RB Leipzig has a different fan culture

German FA Cup Final
The fan culture at RB Leipzig is completely different from that in most clubs

RB Leipzig meets SC Freiburg in the DFB Cup Final on Saturday. The association from Saxony has been around for 13 years. The reason for its existence is still debated to this day. But what about the relationship between RB fans and their club.

Something important happened in Leipzig this week. RB Leipzig celebrated its 13th anniversary – two days before the DFB Cup final in Berlin, where the RB right-back meets Freiburg on Saturday.

But can it even be written? organisation? Organized fans in Germany and large parts of regular football fans find: no. They describe what was created on May 19, 2009 in a Saxon city as a “football building”, as advertising space for the products of the Red Bull Group, which owns 99 percent of the capital in the outsourced company RasenBallsport GmbH. Red Bull also symbolizes two gimmicks that have earned the company’s part RB the rejection of tradition-conscious fans all along. Since the laws of the German Football Association prohibit naming clubs for advertising purposes, the people of Leipzig coined the term turf football. In RB, of course, everyone hears “Red Bull”, and that is how it should be.

Since the group does not think much about the joint decision, it provides only 21 members with voting rights the opportunity to participate in the politics of the club, and 300 supportive members are registered. In the eyes of most football fans in this country, this makes RB an artificial product – even if everyone knows that members of the big clubs are also very indirectly involved in the decisions of their clubs. But they can at least vote on who to send to committees, and talk about club decisions at public meetings. Of course, this is not very important.

However, the bodies involved in German football agree that RB Leipzig is a club. Not only did the Northeast German Football Association (NOFV) allow the people of Leipzig to compete with SSV Markranstädt in 2009 in the Fifth Division Oberliga. It was also judged in the form of then-chairman Rainer Melkooret on the occasion of RB’s promotion to the second German Bundesliga: “A great development for the East”.

Even Matthias Sammer, who as Dresdner thinks he is familiar with the sentiment in the so-called new countries after 32 years of reunification, stated regarding the jobs and emerging fan culture after Leipzig’s promotion to the Bundesliga: “A few traditionalists will scream about again and cry, But that’s not okay. If Lokomotiv and Chemie Leipzig can’t join forces for football after reunification, there’s always a third party laughing.”

But what about the fan culture at RasenBallsport Leipzig? After all, 24,000 fans are organized in 124 clubs. Among them are certainly many who think it is a good mood for the football industry that RB Leipzig have become a spot in the First Division. In the matches at home, the RB right-back supporters area is well filled, if not only for the week’s match days in the Cup. This is mainly due to the fact that the trip to the event is not very long and that children are also expected to spend the weekend in the stands.

Here are some numbers: According to statistical surveys recently reported by Bild, 75 percent of Leipzig fans come from the city or its immediate vicinity, the rest from Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Brandenburg. On average, visitors to the Leipzig stadium are 37 years old, while season ticket holders are up to 47 years old. Relatively young fans have not yet developed a strong following. These numbers illustrate the astonishing reluctance to travel among RB fans. While the other (traditional) clubs have built up a foundation of ardent fans over their long existence, who also regard the hassle of costly trips to the farthest corners of the continent as a reasonable contribution to club life, the Leipzig residents are initially content with their Saturday afternoon fun in home playground. The management of the Leipzig Football Company advertises a family-friendly atmosphere. Opponents mock the “operetta audience”.

It’s quiet in the far building anyway. The fan site “fussballmafia.de” places RB in 16th place in the Bundesliga table with an average of 435 drivers away. And just 97 lone fans got lost in early May in southern Borussia-Park in Mönchengladbach. Leipzig justified its weak balance sheet by Monday evening’s unfriendly hiring of every employee. Such arguments did not work in the semi-finals of the European League. But Leipzig gave a cold shoulder for the first time of the season. Of the 2,500 tickets Glasgow Rangers had to reserve for guests under UEFA guidelines, only 1,000 have been recalled. If this is a vote from the East on the importance of the RB right-back, he says: Football in Leipzig is like going to a prom with the whole family. No need to think this is a bad thing, but it has nothing to do with the vital relationship between fans and the club (RB right-back wants to be seen as such). It’s more the relationship: the customer – the company, just as Red Bull envisions it.

On Saturday at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, things look different in the DFB Cup final, at least in terms of numbers. 26,000 tickets were redeemed for the unit on the Jet Marathon side. After all, it is only 179 kilometers from the Leipzig stadium to the Berlin stadium.

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