Founded: Jul 25, 1892
Club Members: 40,051
Nickname: Die Alte Dame
Coach: Sandro Schwarz
Captain: Marvin Plattenhardt
German Champions / Bundesliga: 5
Bundesliga.2 Champions: 3
Landespokal Berlin Winner: 11
Web Site: www.herthabsc.de
Long dominating the perception of Berlin football, Hertha Berlin were formed in 1892 and took their name (and club colours) from the blue and white steamboat its founding fathers Max and Fritz Lindner recalled enjoying a day-trip aboard. The early years were spent in the Oberliga Berlin-Brandenburg and after a merger between the staunchly working class Hertha and the well-heeled Berliner Sport Club to address financial problems, the club established themselves as one of Germany's top clubs during the inter-war years, winning the German Championship in 1930 and 1931. In 1933, football in Germany was restructured under the Third Reich and Hertha entered the top-flight Gauliga Berlin-Brandenburg, winning a hat-trick of league titles in 1935, 1937 and 1944. It was also around this time that the club was politicised under the Nazis with party member Hans Pfeifer being appointed Club President.
In the immediate aftermath of World War 2, the occupying Allied forces declared that all sports clubs in Germany must disband and start again. Hertha was duly reformed in 1945 as SG Gesundbrunnen and competed in the local amateur leagues, winning promotion to the top-flight of German football in 1949 before re-claiming their identity as Hertha BSC a year later.
Hertha's success however was being played out against a backdrop of simmering tension between the western allies and the Soviets; and the developing Cold War led to chaotic times for all football clubs in the capital. After signing several players who had fled to West Berlin from Dresden club SG Friedrichstadt , Hertha were banned from competing in the 1949-50 season; and a number of other clubs in the eastern side of Berlin were forced to join the newly established DDR-Liga at the beginning of the 1950-51 season. As the capital's major club, Hertha had support across the whole city but the construction of the Berlin Wall in 1961 meant that fans living in East Berlin found it increasingly difficult and dangerous to keep following the club. It didn't stop many of them trying however. At the time, Hertha played their home matches at the Stadion am Gesundbrunnen (nicknamed Die Plumpe) which was close enough to the wall for the sound of the crowd to be carried over to the other side where many exiled Hertha fans gathered on a matchday.
As Berlin's reigning champions, Hertha became one of the original band of brothers who formed the Bundesliga in 1963, the year they also moved into the Olympiastadion. However, the imposed social and economic divisions in the city continued to cause problems for the club, and in 1965 they had their playing licence revoked amid claims they had tried to bribe players to join them in the West Berlin 'Island of Freedom'. This scandal created a crisis for the German FA who in the interests of Cold War politics wanted a club from the capital playing in the Bundesliga. SC Tasmania 1900 Berlin took Hertha's place but in a spectacular PR own goal for the authorities, they subsequently produced the worst performance from a Bundesliga club to date as they were thoroughly outclassed and collected only 8 points all season.
Hertha meanwhile had regrouped and won promotion back to the top-flight to re-establish itself as the leading side in Berlin. However, the club was involved in the match fixing Bundesligaskandal of 1971 and during investigations into Hertha's involvement, it was discovered the club were DM6 million in debt and facing financial ruin. Following the sale of the Stadion am Gesundbrunnen to pay off the debts, Hertha were able to stabilise and enjoyed a fair measure of on-field success during the 1970s which saw a Bundesliga runners-up finish to the mighty Borussia Mönchengladbach, a UEFA Cup semi-final and two DFB-Pokal final appearances. More grim days were around the corner however as Hertha's relegation in 1980 left the Bundesliga as the only major league in Europe without a capital representative for the best part of 20 years as 'The Old Lady' struggled to re-establish herself as a top-flight club.
Since the fall of Die Mauer in 1989, Hertha's fans have been on a real rollercoaster with their club as a couple of German League Cup successes, a first ever Champions League appearance in 1999 and a string of UEFA/Europa Cup campaigns have been undermined by relegations and embarrassing DFB-Pokal exits to lower league opposition. There is no better illustration of Hertha's inconsistency and their ability to make fans want to tear their hair out than the 2009-10 season when, after coming close to actually winning the Bundesliga the previous campaign, they somehow managed to finish bottom of the pile and tumble back down to the second tier.
After a brief yo-yo period, the club returned to the Bundesliga but for many fans they remain the same old Hertha. Following the recent departure of big-name coach Jurgen Klinnsman just weeks into the job, the national newspaper Die Zeit drew comparison with the Berlin Airport fiasco by describing the club in print as 'the biggest f***-up in a city full of f***-ups'. Although harsh, this assessment does have an element of truth in it with Hertha far from being the big city club it's iconic stadium and sizeable fanbase suggests it should be. In fact, they're struggling simply to maintain their position as the biggest club in the city now that Union Berlin have established themselves as the more exciting and charismatic of the capital clubs.
