Here’s a bit of football trivia for you. What’s the only German club never to be relegated? The answer is Hamburger Sport-Verein – otherwise known as HSV – whose famous Rothosen (Red Shorts) have been donned by the likes of Uwe Seeler and Kevin Keegan. The club’s heyday was in the early ‘80s – HSV hasn’t won the Bundesliga since 1983 (its sixth title), the same year it won the European Cup – but is now a mid-lower table outfit.
HSV is also a really easy place to visit and the atmosphere is fantastic.
About the Volksparkstadion
Hamburger SV plays at the 57,000-capacity Volksparkstadion (‘People’s Park Stadium’) in the north of the city. The stadium hosted matches in the 1974 and 2006 World Cups, and was the scene of Germany’s 2-1 semi-final defeat to the Netherlands in Euro ‘88.
The first Bundesliga match I ever went to was a tasty Nordderby (derby of the north) between HSV and Werder Bremen. There was a bit of crowd trouble before the match when police had to clear around 100 hooded Hamburg Ultras who had rushed Bremen’s travelling fans, who were penned behind wire. That was a hell of an intro to the Bundesliga. [Continues…]
The rest of the experience was otherwise very positive. Apart from a hardcore in dedicated sections, German crowds are integrated, and there were plenty of green Bremen scarves dotted around the stands at HSV.
The highlight is the beer being brought to your seat! What a culture shock when you’re used to restricted alcohol zones in England. [Continues…]
How to get to Hamburger SV’s Volksparkstadion
I paid around €50 to sit on the halfway line on the upper tier in the West Tribune from HSV’s online ticket office.
The Volksparkstadion is quite a way out of town. From the main Haubtbahnhof take the S-Bahn line S3 or S21 to Stellingen. It’s then a bit of a walk to the stadium through parkland. Just follow the crowd.
Hamburg itself is well worth a visit – try to time your visit for when Bundesliga 2 side FC St. Pauli is at home, based right by the lively Reeperbahn. Hamburg was largely demolished by Allied bombing in 1943, so isn’t the prettiest of cities, but the Rathaus (town hall) is world famous, and dock area is home to the world’s largest model railway, Miniatur Wunderland, which even includes a scale model of the Volksparkstadion!