UPDATED FOR 2023-24 - JULY 2023
Founded: Sep 29, 1887
Club Members: 90,000
Nickname: Der Dino
Coach: Tim Walter
Captain: Sebastian Schonlau
German Champions / Bundesliga: 6
European Cup / Champions League: 1
European Cup Winners Cup: 1
Six times German champions !
Three times cup winners !
Always in the first division !
For years it was a terrace song that rang out around the Volksparkstadion proudly boasting the fact that Hamburger SV were the only club in Germany never to have been relegated. Their longevity in the top-flight had earned them the nickname Der Dino (The Dinosaur) and in a corner of the stadium a giant clock - the Stadionuhr - counted, down to the precise second, how long the club had spent in the Bundesliga since 5pm on 24th August 1963. Time hangs heavy on several clubs - but perhaps none more so than HSV.
The HSV that exists today was founded in June 1919 through a merger of three clubs. However, their history can be traced back to 29th September 1887 when the first of the predecessors, SC Germania, were formed as an amalgam of two track and field clubs - Der Hohenfelder Sport Club and Wandsbek-Marienthaler. As an athletic club, SC Germania didn't kick a football until 1891 but they soon lifted their first silverware, winning the first of five Hamburg-Altona championships in 1896 before football, and by proxy, the club were brought to an abrupt halt by the advent of war in 1914. As Germany struggled to rebuild after the conflict, many football clubs found restoring past glories and teams ripped apart by war difficult, forcing them to complete mergers in order to survive and in June 1919, SC Germania joined forces with Hamburger FC and FC Falke Eppendorf to form Hamburger Sport-Verein (HSV).
It didn't take long for the newcomers to find their feet and by 1922 they were making their first appearance in the German National Championship final against a 1.FC Nürnberg side aiming for their third consecutive title. Played in the pioneer era before floodlights, substitutions and 30 minutes of extra-time, the teams fought out a 2-2 draw before the referee brought proceedings to a halt in near darkness after a mammoth three hours and 10 minutes of play. The replay also went into extra-time and with the score all-square again at 2-2, the match was called off this time when Nürnberg were left with just seven players on the pitch after Luitpold Popp collapsed with exhaustion and was unable to carry on (one of his team mates had been injured and two others sent-off earlier in the match). Hamburg were initially awarded the match by the German FA (DFB) before protest, counter-protest and considerable pressure from the football authorities saw HSV grudgingly refuse to accept the Viktoria Trophy as champions in the name of sportsmanship. The club didn't have long to wait for their first unqualified success though, beating Union Oberschöneweide a year later to finally lift the trophy and they became German champions again in 1928 when they made full use of home advantage to beat Hertha Berlin 5-2 in the final held that year in the Hanseatic city's own Altonaer Stadion.
After the Nazi rise to power, football was restructured in Germany with the creation of the Gauliga in 1933 which funnelled clubs into 16 (later to become 18 following the Austrian Anschluß in 1938) divisions and HSV remained the strongest regional side throughout the 1930s - winning five top-flight Gauliga Nordmark titles. Repeating their German championship success however proved a taller order and semi-final appearances in 1938 and 1939 was the best they managed under the Third Reich.
Once football and dictatorship had begun to untangle themselves from each other at the end of World War 2, HSV picked up largely where they had left off, lifting the Stadtliga Hamburg in 1946 before winning both editions of the short-lived British Occupation Zone Football Championship in 1947 and 1948. After becoming the first German club to tour the USA in 1950, HSV ruled the regional Oberliga Nord when football resumed in post-war West Germany, lifting the title in 15 of the next 16 seasons with Uwe Seeler making his debut in 1953 before scoring 267 goals in just 237 Oberliga matches. Despite having the prolific Seeler in their ranks, national titles proved harder to come by however and HSV were runners-up in the 1956 DFB-Pokal and successive German National Championship finals in 1957 and 1958 before finally becoming the Deutsche Fußballmeisterschaft again in 1960 when they edged past 1.FC Köln 3-2. HSV kicked off their maiden European Cup campaign the following season with a 5-0 thumping of Swiss club Young Boys and after beating English champions Burnley, their gallop across Europe was eventually brought to a halt in the semi-finals by FC Barcelona. The 77,600 who watched their team take on the Catalan giants in the first leg remains the record attendance for any HSV home match.
