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


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HSV Ticket


Back in the D.D.R. (1.FC Magdeburg)

1.FC Magdeburg were renowned throughout Europe in the 1970’s most notably in the 1973/74 when they defeated AC Milan to win the European Cup Winners’ Cup in the De Kuip stadium in Rotterdam. On their way to the final the then East Germans bested the likes of NAC Breda, Banik Ostrava, Beore Stara Zagora and Sporting Lisbon. Given their reputation as European regulars it is something of a surprise to find the club were only formed in 1965 and thus celebrate their 50th year next season.

The story of football in this great German city, synonymous with mechanical engineering, is a convoluted one of failed clubs and multiple mergers. The city’s oldest clubs, and indeed among the oldest in Germany, were SV Victoria 96 Magdeburg formed in June 1896 and a year later two clubs, FuCC Regatta Magdeburg and FC Gut Stoss Magdeburg merged to form Magdeburger Fussball und Cricket Club Viktoria 1897. In 1899 the two clubs were joined on the scene by Magdeburger SC Prussia.

SV Victoria 96 took the ascendancy in the city and were playing in the Mittel-Deutsche Meisterschaft when in 1933 the Nazis disbanded the existing Bezirkligas and Oberligas to form a 16 division Gauliga based on the new districts they had drawn up in an attempt to exert control over the provinces. The best teams from the old Prussian provinces of Thuringia, Anhalt and Saxony were placed in Gauliga Mitte. After the War the Gauliga system had been abandoned and Magdeburg found itself in the Soviet occupied zone and would now play in the newly formed DDR Oberliga as part of East Germany. The two smaller clubs SC Prussia and Cricket Victoria 97 merged as SG Sudenburg in 1945 and soon after merged in turn with SG Lemsdorf to form BSG Eintracht Sudenburg. The latest name change lasted until 1950 when yet another merger occurred this time with SAG Krupp Gruson. A year later another new name was adopted which was BSG Stahl Magdeburg. Twelve months later they became BSG Motor Mitte Magdeburg.

The original major stadium in Magdeburg was that of SV Victoria 96 Magdeburg and was called the Sportplatz am Gübser Damm, although it was also known as Viktoriaplatz. During the 1944 much of the city, including the entire stadium was destroyed by Allied bombing. Some 16, 000 inhabitants would lose their lives. In more modern and happier times, German reunification saw Magdeburg become the capital city of the Saxony-Anhalt region. After the loss of their stadium the municipality would build a new venue on the same site in 1954 called the Ernst-Grubbe-Stadion. This stadium would be home to 1.FC Magdeburg for 40 years until 2005 and would witness some glorious nights during its relatively short life.

Even with the multiple mergers the club had still struggled to perform at a decent level and in 1957 the Motor Mitte section was merged with SC Aufbau Magdeburg in an attempt to strengthen the football section. SC Aufbau won the FDGB Pokal in 1964 against SC Leipzig and became the first club from Magdeburg to play in Europe. They were drawn against Galatasaray and when both legs ended 1-1 the clubs had to replay in Vienna. This match also ended 1-1 and the match was decided on a coin toss. After the first toss saw the coin landed upright in thick mud, the second fell in favour of the Turkish club. In December 1965 the decision was made to remove the football section of SC Aufbau into a club of its own. The new club was to be called 1.FC Magdeburg. It was the first such politically driven sports club break up with the desire to form strong football only entities.

The 1970’s saw the DDR-Oberliga dominated by the new 1.FC Magdeburg club and their big rivals, SG Dynamo Dresden. Magdeburg would win three championships and a further six FDGB Pokals. Four of Magdeburg’s “golden era” players represented the DDR in the 1974 World Cup. Magdeburg’s 1974 European Cup Winners Cup triumph meant the East Germans would contest the European Super Cup, against that year’s European Cup winners. The Super Cup game against Bayern Munich was never played.

