Austrian energy drink manufacturers, Red Bull GmbH, will be in a conundrum during the upcoming Champions League semi-final tie between Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig. On one hand, Red Bull-owned Leipzig are bracing for their first-ever UCL semi-final, while on the other hand, their opponents PSG boast the most prominent of Red Bull's faces, Neymar.
Both Neymar and Leipzig have strong links to the energy drink company. Neymar began his partnership with Red Bull back in 2010, just one year after RB Leipzig was founded in Germany. Neymar's representatives have hosted an annual five-a-side soccer tournament organised by Red Bull. Neymar frequently appears on Red Bull’s Instagram handle, promoting his tournament and 8offering a training program to the viewers.
Meanwhile, the rise of RB Leipzig under the ownership of the energy drink giants has been nothing short of phenomenal. Founded in 2009 after Red Bull acquired licence rights from fifth-tier SSV Markranstaedt, Leipzig saw steady promotions through the lower leagues in Germany, reaching the Bundesliga for the first time in 2016.
While Red Bull's ownership of the club is reviled in the Bundesliga, the progress the club has made under Red Bull has been outstanding. This season's UCL appearance is Leipzig's second appearance in the competition. They knocked out the likes of Tottenham Hotspur and Atletico Madrid en route to the semi-finals.
Red Bull celebrated the quarter-final wins of both clubs, congratulating PSG and Leipzig on Instagram. Celebrating Leipzig's historic 2-1 win against Atletico, the Austrian company shared a small clip of the players rejoicing in the locker room with a caption that read: "We believe congratulations are in order."
Neymar and Leipzig will both be chasing history on Tuesday. The world's most expensive football player, Neymar, will be hoping to lead his side to a first Champions League final appearance, with a winners medal the ultimate goal for the most expensive project in French football. The only other time PSG reached the semi-finals of the competition was in 1994-95 where they lost to AC Milan 3-0 on aggregate. Although they are the underdogs, Julian Nagelsmann's RB Leipzig will be looking to cause another upset in the tournament. Leipzig themselves could make history by reaching the first UCL final in their short history. The PSG vs RB Leipzig match will kick off at 12:30 AM IST on August 19.