts Leipzig’s CEO Oliver Mintzlaff. Only for the Europe League the Logo was modified by the way: There now only a bull emerges.
Ralf Rangnick promises for the clash of the clubs with the bull brand core: “This will put so much explosiveness and fire into it, as in hardly any other game”. The coach and sports director of the marketing vehicle RB Leipzig, which was promoted to the Bundesliga in 2016 – the initials RB officially stand for RasenBallsport – once liked to enumerate that he would constantly commute between Salzburg, Leipzig and his Swabian homeland.
The former Rangnick consultant Mintzlaff was Head of Global Soccer and was temporarily responsible for all soccer activities of Red Bull GmbH. For Leipzig, Salzburg and New York. For the critic Bratseth it is still clear “that they work together”. As an expert for Norwegian television, he had studied the career of the players frequently enough to find out that a career path under the shower roof very often leads via the Mozart city of Salzburg to the trade fair city of Leipzig: “You can’t get away from that.”
Mateschitz appeases: “The better should win.” But has Leipzig not long had the higher priority? Between 2012 and 2018, 17 players alone followed the Rangnick call. With midfielder Amadou Haidara, the next highly talented player is to switch to the “Red Bulls” in the German Bundesliga this winter. Not only once did the stable management seem at least questionable, even disreputable. In the summer of 2014, for example, Rangnick guided his current top performer Marcel Sabitzer from Rapid Wien to the then second league club Leipzig and then immediately lent him to Salzburg.
With goalkeeper Petar Gulacsi, defensive ace Dayot Upamecano, scrapper Stefan Ilsanker, all-rounder Kevin Kampl or Konrad Laimer, almost half of the Saxony’s regular eleven have a past in the top Austrian club, which regularly fails to get the Champions League licence. Also coach Marco Rose, born in Leipzig, could not defeat this curse.
Hinteregger spoke plainly
Martin Hinteregger, who is now defending FC Augsburg, has denounced that Salzburg has been unnecessarily weakened by the blood-letting in the direction of Saxony. “The way Leipzig destroys Salzburg is not nice to look at,” the native of Salzburg once complained.
Apart from that, there are rather soft-soaked statements to be heard about this marshalling yard. Anyone who wants to hear plain language ends up back at Rune Bratseth. His conclusion: “What is legally correct does not mean that it is morally correct. It’s not good from the emotional point of view. Check out this energybet review to get to know more about sports betting.
Editor’s note: In an earlier version of the article it was claimed that entering “RB Leipzig” in an Internet browser leads to the homepage of Red Bull Salzburg, as the club is called in the Austrian Bundesliga. This assertion is not correct. The browser input “rbleipzig.de” leads to the homepage of the ice hockey club EC RedBull Salzburg. We apologize for any inconvenience.