Red Bull Salzburg has too much fizz for RB Leipzig in Europa League

Posted at 3:35 PM, Sep 20, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-20 18:10:21-04

Red Bull Salzburg had too much spark for RB Leipzig in a dramatic Europa League match on Thursday.

Two quick goals from Amadou Haidara and Munas Dabbur put the visitors in control before Leipzig responded with a stirring second-half comeback.

Goals from Konrad Laimer and Yussuf Poulsen looked to have secured a draw for Leipzig but a late strike from Fredrik Gulbrandsen gave wings to the Austrian side as it came away from Germany with a 3-2 win.

Two-separate entities

Both clubs have strong links to energy drink giant Red Bull, which was co-founded by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz.

Red Bull first bought Austria Salzburg in 2005, giving it the name Red Bull Salzburg, and then four years later took over SSV Markranstaedt, renaming it RB Leipzig.

However, UEFA has rules which usually prevent two teams with close connections from playing each other.

That issue first manifested itself in 2017 when both Red Bull clubs qualified for the Champions League.

European football’s governing body launched a month-long investigation and the teams were subsequently forced to prove they existed as separate entities.

Both restructured in a bid to comply to the official rules.

Following the investigation, UEFA was satisfied that Red Bull had surrendered direct control of RB Salzburg, remaining only as their main sponsor.

It ruled that, “no individual or legal entity had a decisive influence over more than one club.”

Divisive issue

But that resolution has left some football fans unconvinced.

“It’s not about the name or that they have the same sponsor, that is not the problem,” Tobias Ahrens, a German football fan, told Copa90.

“The problem is that the people, who are on the top level at the clubs, know each other.

“The problem is the last game, the sixth game, between Leipzig and Salzburg. They will know how they have to play for one club to get to the next stage. This is a big problem.”

After the Europa League draw was made in August, Red Bull chief executive Mateschitz said: “May the better team win. It’s a great story for everyone in our family and it will be interesting and fun.”

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The relationship between both Red Bull clubs goes beyond similar kit colors and logos. Since 2015, 12 players have been moved between the franchises.

Most notably, Naby Keita moved from Salzburg to Leipzig in a deal which helped the German side grow in the Bundesliga. He was then sold to Liverpool for $70 million.

Leipzig was forced to officially drop Red Bull from its name, due to Bundesliga rules — RB stands for RasenBallsport (Lawn Ball Sport).

F91 Dudelange ‘reunite’ with AC Milan

There was also a reunion of sorts in Luxemburg as F91 Dudelange hosted Italian giants AC Milan in a match with a unique history.

The minnows were initially formed by a group of Rossoneri fans who migrated to work in the town’s steelworks in 1916.

They initially brought the traditional red and black stripes to the club and the link has never quite been forgotten.

F91 did their best to mark the significant meeting with a shock result and kept their illustrious opponents out for almost an hour before Gonzalo Higuain slotted home the only goal of the game.