Clocks (Hamburger SV)

Hamburger Sport-Verein were a 1919 amalgamation of three existing clubs, Sport Club Germania, FC Falke 06 and Hamburger SV von 1888. From here the club took the blue and black colours of their badge from Germania and the Hanseatic red and white representing Hamburg for their kit.

Germania trace their roots back to September 1887 and initially rented a farmer’s field in Wandsbek for their home games. This was vacated in 1892 following the horrific outbreak of cholera in Hamburg which killed 8,000 inhabitants. Germania regrouped using home grounds at Heiligengeistfeld and the Exerzierweide (parade ground) in Altona . Their nomadic existence took them to their first enclosed ground within the Rennbahn Mühlenkamp in 1903. Yet again their stay was short-lived vacating in 1907 when the racecourse was earmarked for expansion. They relocated back to Wandsbek at a ground called Forsthof.

Falke were the most junior of the amalgamating clubs having formed in 1906. Their first ground at Voßberg proved far from suitable and in 1908 they found a pitch in Grindelberg which after having signed a lease, the young squad of players were shocked to be told it did not meet the requirements of North German Football Association (the NFV) and Falke found themselves excluded from matches under the NFV’s auspices. The young players lobbied their parents and relatives for financial backing and soon had a kitty to build a new facility in Stellingen.

Similarly to the other two clubs Hamburger SV 1888 had problems finding a suitable home ground for their matches, it really was a nascent period for football in Germany. Initially HSV played at Moorweide but four years after forming moved to a field in Sternschanze which was also frozen over for use as an ice rink! The pitch was awful and HSV played home games at all sorts of often hastily borrowed pitches including the field at the Wandsbek horse market, a meadow on Sierichstraße, the Borgfelde Eispark, a pasture called Hansaweide as well as the Altona Exerzierweide. In 1897 they found a more regular base at Rothenbaumchaussee but by 1904 they had moved again to a rebuilt velodrome at Helmhuderstraße.

The turning point for football in Hamburg came in 1910 when HSV acquired a bigger piece of land and a year later the new Rothenbaum sports field was opened with a game against Holstein Kiel which drew 1,500 people. Sadly the new ground was severely damaged during World War I and with all clubs struggling for young players, such was the horrific loss of life in the conflict, the sensible option was to merge all three clubs and rebuild the Rothenbaum. By 1922 the stadium had a capacity of 30,000 and was officially re-inaugurated two years later when over 27,000 people watched HSV draw 1-1 with German champions 1.FC Nürnberg. In 1937 two new grandstands were built and the Rothenbaum became the largest club owned ground in Germany. Occasionally though, due to public demand, championship matches would be held at the much larger Altona Volksparkstadion. For example the championship match against Hertha BSC attracted 42,000 to the Volksparkstadion.

The advent of the Bundesliga in 1963 saw the DFB ban HSV from using the Rothenbaum, it still witnessed occasional cup matches, the last being played in 1989. It was demolished amid public outcry in 1994 having never really recovered from losing its’ south stand during a hurricane in 1980.

The old Altona Volksparkstadion was severely damaged during World War II and the city authority vowed to replace it in 1951 and by 1953 the new Volksparkstadion with a huge capacity of 75,000, was opened, having been largely built from rubble from bomb damaged buildings. It became HSV’s home stadium from the advent of the Bundesliga.

Since the merger of 1919 HSV, of course, have enjoyed huge success become a household name all over Europe, not least for the signing of Kevin Keegan in the summer of 1977 and losing to a John Robertson goal in the 1980 European Cup Final against Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest. In the pre Bundesliga days the club won an astonishing 31 regional titles although would only take three overall crowns in the championship play offs. Somewhat surprisingly they have only won three Bundesliga titles including one in 1978-79 when Keegan top scored with 17 league goals for them.

The current Volksparkstadion was built in 1998, well ahead of time for the 2006 FIFA World Cup. It is an incredible arena with additional top class training facilities for almost as far as the eye can see. With Hamburger SV having suffered their first ever Bundesliga relegation at the end of the 2017/18 season it’s 1.FC Magdeburg who make their first ever competitive visit to the Volksparkstadion. There are nearly 50,000 people inside for this Monday night, including a hugely impressive 8,000 from Magdeburg. The visiting fans make a hell of racket all night and inspire their team to a shock win with virtually the last kick of the game. It proved to be a fatal blow for second placed HSV, their season promptly fell apart and they even failed to make the promotion play offs.

