Imagine the tale of Wimbledon and Milton Keynes with mountains not roundabouts. Replace the concrete cows with the bovine beasts of a popular energy drink. Add a decade of domination and you find yourself in Salzburg. It is the Austrian city where Red Bull investment has transformed football and cast tradition aside in pursuit of sporting excellence. In the Champions League this week, their serene progress, and in particular their impressive strategy of recruitment and player development, will be held in sharp focus when exceptional young forwards Erling Haaland and Benjamin Sesko go head to head. Haaland of Manchester City and Sesko of Leipzig came through Red Bull Salzburg in a blaze of goals, lured to the eastern Alps on a promise of access to elite coaching, high-tech facilities and an environment of opportunity. Haaland came at 18 from Molde in Norway and left for Borussia Dortmund having won medals, played in the Champions League and enhanced a burgeoning reputation, all while a teenager. Erling Haaland has become the world's leading striker since leading RB Salzburg He will face another of their former players, Benjamin Sesko, in the Champions League this week The pathway served him well. At 23, he is arguably the most lethal forward in world football having fired Manchester City to the Treble. Little wonder others have chosen the same route. Sesko arrived at 16 from Slovenia, making his way through RB Salzburg’s youth ranks and an apprenticeship on loan at Liefering, also owned by Red Bull and effectively RB Salzburg’s reserves competing in Austria’s second tier. In July, still only 20 and with Premier League clubs including Manchester United on his trail, Sesko left for Leipzig, another Red Bull club, and has started in Germany with a flurry of goals. ‘You can certainly compare the two in terms of stature,’ said Bernhard Seonbuchner, sporting director of RB Salzburg. ‘In terms of space, the two are quite different. Benjamin came to Salzburg as a very young player, where we trained him for several years and he developed into a top player. ‘His skills as a footballer fit perfectly with the type of football we play. What’s special about him is that despite his size, he has incredible technique and is extremely agile. You don’t really expect that from a player of his stature. ‘Erling Haaland, on the other hand, came as an adult, previously in the first team at Molde. He was exceptionally ambitious when he was with us and subordinated everything to football, so that he is now one of the best strikers in the world.’ After selling Sesko for £20million, they have turned to the next crop of graduates, recalling Roko Simic from a loan spell in Zurich and sticking him up front alongside Karim Konate, only 19 and already a senior Ivory Coast international. ‘Konate is more of a player with a fine blade, good technique and nimbleness,’ says Seonbuchner. ‘Roko is more of a fighter, someone who looks for infights and duels. They complement each other well, but are still very young so we also give them the opportunity to develop further and at a good level. I am convinced their paths will also lead to top European clubs.’ Roko Simic, son of Croatia legend Dario, looks set to become the next superstar at the Austrian club Karim Konate also looks set for stardom after scoring 15 goals in 18 games on loan at Liefering last year Simic is 20, born in Italy three months after his father Dario, a Croatia international who won 100 caps in a long career, had collected a Champions League winner’s medal with AC Milan. Tall, strong and mobile, he is slim in the mould of Haaland and Sesko, as if they have a cloning lab hidden in the hills. What’s not to admire? Well, go back to 2005 when Red Bull’s investors seized the identity of Austria Salzburg to accelerate their plans in European football. They changed colours from the traditional and distinctive violet-and-white and changed the crest to incorporate the red bulls, leaving furious fans to form a breakaway and begin the long and painful process of fighting back through the divisions while championing their heritage and harbouring animosity. Last Tuesday, the teams met for the first time, a timely reminder of the origin story. Austria Salzburg, with their violet colours restored and residing in the third tier, the Regional League West, unleashed 18 years of hatred in the second round of the OFB Cup. They lost 4-0 at home but did not miss the chance to revel in righteous indignation with a fearsome display of support and a large banner featuring Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, the city’s most famous son, bashing a red bull over the head with a violin. ‘In Salzburg, we play first violin,’ it said. A line to melt the hearts of those who still enjoy their football with a dash of hopeless romance. In the Champions League, meanwhile, Red Bull Salzburg will take on Real Sociedad tomorrow. Look out for Simic and Konate. Owls mistaken to sack Moore Sheffield Wednesday sit bottom of the Championship after a torrid start to the season Fans will be regretting the decision to sack Darren Moore after winning promotion with him Desperate times at Sheffield Wednesday. Rock bottom of the Championship with owner Dejphon Chansiri picking fights with fans and threatening to stop investing in the club. The mood has sunk so low it is hard to believe just 18 weeks have passed since the euphoria of the League One play-off final at Wembley. Owning a club is not for the thin-skinned. Succeed and the players and manager get all the glory. Fail and it is your fault. So there might be sympathy for Chansiri were it not for his decision to sack Darren Moore after promotion, a vain and impetuous move and the catalyst for the mess the club are now in. Moore returns to Hillsborough on Saturday as the manager of Huddersfield Town, guaranteed a warm reception from the home crowd. Whether his successor, Xisco Munoz, survives to greet him remains to be seen. Having spent an afternoon in the warm glow of Nottingham Forest’s Thursday Club last week, I can guarantee Ian Storey-Moore’s new authorised biography, Give It To Moore, He Will Score! written by Stuart Humphreys and published by Pitch, will prove a source of brilliant stories.