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Bundesliga RB Leipzig season restart preview: The team everyone loves to hate

No team in Germany comes close to the amount of enmity thrust upon the one owned by an energy drink. They’re in sight of returning to European football next year, but can they win the domestic crown?

Patrik Schick of RB Leipzig controls the ball during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match between RB Leipzig and Tottenham Hotspur at Red Bull Arena on March 10, 2020 in Leipzig, Germany. Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images

The German government approved Bundesliga’s return. German football officials will decide on a restart date of either May 15th or May 22nd. We take a look at some of the key clubs in the chase for the championship, places in European competitions for next season, and those fighting to avoid relegation.

There’s probably not a more hated team in all of football than RB Leipzig. That’s for a lot of reasons, but most of them are off the field. To understand the history, you need to realize that most teams in Germany are public trusts, owned by supporters and steeped in traditions of community and being a public good.

So when Red Bull bought SSV Markranstadt in 2009, a club mired in the fifth-division of German football, and dumped millions of dollars into promoting them up to the Bundesliga, it was an affront to the traditions and norms of fussball. To make that move in eight years was incredible. To end up in the Champions League in just 10 was even more miraculous.

But in doing so they’ve upset the establishment. They’ve been told they aren’t welcome in opposing arenas. There are protests when they play on the road. No one will face them in preseason friendlies. The animus runs deep. But the product on the pitch can’t be denied, and looks likely to return to European competition next season.

Place in table

3rd, 50 points

Key Players

Timo Werner
Christopher Nkunku
Péter Gulácsi

Schedule remaining

vs. Freiburg
@ Mainz O5
vs. Hertha Berlin
@ Köln
vs. Paderborn 07
@ Hoffenheim
vs. Dusseldorf
vs. Dortmund
@ Augsburg

As the season returns

It’s a tough row to hoe for Leipzig to actually take home the Bundesliga crown, but there is certainly a path. With a match against hated rivals Dortmund at Red Bull Arena the only one remaining against a side that’s top seven of the table, there are plenty of chances for points to keep pace.

Timo Werner is one of the best young players in Germany for both club and country, but is rumored to be on his way to Liverpool whenever the offseason transfer window opens. His 21 goals in 25 matches this season is second in the league, and he creates as many chances as any player in the country. Péter Gulácsi is also one of the best keepers in the league not named Manuel Neuer.

With the fast and free-flowing style of RB, they would be much more popular as a club with their attacking football if not for the, you know, unbridled hatred of everything they stand for away from it.

They’ll need Bayern to fall back, and will likely be rooting for rivals Dortmund in that matchup with the holders, but the most likely path is for Leipzig to stay in Europe but not as champions. Their odds of +1000 to win the trophy seem pretty correct.

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