Every visitor to Hamburg will recognize two very distinctive symbols. Sprayed on walls, embroidered on flags or printed on stickers all over the city, you will see the skull and bones of St. Pauli football club and the black, blue and white rhombus of Hamburger Sport-Verein (HSV). Regardless of personal allegiances, it can’t be denied that HSV is the more successful club.
Founded in 1887 as SC Germania, the club’s most impressive feat had always lied in its unshakable resilience. Ever since the end of WWI in 1918, HSV had played top-tier football, making the club the only one that had never been relegated from Germany’s world-famous Bundesliga. Even at their least successful, the team had always managed to avoid relegation by a hair. To remind opponents of this unique achievement, a clock at Volksparkstadion arena, where home games are played, had constantly counted the days and years since joining the league — until 2018, when HSV was no longer able to withstand the strong competition and was demoted into the second Bundesliga.
Throughout its history, however, the team has won everything from three national cup finals and six national championships to the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, the predecessor of today’s Champions League. To this day, names like Horst Hrubesch, Manni Kaltz, and Felix Magath are revered among the club’s many supporters. The club’s greatest player and honorary national team captain Uwe Seeler, has been immortalised with a five metres high statue of his foot at the gates of Volkspark stadium.