Bratislava Wins 21st Edition of the European Ivy League

The 21st annual European Ivy League (EIL) soccer tournament of HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management took place on Saturday, May 27, 2017

A total of 18 teams from universities representing all of Europe, such as ESCP Business School and IE Business School from Madrid, Vienna University of Economics and Business, University of Vienna, University of Potsdam, TU Dresden, University of Economics (EUBA) Bratislava, University of Groningen, University of Bayreuth, University of Mannheim as well as numerous teams from the host HHL participated in this unique sports event. The line-up was completed by three corporate teams from Porsche Leipzig, Axxplore and Stern Stewart. The soccer tournament, organized solely by HHL students, looks back on a long tradition within the HHL network and offers a unique platform to companies and students alike.

The motto of the XXIth European Ivy League was once again “Business Meets Soccer”. The panel discussion titled “Future of German Bundesliga – Think Global, Act Local” at the beginning of the event focused on the economic aspect of the soccer business as well as the future of the DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga (“German Association Football League”).

HHL’s own Prof. Dr. Henning Zülch, the patron of the EIL event, led the discussion with Hannover 96 President Martin Kind and RB Leipzig CFO Florian Hopp. Among other things, they discussed the professionalization of the Bundesliga and agreed that the commercial field has developed very well but there is still great room for improvement when it comes to bringing former professional players from the pitch into management. The President of Hannover 96 sees enormous potential for universities and academic institutions in training these people in fields such as contract management, leadership, human resource selection and labor law.

The audience showed great interest in RB Leipzig, its exceptional success and the future of the club. Martin Kind is certain that his friend and RB Sporting Director Ralf Rangnick has brought a high level of professionalism to Leipzig and that Red Bull as the main sponsor leaves nothing to chance, commenting, “It had to become a success story. Everything has been perfectly planned.” Following this statement and the title of the discussion “Think Global, Act Local”, CFO Florian Hopp then went on to describe the situation of the club from an internal point of view, explaining, “RB Leipzig is a kind of soccer start-up, very efficient and with short decision-making channels. Global thinking to us means learning from global players – mainly the U.S. market – in economic matters. At the same time, we are deeply rooted in the region and do not want to jump the gun.”

Once again, the alumni from the University of Economics Bratislava won the final of this year’s European Ivy League. In an exciting game, the team clearly prevailed over the team of 10 organizing M.Sc. students with a score of 3:0. The team of alumni from the University of Economics Bratislava had already achieved clear victories, demonstrating the players’ excellent technical skills. The opponent in the final, a team from HHL, had also shown its full potential in an exciting match during the semi-finals, beating the players from Porsche Leipzig with a narrow 4:3 win on penalties. The Porsche team won the third-place match as well, beating the team from the University of Groningen.

Looking back at the event, the main organizers and M.Sc. students, Dominik Schwital and Lukas Zechel, commented on Sunday, “We had a fantastic event. We kicked things off with an exciting panel discussion and a great welcome party on Friday, taking the weekend to the next level with the actual tournament. A highlight for HHL was the fact that a team from our business school played in the final again for the first time in a long while. The atmosphere in the sports hall was amazing. Watching the DFB Cup final together on the big screen and the party afterward brought the event to a fitting conclusion.”

The European Ivy League After Show Party at Elsterartig on Saturday night marked another highlight of the event. Before the party, the cup was presented to the winning team from the University of Economics Bratislava and the Team Spirit Award went to the University of Groningen, which has had a close connection to the tournament for years, at the Beyerhaus restaurant. The level of loyalty is as far as one player got a “Leipsick” tattoo. In addition to honoring the successes on the field, the winners of the table soccer tournament, which took place on Friday, were presented with awards as well. The right atmosphere was created by the players jointly watching the DFB Cup final on Saturday night.

Following the festive award ceremony, the participants celebrated their successes and experiences until the early-morning hours. The tournament weekend came to an end with the traditional farewell brunch at the Barfusz restaurant on Sunday where everyone was able to refuel for the trip home.

The XXI European Ivy League was sponsored by the HHL Alumni Association e.V., Stern Stewart & Co. GmbH, Konsum Leipzig, AlixPartners GmbH, LineUpr, Sternburg Brauerei GmbH, Maserati, RedBull, Wodqa, PrintPeter as well as 11teamsports. Other supporters included Fischer druck&medien, Modomoto, Sebamed, Leipziger Verkehrsbetriebe and Burgerheart Leipzig.