After failing to follow up the 'Miracle of Bern' World Cup triumph of 1954, the DFB replaced the regional Oberliga competitions with a pan-German professional league in 1963 and HSV's consistently strong performances up to this date made them automatic choices to become one of the band of brothers who formed the new Bundesliga. Before they'd even played their first match in the new league (a 1-1 draw against Preußen Münster), HSV recorded another milestone that month when they beat Borussia Dortmund 3-0 to lift the DFB-Pokal for the first time and went on to finish the inaugural Bundesliga season in a creditable sixth place. Uwe Seeler continued to cement his status as a club legend by topping the scoring charts with a brilliant return of 30 goals to claim both the Torjägerkanone and German Footballer of the Year awards that year.
In April 1973, a flamboyant business entrepreneur called Dr Peter Krohn was appointed as the club's General Manager with an avowed aim to make HSV a force - an ambitious aspiration given that Bayern München and Borussia Mönchengladbach had been dominating West German football since the late 1960s and Hamburg's best Bundesliga performance up until that point had been a modest fifth-place finish in 1971. Krohn was one of the first in the game to realise the potential benefits of commercialisation in football though and launched various initiatives to help finance his ambitions for the club - including selling advertising space, giving fans a vote on transfers and even introducing a pink home shirt to encourage women to HSV's matches. The progress he might have envisaged certainly took its time in arriving but by 1976 HSV had begun to step into the void left by the waning Munich and Gladbach sides with a runners-up Bundesliga finish and silverware in the form of the DFB-Pokal after a 2-0 win over 1.FC Kaiserslautern. Continental success followed with the 1977 European Cup Winners Cup being added to the trophy cabinet after goals from Georg Volkert and Felix Magath saw Die Rothosen beat Anderlecht 2-0 in Amsterdam.
Japanese manufacturing kingpins Hitachi became shirt sponsors in 1977 and helped finance the signing of English superstar Kevin Keegan who, like The Beatles before him, swapped the Mersey for the Elbe in a then British record transfer of £500,000 from Liverpool. Keegan however walked into a dressing room destabilised by the departure of popular manager Kuno Klotzer who Krohn, despite opposition from the squad, had replaced with louche globetrotter Rudi Gutendorf. It was a gamble that didn't pay off and following a poor start to the 1977-78 season, both Krohn and Guttendorf had left the club by the end of October. Although he hadn't taken Hamburg to where he wanted, Krohn had put in place strong foundations from which his replacement Günter Netzer benefitted and one of the new man's first acts was to appoint as coach, disciplinarian Branko Zebec who had led Bayern München to their first Bundesliga title and DFB-Pokal during his single season in charge of the Bavarian giants in 1969.
Netzer and Zebec got to work overhauling the playing squad with William Hartwig, Bernd Wehmeyer, Hans-Gunther Plucken and Horst 'Header Beast' Hrubesch being brought in whilst 'troublemakers' like Arno Steffenhagen and Georg Volkert were moved on. Keegan, used to the smoky cosiness of the Anfield Boot Room, had endured a difficult first season in Germany with team mates reportedly jealous of his salary; and a personal low point came in the 1977 European Super Cup final when Liverpool, led by his replacement Kenny Dalglish, destroyed HSV 7-1 on aggregate. With his dream move fast becoming a nightmare and Real Madrid reportedly circling, the Yorkshireman expected to follow Steffenhagen and Volkert out of the door but Netzer, who experienced his own struggles during a three year stay in the Spanish capital, convinced Keegan to stay and it proved to be an inspired decision. Despite mixed results for HSV who finished a disappointing 9th in the Bundesliga, Keegan's form over the rest of the season improved to such an extent that he won the Ballon d'Or in 1978 - although rules excluding foreigners absurdly meant he wasn't eligible to become German Footballer of the Year.
