Not many people in Germany are going to be supporting Red Bull Leipzig this season after their promotion to the Bundesliga. You can count Dortmund CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke among those who aren't particularly fond of the new club in Saxony.
Dortmund's travelling away fans have made it known that they intend to boycott BVB's away match in Leipzig on September 10th. Instead of attending the match at Red Bull Arena, they'll go and support Borussia Dortmund II as they take on Wuppertal.
Speaking to Bild, Watzke made it clear that he understands the Dortmund supporters' decision.
"I will never endorse when our fans will stay away from a game but that's their right and I respect that decision!
It is a scandal that a pure marketing branch office of an Austrian beverage producer can indeed run in the highest divison tier in Germany."
As Watzke's comments show, Red Bull Leipzig are one of the most controversial clubs in Europe. They were founded in 2009 when the Red Bull energy drink company took over fifth-division team SSV Markrandstadt. Since then they've achieved their goal of winning promotion to the first-division, primarily through massive injections of cash that otherwise would not have been available to a club of that size.
Many in Germany view them as a stain of modern football. Don't be surprised if other team's fan groups follow Südtribüne Dortmund's lead in staying away from the RBL away match.
But there's another side to the RB Leipzig story that Watzke believes should not be forgotten.
"I personally am happy for the people in the east, they have a Bundesliga club again. Even if one would wish that things at RB would run differently. The club isn't my favourite construct and never will get to be, but I have too much respect for the fans in eastern Germany to condemn all this openly."
East Germany has long been under-represented by teams in the top flight of German football. Out of 18 Bundesliga teams this season, only Hertha Berlin and RBL will come from East Germany.
For historical reasons that we're all aware of, East German football clubs have struggled to reach the Bundesliga and have sustained success. But there are still many fans in East Germany who are hungry for a team to support. Watzke hasn't forgotten about those fans.
It's unfortunate that Red Bull Leipzig are the latest East German team to reach the top flight. They certainly won't be greeted with open arms.
Hopefully someday soon another team can rise from East Germany with a more natural and football-friendly history.