Rats, Red Bull, and the “Unabsteigbaren”

It becomes more and more a sad reality. The Bundesliga on the one hand seems to be boring. To be more specific. It is not the Bundesliga that is boring. Rather it is the presence of certain clubs. We can name the problem. TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, VfL Wolfsburg, FC Ingolstadt. Some even might say that Bayer Leverkusen has to be put in this group, but not in my personal opinion.

What does this problem look like? For example, on September 12th about 5,000 people saw the match between FC Ingolstadt and VfL Wolfsburg. SKY‘s said that o.oo Mio people watched this match. You just have to laugh. But it is really sad when you know that VfL Wolfsburg plays in the Champions League and was not even able to fill a stadium with 30,000 seats. Clubs like Wolfsburg and Ingolstadt certainly have the sporting justifiability to be in the Bundesliga, so I do not want to start a new discussion about how they got there – it would be topic of other articles.

Just having the money

RB Leipzig – the new threat for everyone?

Let’s take a look at the 2. Bundesliga. Among the 18 clubs are former Bundesliga-clubs, former amateur-clubs and (at least for about 90% of the football fans) a new threat – RB Leipzig. The club, it is said, is just a marketing-product of Red Bull and has nothing to do with the idealism of football. It is not wrong to ask how much idealism is still there in professional football leagues – but again, it is another discussion. Leipzig is successful because of money they did not earn. The money is just there and the famous 50+1 law is no longer in force. The argument that (for example) Bayern München has a lot of money, too, is not decisive. Bayern has money because they were successful in the past when they had no money. Leipzig just has money and will be successful in the future.

VfL Bochum
Ruhrstadion in Bochum

Die Unabsteigbaren

The myth of the “Unabsteigbaren” originated in the 70s

On Sunday, RB Leipzig played in Bochum, now the former table leader of the 2. Bundesliga. And now RB Leipzig have the nickname die Unabsteigbaren (the ones who are never relegated), which by now is sadly just a nickname, because VfL Bochum has been relegated quite a few times in the last years. Nevertheless, Bochum worked hard and built up a team last summer that really seems fit for promotion to the Bundesliga. It is possible that they will remain one of the big rivals of Leipzig. There are many reasons. For example, if you visit Germany for the football, consider visiting the Castroper Straße to the former Ruhrstadion. Many new modern arenas are far away from the city centre. However, the “Ruhrstadion” at the Castroper Straße is almost in the centre of Bochum; the stadium features traditional architecture and is a pure football ground without a track. You can buy a beer at a “Kiosk” (little shop) and walk to the stadium. The prices for tickets, sausages and beer are moderate. But most importantly, the stadium is narrow and loud with the 30,000 fans creating a great atmosphere.

Although VfL Bochum have never won a title, the club is one of the old traditional clubs with an interesting history, who’s produced players now playing Champions League or Europa League football (Ilkay Gündogan, Leon Goretzka for example). Last but not least, in coach Gertjan Verbeek they really have a good manager, who is not afraid to say what he thinks and looks like a rockstar. He is one of the few coaches who talks about other things than football. A few weeks ago he had a dispute with one of the BILD journalists who wrote that the aim now (after a few victories) must be the promotion. After that he criticized that journalist, the whole BILD empire and also the reckless handling of BILD with the refugee-crisis in Europe.

A boring top match

Gertjan Verbeek – manager of VfL Bochum

The match against RB was supposed to be some kind of stop sign for the “project Red Bull.” Some fans changed the big announcement sign outside of the stadium from Rasenball Leipzig to “Rattenball” (“Rat ball”) Leipzig.

The club from east Germany was confronted with the typical enmity and some parts of the VfL-Fans, who even wanted to attack the away section, which was prevented by the police. No, it is reality. RB Leipzig will not find any friend in professional German football.

The so-called top match was not as good as promised. Leipzig had a better start and showed again that they are actually one of the best teams in the 2. Bundesliga. VfL Bochum was not able to repeat the good performance of the last few weeks. U-19 German international player Marcel Sabitzer more or less coincidentally scored the 0:1 by a cross that found its way to the goal. The victory was well earned and RB Leipzig now is third after SC Freiburg and VfL Bochum again. After a bad start the team of manager Ralf Ragnick seems to have found the form to compete in the promotion race.

There is a good possibility that RB Leipzig will be the next club in the Bundesliga that nobody really wants. To make things worse, they seem to symbolize the culmination of progress that removes the football from his origins.

Once it was a sport for everyone.

Now the direction goes the wrong way when clubs like Bochum have no chance to establish themselves in the Bundesliga again. At the Castroper Straße in Bochum, football is still football. And with some luck, VfL Bochum will be part of the Bundesliga in 2016/17. Probably they will not win titles. Probably they will be relegate once again. But football fans in Germany always will prefer VfL Bochum (or 1.FC Kaiserslautern, FC St. Pauli, 1860 München, Eintracht Braunschweig…) over RB Leipzig.

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Dennis Liedschulte

Dennis works as a journalist and author of fictional novels in Germany. He is a regular visitor of the German Bundesliga. He worked for several newspapers and online magazines and reports directly from Germany for bundesligafanatic.com. Follow at @NummerSieben7

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