Whether or not Hertha will ever realise their potential and become a major Bundesliga player is up for debate but, as the club named after a boat is discovering, achieving that aim certainly isn't plain sailing.
Ground Name: Olympiastadion
Architect: GMP Architekten (2004)
Built: 1934 - 1936
Year Opened: 1936
Capacity: 74,475 (all seating)
Executive Boxes: 59
Executive Box Seats: 660
Media Seats: 300
Wheelchair Spaces: 174
Construction Costs: €242m
UEFA Stadium Category: Elite
Undersoil Heating: Yes
Running Track: Yes
Floodlights: 2,300 lux
LED Video Screens: 137.8m², 81.6m² x 2
Playing Surface: Natural Grass
Pitch Size: 105m x 68m
Schönhauser Allee (1892 - 1904)
Schebera-Sportplatz (1904 - 1923)
Stadion am Gesundbrunnen (1923 - 1963)
Olympiastadion (1963 - )
Built for eternity and on a massive scale, the Olympiastadion has played host to some of Berlin's most significant and symbolic events; and its natural stone block, concrete and authoritarian construction sets it apart from the glass and steel design of new stadiums.
Its fascinating story goes back to the 1930s when Berlin was awarded the famous/infamous 1936 Summer Olympics and the Nazi regime got to work making the most of this perfect propaganda opportunity. Plans to redevelop an existing stadium weren't considered grandiose enough for Hitler's megalomania, and architect Werner March was appointed to build a grand sports complex called the Reichssportfeld with a showpiece arena at it's heart. Completed in time for the opening ceremony on 1st August 1936, the new Olympiastadion had a vast capacity of 110,000 and featured a special stand for the Nazi hierarchy to watch African-American Jesse Owens run and jump his way to four gold medals. During the games, the stadium also set the record attendance for a baseball match when over 100,000 people filled the stands. Many of the facilities from the games still exist in what is now known as Olympiapark Berlin including the swimming pool, hockey stadium and the Stadion auf dem Wurfplatz where Hertha's second string play their games. Behind the Olympiastadion lies the 28-acre Maifeld which has seen everything from gymnastic displays to post-war celebrations before becoming the new home of Berlin Cricket Club in 2012.
Despite being a symbol of Nazi ambition, the stadium was spared major damage as allied forces poured into Berlin in the final weeks of World War 2. The Reichssportfeld became headquarters for the occupying British military forces and the Olympiastadion was gradually put back into use as a sports venue as the Americans introduced Berliners to American Football with a series of exhibition games. It became the home of Bundesliga founders Hertha Berlin in 1963 and later hosted group matches in the 1974 World Cup involving both East and West Germany, although the politically charged clash between the two (which the East won 1-0) was moved to Hamburg.
With its history so closely tied to an ideology that destroyed a country and poisoned a continent, feelings were split over what to do with the stadium. There were many who were in favour of demolishing it, and others who preferred letting it crumble "like the Colosseum in Rome". However, when Germany were chosen to host the 2006 World Cup Finals, the decision was made to give the big 'O' a new lease of life. With the conservation factor of the Olympiastadion as an historic monument in mind, a €242 million renovation took place with the pitch being lowered, and the huge lower tier which sweeps down to the pitch rebuilt with a slightly steeper rake to improve sightlines. The spidery oval roof was extended with just the Marathon Arch at the west end of the stadium being left open, and the running track was changed from red to the royal blue of Hertha - which amongst the banks of grey seating, at least offers some clue as to which club calls this iconic stadium home.
In addition to being home to Hertha Berlin, the Olympiastadion has played host to the DFB-Pokal Final every year since 1985, and in 2006 it was the venue for the World Cup Final when French maestro Zinedine Zidane objected to something Italy's Marco Materazzi said to him. It's also a concert venue, playing host to The Rolling Stones, Madonna, U2 et al on their world tours, and it occasionally reverts back to it's original athletics purpose as it did for the 2009 World Championships when Usain Bolt smashed two world records.
Today, the Olympiastadion is a double tier, all-seater stadium holding just under 75,000, making it the second largest in terms of overall capacity in Germany after Dortmund's Signal Iduna Park. However, this is just one of the reasons the stadium has its detractors amongst football fans. They say it's simply too big for a club of Hertha's stature, leading to poor atmospheres echoing around the vast bowl which on an average matchday is only 60% full. Complaints are also made about the lack of terracing, poor sightlines from the deep lower tier and the running track which sets the stands too far back from the action. Hertha have listened and are looking into the possibility of building a new stadium to move into once their tenancy at the Olympiastadion expires in 2025.
Telephone: +49 030 3009281892
2021-2022: 23,500 (Bundesliga) *
2020-2021: N/A *
2019-2020: 37,378 (Bundesliga) *
2018-2019: 49,318 (Bundesliga)
2017-2018: 45,314 (Bundesliga)
* Season affected by COVID pandemic
Expected Ticket Availability
There are three factors that make getting hold of a ticket for Hertha's home matches a much easier proposition than it is at Union Berlin across town.
