Monday 23 April 2018

RB Leipzig sporting director sparks fury by running to show referee a replay on his phone

RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick clashes with Bayern Munich's Sven Ulreich at half time. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle
RB Leipzig sporting director Ralf Rangnick clashes with Bayern Munich's Sven Ulreich at half time. REUTERS/Michaela Rehle

Daniel Zeqiri

RB Leipzig were already unpopular in some Bundesliga quarters and the behaviour of sporting director Ralf Rangnick on Wednesday night will have won them few friends.

Rangnick was incensed by referee Felix Zawyer's decision to award Leipzig a free-kick after he had initially given a penalty in their German Cup tie against rivals Bayern Munich.

The director attempted to play the role of Video Assistant Referee, running onto the pitch at half time to show officials a replay of the incident on his phone.

Bayern's players were incandescent at this attempt to influence the referee, and centre back Mats Hummels had to be separated from Rangnick by future Liverpool player and Leipzig midfielder Naby Keita.

Replays in fact showed the referee was correct, and Bayern went on to progress via penalties after the match finished as a 1-1 draw.

Keita, due to join Liverpool next year after a deal was agreed this summer, received his third red card of the season for two bookable offences.

Leipzig, owned by energy drink giants Red Bull, qualified for the Champions League in their first season but their rise was viewed as anything but a fairytale.

Many fans as well as sections of the media expressed concerns about the commodification of Germany football. Most Bundesliga clubs are run by their members, and are fiercely opposed to their game following the same commercial path as the Premier League.

One tabloid newspaper, the Berliner Kurier, even refused to print the club's name, using the insulting term "Dosenverkauf" (can-sellers) in their Bundesliga table.

Their matches against Germany's traditional powerhouses such as Bayern, Borussia Dortmund and Schalke have quickly developed into very modern rivalries.

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