Upon the reunification of Germany 1.FC Magdeburg had hoped to be elected at least the Bundesliga II but they failed to win any of their play off games. The club found itself in the third tier, then called the Oberliga Nordost/Staffel Mitte. By the turn of the 21st century though the club were in deep financial trouble and had to raise five million marks to survive. A million was donated within days and the remainder loaned by banks. It was to prove a temporary reprieve as in 2002 the club went into liquidation. With liquidation came automated relegation the fourth tier. The board restructured the club and the city promised a new arena for the club. The Ernst-Grubbe-Stadion was demolished and the club were temporarily relocated to the Heinrich Germer Stadium. Originally built in 1920 the Germer had been home to the numerous pre 1.FC merged clubs. The new stadium would hold 27,250 people and took just over a year to build, the first game saw 1.FC Magdeburg draw 0-0 with Eintracht Braunschweig in front of 13,279 spectators. The nearby GETEC Arena is home to the city’s very successful handball team SC Magdeburg Gladiators.

Today’s game sees a revitalised 1.FC second in the table and in hot pursuit of leaders TSG Neustrelitz. Meanwhile their guests FSV Optik Rathenow bring only 24 fans with them despite the modest 45 mile journey. A glance at the league standings provides a modicum of mitigation, Rathenow are bottom with just 13 points and look set for the drop to the fifth tier along with another great name from the DDR period, Lokomotive Leipzig.

The MDCC Arena is a relatively bland construction although the murals depicting Magdeburg’s rich European history are a welcome sight. Pleasingly there is much fan activity. There are two club shops, the expected modern one sits alongside one manned by older fans and selling relics exclusively from the DDR period. It is noticeable that fewer people here speak English compared to Berlin just 90 miles to the East. The locals seem almost wistful for the old East German days. There are Ultras selling stickers and fanzines and once in the Arena fan friendships are evident, notably flags pairing the hosts with Millwall.

The game itself is frighteningly one sided, the hosts rattle in six goals with the guests offering hardly any resistant. In truth it could easily have been double figures so beleaguered is the Rathenow team. For Magdeburg, Lars Fuchs particularly catches the eye with a skilfully taken hat-trick. The support from the home fans is superb, signing, bouncing and even simultaneous congas are enormous fun. It seems that for just 90 mins the locals can celebrate their “DDR’dness” at the football. I think that’s really rather special.


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Sunday March 23rd 2014 – Regionalliga Nordost

1FC Magdeburg (4) 6 (Beck 6, Fuchs 10,33,45, Lange 65, Nennhuber 68)

FSV Optik Rathenow (0) 0

Attendance: 6,214 (at MDCC Arena)


1. Mathias Tischer, 2. Nico Hammann, 3. Christopher Handke, 5. Felix Schiller, 7. Lars Fuchs, 8. Steffan Puttkammer, 11. Christian Beck, 13. Christoph Siefkes, 17. Marius Sowislo, 20. Rene Lange, 21. Tino Schmunck.

Subs: 4. Kevin Nennhuber (for 3, 46 mins), 9. Matthias Steinborn (for 7, 69 mins), 10. Teimo Texeira-Rebelo, 16. Nils Butzen, 18. Florian Beil, 26. Sven-Torge Bremer (for 5, 63 mins), 30. Danilo Dersewki.


1. Marcel Subke, 2. Mario Delvalle Silva, 3. Marcel Bahr, 4. Leon Hellwig, 9. Sebastian Huke, 10. Hakan Cankaya, 11. Shelby Printemps, 14. Ezgon Ismaili, 16. Jerome Leroy, 19. Majuran Kesavan, 27. Benjamin Wilcke.

Subs: 7. Phillipp Grüneberg (for 11, 58 mins), 13. Pelle Klötzing (for 3, 65 mins), 22. Selvedin Begzadic, 23. Jakob Regulski, 24. Onur Uslucan (for 14, 58 mins), 29. Daniel Ujazdowski.

Yellow card: Hellwig (Rathenow)


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