To the annoyance of many the Volksparkstadion had displayed a clock that stated “In der Bundesliga seit” and counted up every second of their unbroken membership of the top flight, unrivalled even by Bayern Munich. Interestingly since relegation they have changed the clock to count up the seconds since that historic meeting which resulted in the formation of Sport Club Germania.


Monday April 8th 2019 – 2.Bundesliga

Hamburger SV 1 (Jatta 31)

1.FC Magdeburg 2 (Bülter 60, Türpitz 90+4)

Att:49,823 (at Volksparkstadion)

Entry €26, free programme


IMG_9667IMG_9666IMG_9684IMG_9689IMG_9718IMG_9701IMG_9717HSV prog

HSV Ticket


In the Eagles’ Nest (SC Preußen Münster)

Sportsclub Preußen 1906 e.V. Münster started life in 1906 as FC Preußen, adopting the current name in 1921. The sports club which also fields teams in handball, tennis, athletics and fistball and was initially born in the Johann-Conrad-Schlaun Grammar School. The club moved into the Preußenstadion in June 1926 and their new home initially boasted a capacity of 45,000. The record gate at the stadium however is put at 40,000 for a 1975/76 2.Bundesliga match against Borussia Dortmund which Münster won 4-1. Nowadays, with modernisation to the main stand and limits placed on the terracing, the Preußenstadion now has a listed capacity of 15,050 of which 2,931 are seated accommodation. There were plans in recent years for a new stadium, dubbed the Preußen Park Arena, but instead the club has begun modernising the existing venue, new seats in the grandstand and roofs for the two terraces opposite.

In 1933 when the Third Reich reorganised German regional football Preußen were placed in the Gauliga Westfalen but then suffered a period in the doldrums. The immediate post World War II proved to be a golden era for the club with the team returning to the top flight Oberliga West for 1948/49. The team boasted a front line known as the “Hundred-Thousand Mark Line” and featured the attacking quintet of Siegfried Rachuba, Adolf Preissler, Rudolf Schulz, Felix Gerritzen and Josef Lammers. Gerritzen in particular was an idol of the Preußen fans and the curva where today’s ultras groups, the Deviants, gather is named in his honour. Gerritzen also played for VfB Oldenburg and Saxonia Münster and won four caps for the Nationalmannschaft. The team reached its peak in 1951 when Preußen reached the national championship final but lost 2-1 to Kaiserslautern in front of 107,000 people in the Berlin Olympiastadion.

Their steady performances in the highly ranked Oberliga West saw them elected to the newly created Bundesliga in 1963. However, despite spending big, the club were relegated at the end of the new competitions inaugural season and as yet they have never returned to the top flight. In truth the Bundesliga season led Preußen into two decades of financial trouble, tax fraud issues and a steady decline into the amateur Oberliga Westfalen III by 1981. Apart from two seasons in the 2.Bundesliga in the early 1990’s the club have mainly competed at the third tier. After relegation to the Oberliga Westfalen in 2006 the club again spent big to try and regain third tier status but the plan failed. The following season youngsters replaced the highly paid veterans and Preußen stormed to the Oberliga title.

This season has so far proven to be Preußen’s most successful in some time, the club going into today’s game sitting in second place, four points behind one of their biggest rivals, Arminia Bielefeld. Today’s visitors, Holstein Kiel, are also in contention for promotion five points behind Preußen in sixth place. The form table initially went to plan when Preußen’s Turkish striker Mehmet Kara sent the ultras into frenzy with the opening goal in the 35th minute. However, Kiel had not read the script and a two goal salvo just before the break proved decisive. A second goal for Kiel’s Rafael Kiazor midway through the second half was the coup-de-grace and the green and black clad home fans soon headed for an early exit. Until the third goal went in the support of the ultras in the Gerritzen end was superb. Noisy, colourful and relentless they certainly made my trip to the excellent Preußenstadion a visit to remember.


Saturday February 21st 2015 (14.00pm) – 3.Liga

SC Preußen Münster (1) 1 (Kara 35)

Kieler SV Holstein (2) 3 (Lindner 39, Kazior 42,69)

Att: 8,672 (at Preußenstadion)


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Munster ticket