The new signings, a revitalised Keegan and the rigid systematic approach of Zebec proved to be a potent combination as Hamburg went on to become Bundesliga champions for the first time in 1979 in a tour-de-force season that saw them win 21 of the 34 matches. Keegan (christened 'Mighty Mouse' by the HSV faithful) won the Ballon d'Or again; Felix Magath, signed from second-tier Saarbrücken had developed into the side's creative force; and Horst Hrubesch and Mannfred Kaltz were mainstays of the West German team that would go on to win the 1980 European Championships the following summer.
Hamburg came close to repeating the league triumph in 1980 and had been in contention right up until the penultimate round of matches when a ruinous 1-3 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen opened the door for Germany's trophy-hoovering machine Bayern München to seal the glory. They had to settle for second best in Europe that year as well, losing 0-1 to Nottingham Forest's 'Miracle Men' in the European Cup final despite outplaying their opponents. It was a disappointing end to a fine season that included a stupendous 5-1 hammering of Real Madrid in the semi-finals and such was their dominance in that particular game that Madrid's Vicente del Bosque, usually such a composed figure, lost his cool and was sent off for trying to punch Keegan.
The European Cup final was Keegan's curtain call with HSV and in his place a post-New York Cosmos Franz Beckanbauer arrived to add some stardust to the squad. It was the sacking of Branko Zebec that made the biggest headlines however as his destructive addiction to alcohol was becoming increasingly difficult for the club to conceal from public view. Turning up drunk to training sessions and being photographed sleeping off a hangover during a match at Borussia Dortmund brought an official club warning that any repeat incident "would make further co-operation impossible". That incident duly arrived in December 1980 when appearing worse for wear again, he pushed Gunter Netzer aside at a press conference following a win over TSV 1860 München. Hamburg decided enough was enough and immediately terminated the Yugoslav's contract.
Zebec's assistant Aleksander Ristić took over the reigns for the rest of the season and steered the club to a creditable second-place finish in the Bundesliga before the enigmatic Austrian, Ernst Happel, was appointed HSV's coach in 1981 - immediately leading the club to their second Bundesliga title before unexpectedly losing the 1982 UEFA Cup final to Swedish part-timers IFK Gothenburg 0-4 on aggregate.
Despite a stiff challenge from northern rivals SV Werder Bremen, HSV retained their Bundesliga crown in 1983 on the back of a 36 game unbeaten run - a league record that stood for over 30 years before Pep Guardiola's Bayern München surpassed it in 2014. Despite lifting the Meisterschale again, the highlight of the season and HSV's entire history came on 25th May of that year when they took on Giovanni Trapattoni's Juventus in the European Cup final. The Bianconeri featured many players who had been part of Italy's World Cup triumph the previous summer like Dino Zoff, Paulo Rossi, Claudio Gentile, Marco Tardelli and Gaetano Scirea. If HSV could keep all of them quiet, then they'd 'only' have to deal with the likes of Michel Platini and Zbigniew Boniek. 'The Old Lady' were an all-star team and a daunting opponent. Hamburg though were up to the challenge and Felix Magath's thunderbolt after just eight minutes was enough to secure their first European Cup triumph and write Ernst Happel's name into the history books as the first manager to win the famous trophy with two different clubs after success with Feyenoord in 1970.
