The RB Leipzig vs Union Berlin match-up continues to be heated.

The RB Leipzig vs Union Berlin match-up continues to be heated.

You may assume that two football teams with locations in the often still ignored east of Germany would have a common sense of place and culture. RB Leipzig (as previously covered in this space) didn’t exist until 2009 when Red Bull took over a fifth-tier team, therefore a different impression applies. That may be true of teams from the former Deutsche Demokratische Republik. Many may counter that although they may be in the East, they are unquestionably not of it. Simply put, the city of Leipzig served as an efficient staging area for the promotion of an energy drink. In this regard, RB Leipzig differs from Lokomotive and Chemie, two local clubs that are less well-known yet have significant historical significance.

Like them or hate them, Union is a club with roots in the southeast Berlin neighborhood of Koepenick. If you picture a team as being associated with the brand-new, gleaming, reconstructed area of Berlin, reconsider. Die Eisernen (The Iron Ones) is a local team with an unassuming vibe. They play in a modest, evocative stadium and are supported by the standing tradition, which necessitates a lovely stroll through a forest. Ironically, this focus on localism has drawn new, worldwide followers who view the Union experience as a sort of holy grail cure for the worst flaws in contemporary sport. Casino

Union Berlin and RB Leipzig may be opposed, but they do have some common ground. Much of the tension between FCU and RBL has been caused by sharing a division, whether it was the 2. Bundesliga beginning in 2014 or the Bundesliga itself starting in 2019. Union, with a small budget, shocked most observers by unexpectedly entering the top-flight party by defeating VfB Stuttgart in the relegation playoff.

The Union side was mostly responsible for the first nagging, such as the matchday magazine’s purposeful substitution of the SSV Markranstadt logo for the RB Leipzig emblem or the Union supporters’ ongoing tradition of boycotting the opening 15-minute of RBL matches.

Indeed, RB Leipzig isn’t very popular among German fans, but at the executive board level, this sentiment has significantly subsided. RBL has assimilated into the decor and, to some, stands for the possibility of intensifying the competition at the top of the Bundesliga.

Dirk Zingler, the longtime president of the Union, and Christian Arbeit, his right-hand man, have made a point of not reaching out to RBL and, instead, have stirred up trouble and, consequently, drama.

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However, everyone admires the Union football program, which is led by the shrewd Oliver Ruhnert and led by head coach Urs Fischer. Both have, in relative terms, made a little go a long way, and Leipzig’s new sports director Max Eberl has been particularly accommodating in admitting that incontrovertible reality.

Rohnert seldom records misses while steadily adding to his amazing list of signing hits. For instance, Julian Ryerson was snatched up from Viking Stavanger in 2018 with minimal notice. He left for Borussia Dortmund last month, but not before Union was paid a transfer price that was around 30 times what they paid for him. The Dutch defender Danilho Doekhi, who has four goals in 10 games, may have been the best acquisition of this season.

For now, Fischer is living the coaching dream at a location where the Swiss strategist is valued, yet he may one day hear the siren song of a bigger club and heed it.

Just one point behind league-leading Bayern Munich, Union is putting pressure on them. They have racked up five straight victories across all competitions, the latest two coming as a result of late tenacity. Additionally, the tendency is in Union’s favor when it comes to Leipzig, as die Eisernen has won the last four league encounters. In their Bundesliga narrative against any team, if they can make it five, they will be breaking new ground. Casino Banner

However, Leipzig has its notable records, including a Champions League-record 18-game undefeated streak in all competitions dating back to mid-September. Christopher Nkunku, Dani Olmo, and Willi Orban are currently out due to injury, and Marco Rose’s team will likely be without them on Saturday as well. Willi Orban has received a standing ovation from everyone in German football for his selfless donation of stem cells this week that could potentially save the life of another person.

The DFB-Pokal semifinal between Leipzig and Union was thrilling, and the victory helped Leipzig win their first significant title. However, it was difficult to work, as it often seems to be when they are up against Fischer’s tenacious group of overachievers.

Prepare for an incredible Saturday Topspiel, but if you want to call it an Ostduell, maybe be cautious (a duel between Eastern clubs). Some people don’t see it that way.

Author: Bobby Parker