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Union Berlin fans silent at game in protest over foundation of RB Leipzig

Union Berlin fans dressed in black and remained silent for the first 15 minutes of the clash against RB Leipzig on Sunday in protest against the way their opponents were founded.

Just like Austrian side FC Salzburg, the German second-tier side from Leipzig are funded by soft-drink giant Red Bull.

The club was established in 2009, when RB took over the license from fifth-division outfit SSV Markranstadt -- a small town just outside of Leipzig.

Within five years, RB reached the 2. Bundesliga and have high hopes of being promoted to the country's top flight.

Some claim that RB were, for the first time, not foremost established as a football club but as a marketing vehicle for a soft drink.

On the other side, those supporting the project say that the club have finally brought football back to Leipzig -- a city tired of fights between the rival fan groups of the defunct Sachsen and Lok teams.

Following RB's promotion to the 2. Bundesliga, several supporters' groups have started to protest against the club.

And on Sunday, in the biggest protest to date, Union fans wore black ponchos made out of bin bags inside their Alte Forsterei stadium for 15 minutes and also remained silent throughout that period.

A flyer given to fans before the match branded RB as an "upheaved marketing product," while banners on display in the stadium throughout the duration of the protest highlighted that football stands for terraces, emotion, financial fair play, tradition and history -- things that Union fans feel the Leipzig side lack.

"It's a protest for something, not against something," Union press officer Christian Arbeit is quoted as saying by Spiegel before the match.

The protest remained peaceful and Union, who had not won in their opening five games, beat the previously undefeated RB 2-1.


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