That historic night in Athens however signalled the end of HSV's golden era and the beginning of a sad, sedate decline that saw Hamburg become a shadow of the side that once dominated the Bundesliga. Amidst talk of financial ruin it was reportedly only the sale of Thomas Doll to S.S. Lazio for DM 15 Million in 1991 that saved 'The Dinosaur' from extinction. The return of Uwe Seeler and Felix Magath (as club president and coach respectively) in 1995 steadied the ship a little before a 3rd-place Bundesliga finish under Frank Pagelsdorf in 1999-2000 earned them a berth in the UEFA Champions League for the first time. The reconstruction of the Volksparkstadion also gave hope of a revival and added to an increased investment in the playing squad, HSV were propelled from mid-table also rans to a side that began consistently challenging for European competition again. They won their first trophy in 16 years when they beat Borussia Dortmund to lift the DFB-Ligapokal in 2003 and, although a long way from the Keegan, Magath and Happel heyday, quickfire Intertoto Cups in 2005 and 2007 together with regular UEFA Cup and (occasional) Champions League appearances suggested the club was heading in the right direction. That feelgood factor came to an abrupt end in 2009 however when defeat in both the DFB-Pokal and UEFA Cup semi-finals to Nordderby rivals SV Werder Bremen marked the final two asteroid impacts for the Bundesliga dinosaurs.
From that point, pride in the club's past achievements began filtering down to one of hubris and denial in light of sobering truth as HSV found themselves flirting dangerously with relegation as a quick revolving-door 'policy' saw no fewer than 16 managers - among them Martin Jol, Bruno Labbadia (twice) and Bert van Marwijk - hired and fired in a 9 year period. In addition to the ever changing backroom staff, a haphazard transfer policy was defined by arrivals who failed to live up to their big price-tags, and a short-sighted impatience which saw promising youth talents being released only to excel away from the Volksparkstadion. Billionaire transport magnate Klaus-Michael Kühne has invested in his hometown club for years but the local bankroller's funding has actually made things worse for HSV as they fell into the trap of trying to buy their way out of trouble. Now, with debts reportedly standing at €133 million, they are trapped in a self-perpetuating cycle of reliance on Kühne.
There are only so many times you can cheat fate if you repeatedly court disaster in the way HSV have done over the past few years and there was an air of inevitability when on 12th May 2018, the Stadionuhr finally stopped ticking at fifty-four years, 261 days, 0 hours, 36 minutes, 02 seconds. A 2-1 home victory against Borussia Mönchengladbach that day was in vain but at least HSV went out with a bang - fireworks and flares raining down from the stands as anger and frustration at the club's fall from grace meant the last moments of Bundesliga football in Hamburg - for the time being at least - are remembered for a pitch filled with police and the goalmouth on fire.
HSV were down and as they continue to make heavy weather of returning to the German elite, their fans, who have forgiven the club for much over the years, are weary of the continuing downward spiral of sporting failure, financial mismanagement and unfulfilled promises. And to add insult to injury, they now also have to come up with a new song.
Ground Name: Volksparkstadion
Architect: Mos Architekten (1998)
Year Opened: 1953
Renovations: 1998 - 2000
Capacity: 57,000 (10,000 standing)
Record Attendance: 77,600 (1961)
Executive Boxes: 50
Executive Box Seats: 711
Media Seats: 850
Wheelchair Spaces: 96
Construction Costs: €100m
UEFA Stadium Category: Elite
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Running Track: No
Floodlights: 1,500 lux
Playing Surface: Hybrid Grass
Pitch Size: 105m x 68m
Sportplatz at Rothenbaum (1910 - 1925)
Bahrenfelder (1925 - 1953)
Volksparkstadion (1953 - 2001) *
AOL Arena (2001 - 2007) *
HSH Nordbank Arena (2007 - 2010) *
Imtech Arena (2010 - 2015) *
Volksparkstadion (2015 - ) *
* Stadium Renamed
Looking very different from the vast concrete bowl that opened on the site in 1953, the Volksparkstadion (which means The People's Park Stadium) today belongs very firmly in that top tier of German football stadiums, with UEFA adding their endorsement by classing it as one of their 'Elite Stadiums'.