To begin with, Hertha play in one of the biggest stadiums in the country. Secondly, the Berlin Wall potentially cost them half of their fanbase as East Berliners have preferred to retain links with the likes of Union and BFC Dynamo. Add in the third fact that Hertha's season is usually over by bonfire night, and you're left with a healthy gap between supply and demand. Only when Bayern, Dortmund and, more recently, Union Berlin pay a visit do matches sell-out as the 'real' Hertha supporters are joined by marquee-match glory hunters.
For most matches therefore tickets will be available through Hertha's online ticket shop which also has an English language version, or at any of the fan shops dotted around the city (see below).
For the vary rare sell-outs, it's worth looking at the club's official secondary market site which can be accessed through the online ticket shop site here.
Information about visiting the Olympiastadion for fans with disabilities can be found at:
PLEASE NOTE: All information in this section is subject to change due to COVID regulations. Please refer to the club website for the latest ticket information.
GETTING THERE & AWAY
Olympischer Platz 3
If you're coming in your car, all roads lead to the Olympiastadion ... and there's a lot of them. The simplest advice is to put the stadium address in your Sat-Nav and follow it's guidance. There is plenty of parking available around the stadium with most of it free of charge. It will be busy on a matchday though, so arrive early and don't be in a rush to get away after the final whistle.
The Olympiastadion is very well connected to the public transport network in Berlin, and because the cost of your match ticket includes travel within zones ABC of the Verkehrsbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB) area from five hours before kick-off until 3am the following day, using public transport on a matchday definitely makes sense.
You have a number of options available to you. On the U-Bahn, U2 (Direction: Ruhleben) crosses the city centre with convenient stops at the transport hubs of Alexander Platz, Potsdamer Platz and Zoologischer Garten before making it's way to the 1930's Art Deco style Olympiastadion station. Time your arrival at the ground carefully though because Berlin is BIG, and from Alexander Platz the journey takes about half an hour. Going by S-Bahn is a bit quicker (25 minutes) and you'll need S3 or S9 (Direction: Spandau). Both the U-Bahn and S-Bahn stations are only five minutes' walk from the stadium.
Buses M49 or 218 stop at Flatowallee, from where it's only a short walk to the stadium. With Bus 104 you can reach the underground station Neu-Westend, and you then have a choice of walking to the stadium or hopping on the U2 (Direction: Ruhleben) and getting off at the next stop which is the Olympiastadion station.
An increasingly popular way of travelling to the match in eco-friendly Germany is by bike, and Hertha are no different in encouraging you to 'do your bit' for the environment and improve your health in the process. The stadium recommends a cycling route that takes you from the Brandenburg Gate to the Olympiastadion via eleven stops that tell the history of football in Berlin. Information about the 'Fußball Route Berlin' can be read here.
It's 8 miles from the centre, and the city of Berlin has gone to a lot of trouble to ensure people don't have to walk to the match. If you do fancy it though, you could always follow the 'Fußball Route Berlin' (see Biking Directions) or let Google Maps plan a route for you.
FAN SHOP, MUSEUM & STADIUM TOURS
The main one is at the Olympiastadion itself on the Hanns-Braun-Straße side of the stadium (Olympiastadion Berlin, 14053 Berlin; 10am-6pm, Mon-Sun). Remember though that the stadium is in the far west of Berlin and getting out here, even by public transport, can take a while. The good news is that there are a number of other, far more conveniently located, branches across the city for all your blue and white fanartikels and match tickets.
These can be found at:
Hauptbahnhof (Europaplatz, Level -1, 10557 Berlin; tel: +49 030 25810768)
Europacenter (Am Breitscheidplatz, 10789 Berlin; tel: +49 030 26369493)
Gropiuspassagen (Johannisthaler Chaussee 295-327, 12351 Berlin)
Mall of Berlin LP12 (Leipziger Platz 12, 10117 Berlin; 12pm-9pm, Mon-Sat)
Fanshop Geschäftsstelle (Hans Braun Straße Friesenhaus 2, 14053 Berlin)
The stadium's fascinating history means that the 60-75 minute guided tours of the dressing rooms, warm-up zones and VIP areas are very popular. You can also find out what influence disgraced ex-FIFA President Sepp Blatter had on the stadium's seating plan. They are currently conducted in German only and information about all the tour options and prices can be found here.
FOOD & DRINK OPTIONS
The usual food and drink vendors line up at the U-Bahn station and along Olympischer Platz to satisfy parched throats and hunger pangs. You can also choose very similar options from the temporary kiosks inside the stadium and you'll be pleased to learn, you can pay for your stadium sausage and Warsteiner (the official stadium beer) with cash.
OTHER CLUBS IN THE AREA
BUNDESLIGA: 1.FC Union Berlin, RB Leipzig
BUNDESLIGA 2: FC Hansa Rostock
3.LIGA: FC Erzgebirge Aue, FSV Zwickau, Hallescher FC, SG Dynamo Dresden