Dominik Kaiser says protests only make RB Leipzig stronger
RB Leipzig captain Dominik Kaiser says the ongoing protests from opposition fans only serve to make the newly promoted club stronger.
Leipzig, founded by Red Bull in 2009, have faced protests from fans in every game they have played so far in the 2016-17 season, with Cologne followers causing a delay to kickoff ahead of Sunday's game when they staged a sit-in at their stadium that prevented the visitors' team bus gaining access.
"We sat in the bus, and so of course witnessed it," Kaiser told Bild when asked about the sit-in. "But that was all. At this time, you are already focused on the match. Overall I'd say: If those protests do anything with us then they only make us stronger."
On Friday, Leipzig host FC Augsburg, who will travel to Saxony without most of their supporters.
Following in the footsteps of Borussia Dortmund fans earlier in the season, a significant number of Augsburg followers are set to remain in Bavaria and instead celebrate a "tradition day" at their old stadium on Saturday, when the club's under-23 team host Greuther Furth II in the fourth tier.
"As different as the approaches to the solution, the wishes and the ideas within the FC Augsburg family might be, the clear lowest common denominator for all football fans should be: RB shall never be accepted," Szene Fuggerstadt, a coalition of different Augsburg fan groups, said on a flyer that was also published on its official website.
Augsburg will allow fans to follow Friday's game from their club's stadium but the club's sporting director, Stefan Reuter, said Leipzig have every right to be playing top-level football.
"There's a loud outcry against RB Leipzig within the fan groups, but everyone who keeps to the statutes and qualifies for it deserves to play in Bundesliga," he told reporters.
The weekly protests against Leipzig have prompted discussion in Germany over whether the criticism of the club is valid.
Wolfram Eilenberger, a self-proclaimed "football philosopher" in Die Zeit, argued that fans are using the protests to vent their frustrations over their own club's failures, writing: "He who hates Red Bull hates himself."
Stephan Uersfeld is the Germany correspondent for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @uersfeld.