After being used for the 1974 World Cup (including the 'Bruderduell' between East and West Germany) and 1988 Euros, the stadium underwent a complete overhaul at the end of the 1990s which saw the place gradually demolished, rotated 90° and rebuilt - all without disruption to HSV who continued to play their home matches here. The works were completed in 2000 at a cost of €100million and the new-look stadium reopened with a friendly between Germany and Greece which the home side won 2-0.
A band of executive boxes runs around the stadium separating the continuous bowl into two tiers, although for pricing reasons HSV have decided to divide the upper tier into B and C categories (A is the lower tier, closest to the pitch). Given the height of the surrounding stands, the roof was designed from a semi-translucent material with the intention of allowing more sunlight to reach the playing surface, although judging by the state of the Volksparkstadion pitch at various times throughout a season, it hasn't been a total success. A large clock - the Stadionuhr - added to the northwest corner to proudly commemorate the fact that Der Dino had never been relegated from the Bundesliga was reset in 2018, before being removed altogether; and from August 2005 until May 2019 local songwriter and celebrity HSV fan Lotto King Karl would rise in front of the Nordkürve on a triple scissor lift to belt out a rendition of his hit 'Hamburg, My Football Pearl' before kick-off. Hamburg's most famous player without doubt is Uwe Seeler and 'Uns Uwe' has maintained an iconic status at the club to this day. In fact a giant monument - Uwe Seeler's Fuß - depicting his right foot was unveiled outside the Volksparkstadion in 2005.
Apart from Hamburg's matches and the aforementioned 'German Derby' in the 1974 World Cup, the Volksparkstadion has also hosted the 2010 Europa League final when Roy Hodgson's plucky Fulham side went down 2-1 to Atlético Madrid. The Heavyweight Unification boxing match between Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye was held here in 2011, and the likes of Snoop Dog, Shakira, Tina Turner, Michael Jackson, Metallica and AC/DC have all rocked the Volksparkstadion on their world tours.
2022-2023: 53,470 (Bundesliga.2)
2021-2022: 23,332 (Bundesliga.2) *
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 33,400 (Bundesliga.2) *
2018-2019: 48,889 (Bundesliga.2)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
Expected Ticket Availability
Despite Hamburg playing in the Bundesliga.2 and having a big stadium to fill, this is an equally big and popular club so expect demand for tickets to remain high. You should still be able to get a ticket for all but the most high profile matches, although it's probably better to buy in advance as a match ticket includes the cost of public transport which you'll need given that the Volksparkstadion is miles from central Hamburg.
Tickets can be purchased at the HSV Online shop (which offers an English Language option), the HSV Service Center at the Volksparkstadion (10am-6pm, Mon-Fri; 10am-4pm, Sat; 9am-kick-off on a matchday), any of the fan shops (see the Fan Shops, Museum and Stadium Tours section below) or speak slowly over the phone (+49 (0) 404 1551887 - options 1 & 3).
The club also run an official Secondary Market through their website, so it's worth a look if you've been caught out and there aren't any tickets available through general sale. More info can be found here.
HSV adopt a six-tier pricing structure depending on where you want to action from. Broadly speaking therefore, adults should expect to pay anything between €33-74 for a seat in the stands and €18 to watch the action from the Nordtribüne terrace. Discounts are available for children, students, seniors, disabled persons, unemployed people etc.
Information about visiting the Volksparkstadion for fans with disabilities can be found at:
GETTING THERE & AWAY
If you've made the decision to drive, it's worth noting that the roads around the Volksparkstadion will be rammed on a matchday and there's limited available parking. So, as always, our advice would be to arrive early and be prepared to hang around at full-time to let the match traffic clear. There are a number of roads you can travel along and all of them lead to the Volksparkstadion which is signposted as you approach Hamburg along the A7 and A23 motorways. Coming from the city centre, follow the signs 'Arena'. Note however that Sylvesterallee is closed to traffic on a match day. Official car parks around the stadium open three hours before kick-off and the fees are €9 for cars.
