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With about 800 sports associations, one of the biggest local rivalries in football and hundreds of joggers treading the banks of the Outer Alster lake every day: Hamburg lives and breathes sports.
There are, of course, the two football clubs Hamburger SV and FC St. Pauli. The first has never been relegated from the Bundesliga and St. Pauli is back and forth between Germany’s first and second division. Although St. Pauli might trail behind in athletic success, it certainly scores points with some of the most dedicated supporters in international sports. The rivalry between both clubs goes almost unparalleled and the question of loyalty for either HSV or St. Pauli has shaped the city for decades.
Football is everywhere in the city, but there are other teams (both male and female) that do exceptionally well in their given sports. The Hamburg Huskies American football team plays in Germany's first divisions. Volleyball team VT Aurubis has represented the city in the Women Bundesliga since 2000. Newcomers Hamburg Towers have been going strong and are expected to play first division basketball within a couple of seasons. With the annual tennis tournament at Rothenbaum, many defining moments in tennis history took place right by the Alster Lake.
On and around the Alster Lake, fans of watersports and joggers indulge in their hobbies by the hundreds. On sunny days, some practise for the annual Dragon Boat races on Stadtparksee and others for the Hamburg Marathon, with its 20,000 participating athletes. And, with 150,000 spectators per day, the Hamburg Triathlon is the biggest of its kind. As a part of the ITU World Champion Series, the race is considered highly prestigious.
The Cyclassics bike races take place annually and are extremely popular among professionals and amateurs alike. More than 20,000 participants master up to 250 kilometres through the city and the metropolitan region around Hamburg.