A century apart: newcomers Leipzig prepare to host Dortmund

It has been seven years in the making but RB Leipzig’s dream of hosting Bundesliga football in the city is now just days away from realisation.

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On Matchday 2, the club formed as recently as 2009, welcome giants Borussia Dortmund, established a century before, to their swanky Red Bull Arena, a venue purpose-built for the new age which the club has now entered.

Constructed in 2004, the stadium’s previous highlights included a Germany-Georgia international in 2015 and five matches at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. This season, however, fans can become accustomed to a full house every other week, as the best teams in Germany face RBL in the top flight for the first time.

- © gettyimages

If the newly-promoted side are the new kids on the block, their opponents this week are veterans of the division, boasting records, trophies and history that dwarf that of their hosts.

Founded just shy of 100 years before Leipzig, Dortmund boast five Bundesliga titles – including a domestic double in 2011/12 - and the UEFA Champions League, while their home ground of Signal Iduna Park welcomes the largest average attendance of any club football area in Europe.

- © gettyimages / Simon Hofmann

It is to all this that Leipzig now aspire, and after a creditable 2-2 draw at TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in their top-flight debut on Matchday 1, Kaiser and Co. are now targeting a first win, in spite of the quality of opposition.

“We'll be in great shape and will look to be compact and aggressive against BVB, just as we were at Hoffenheim,” said the 27-year-old. “I'm certain we can get something on home turf, even if it's a tough test. We don’t need to hide from BVB.”

Bernard Reeves