Match tickets include the cost of travel to and from the stadium on matchday on the entire Hamburger Verkehrsverbund Transport Network (HVV) - although ticket inspectors on public transport will only let you travel if you can produce a Print@Home version of your match ticket personalised with your name (you can personalise your ticket at the time of booking). Mobile match tickets won't be accepted.
Using the S-Bahn from the Hauptbahnhof, Dammtor or Altona stations; jump on either S3 (Direction: Pinneberg) or S21 (Direction: Elbgaustraße) and get off at Stellingen - Volksparkstadion. You're now a 15 minute walk from the ground so you can either follow the stream of fans, or hop on one of the regular shuttle buses that run from Stellingen to the Volksparkstadion (stopping near Uwe Seeler's Fuß ) from two hours before kick-off. These buses also operate from around two hours before kick-off outside the Othmarschen S-Bahn station (S11/Direction: Blankenese) so you can make your way here if you prefer.
Apart from the matchday shuttle buses outside the Stellingen and Othmarschen stations, the main bus route to the Volksparkstadion is Bus 22 which travels between the Kellinghusenstraße (U-Bahn) and Blankenese (S-Bahn) stations. The nearest stop to the stadium along this route is Schnackenburgallee which is a 10 minute stroll away. However, the closer you try to get to the ground by road, the busier it's going to get, the longer it's going to take and you'll soon be thinking to yourself that it would have been quicker to walk. So, jump off at the Stellingen S-Bahn station and either walk the 15 minutes to the Volksparkstadion or wait for the next shuttle bus to take you there.
It's over six miles from the centre of Hamburg to the Volksparkstadion and you'll need at least two hours to walk there. Use public transport and join the pre-match party outside Stellingen instead.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
HSV Arena Store (Volksparkstadion, Sylvesterallee 7 22525; 10am-6pm, Mon-Fri; 10am-4pm, Sat)
HSV City Store (Schmiedestraße 2, 20095; 10am-6pm, Mon-Fri; 10am-4pm, Sat)
HSV Fan Shop in EEZ (Elbe Einkaufszentrum, Osdorfer Landstraße 131-135, 22609; 10am-8pm, Mon-Sat)
Take a guided tour through the 700m² HSV- Museum (located at the North-East entrance of the ground) and learn about the club from its foundation, through the Nazi period and the glory years of the 70s and 80s. We don't think the exhibits stop with the European Cup triumph of 1983 but imagine the mediocre last 30 years or so will be glossed over in comparison. The museum is open 10am-6pm everyday (last admission 5:30pm) and from stadium opening on a matchday or from 10am for an evening match. Prices and further information can be found here.
Go behind the scenes to see the VIP Boxes, press conference areas and dressing rooms before being led down the players' tunnel as the club anthem 'HSV Forever' blares out of the PA. Several tours are run every day and include admission to the museum. For prices and further info about the public and private tours available, click here.
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
The Volksparkstadion is pretty much right in the middle of nowhere and so there aren't many options outside the ground for a pre-match drink and bite to eat - save for the usual fast food kiosks on a matchday. All the German football favourites of bratwurst, chips, frikadellen, giant pretzels etc are available inside the stadium and beer drinkers can watch the match with a few pints of König Pilsner - the official stadium beer. HSV reward those who make the effort getting to the ground (not to mention putting up with the mediocre on-field performances) by letting you pay for everything with cash instead of making you use a stadium card.
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: VfL Wolfsburg, SV Werder Bremen
BUNDESLIGA 2: 1.FC Magdeburg, Eintracht Braunschweig, FC Hansa Rostock, FC St. Pauli, Hannover 96, Holstein Kiel
3.LIGA: VfB Lübeck