Bayern Munich v RB Leipzig: Equals on the pitch, poles apart off it

Sunday's game proved little separates Bayern Munich and RB Leipzig, who played out a goalless draw, on the pitch but off it the contrast is stark.

Bayern Munich versus RB Leipzig – if ever a fixture was about more than the game itself, this was it.   -  Bongarts

Bayern Munich versus RB Leipzig – if ever a fixture was about more than the game itself, this was it.

In its plainest reading, absent any nuance, Sunday's Bundesliga clash at the Allianz Arena pitted history, heritage and prestige against, well, Leipzig.

Bayern, with its 29 league titles and five European Cups, is a global powerhouse, a team that would spring more readily to mind than almost any other if one were prompted to name one.

ALSO READ| Leipzig holds Bundesliga leader Bayern to stay point behind

As with any club that boasts such a well-stocked trophy room, Bayern is not without its detractors, but respect for the Bavarians is universal, even if sometimes begrudging.

The same cannot be said for Leipzig.

Created in 2009 in circumstances not compatible with any club seeking to be ordained as 'proper' in the eyes of football's ardent traditionalists, RB Leipzig – and the prefix matters here – was at first perceived as a distasteful anomaly.

Having assumed SSV Markranstadt's spot in the fifth tier, consuming that club in the process, the Red Bull-owned franchise was far enough down the pecking order that its business model, a source of concern and even disgust to many, was not considered a threat to the established order.

ALSO READ| Ligue 1: PSG aided by own goal for the ages in win over Lyon

But its very existence, at whatever level, was still too much for a great many supporters in Germany, who found little trouble distinguishing between Leipzig's unbridled commercialism – typified by its subversion of the '50+1' ownership rule – and its own clubs' multi-million Euro deals for stadium naming rights, kit sponsorship and the like.

It is against this backdrop of cynicism and widespread antipathy that Leipzig has risen to the heights of top-flight title contenders, making Sunday's trip to Munich a genuine six-pointer. 

Julian Nagelsmann insisted before the game that it would not be decisive, with his side heading into it one point behind the reigning champions.

Leipzig's head coach, himself just 32, has a young and exciting squad at his disposal – the youngest, in fact, in the division – and it plays in a manner that makes you want to forget the stuffy off-field issues that colour people's judgement of this fledgling club.

ALSO READ| Inter 4-2 Milan: Nerazzurri top after dramatic derby turnaround

But Bayern is the toughest of nuts to crack and, seeking an eighth consecutive Bundesliga title, it was the host which carried itself with greater purpose on the pitch.

Thomas Muller passed when he should have shot, while Robert Lewandowski did get an effort away but saw it deflected wide during a first half in which the host was on top.

Bayern was awarded a penalty that was soon taken away after Lewandowski had strayed offside before being fouled, while Timo Werner's profligate finishing ensured the lively Christopher Nkunku's excellent cross went unrewarded.

Goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi's excellent late stop from Leon Goretzka ensured that, as in September's meeting in Leipzig, the spoils were split between two clubs who share little else in common.

  Dugout videos