Hamburger SV is a German football team, playing in the highest national league called the Bundesliga. The Hamburger SV (short for Sportverein, meaning sports club in German) comes into being on June 1, 1919, when SC Germania, Hamburger FC and FC Falke 1906 decide to join under a new name. Founding date of the club is usually set to September 29, 1887, the day that the oldest of the mother clubs is established (Germania).
Success after birth
Directly after its birth, Hamburger SV is successful. Already in 1922 it plays 1. FC Nürnberg for the national title, but the match is postponed because of dusk. The replay is doomed as well, as the opponents from Nürnberg have too little players left when it comes to extra time. One year later 'though, the club from Hamburg beat Berlin Union Schönerweide and become champions of the Empire. This accomplishment is repeated in 1928 when Hertha BSC from Berlin is no match for the Hamburgers.
Then, for a long time silence rules, until Uwe Seeler and Klaus Stürmer form the fundaments of the Hamburger SV first team in the fifties. The Cup Final of 1956 and the deciding title matches in the following years are all lost by HSV, but 1960 means victory for the red-and-whites: 1. FC Köln is beaten (3-2) and the Hamburger Sportverein is German champion again, with seven players from its own junior training grounds. Uwe Seeler, nicknamed Uns Uwe (Our Uwe) is the goal getter, becoming club top scorer sixteen times in nineteen seasons. In his debut match against Stuttgarter Kickers in 1954, Seeler scores twice immediately. Five times national top scorer, he is awarded Footballer of the Year in Germany three times. He plays 72 international matches for West-Germany, including four World Championships.
Outside West-Germany, the world really meets Hamburger SV for the first time in 1968, when the club reaches the European Cup Winners' Cup final. In Rotterdam, AC Milan proves to be too strong and wins 2-0. Nine years later, the Germans do win a major trophy when - again in the Netherlands, this time Amsterdam - the European Cup Winners' Cup is lifted by Hamburger SV after Georg Volkert and Felix Magath score against Belgian Anderlecht: 2-0.
This final marks the start of the most successful period in HSV history, especially when manager Günther Netzer and coach Ernst Happel join the club, respectively in 1978 and 1981. Hamburger SV becomes German champion in 1979, 1982 and 1983 (runner-up in '80, '81 and 84). Heroes of this team are goalkeeper Uli Stein, defenders Manfred Kaltz, Ditmar Jakobs, Holger Hieronymus and Bernd Wehmeyer, midfielders Kevin Keegan, Felix Magath, Thomas von Heesen and Jimmy Hartwig, and lone striker Horst Hrubesch.
Kaltz, Hrubesch and Keegan
Kaltz is all-time record holder of league matches for Hamburger SV (581). He holds the Bundesliga record for converting the most penalty kicks in his career: 53, but the offensive back is especially known for his so-called Bananenflanke, a curving 'banana' cross-pass that usually ends on Horst Hrubesch's head. Striker Hrubesch is already 27 years old and still little known when he is signed by Hamburger SV in 1978. The Monster is a terrific header of the ball and scores his most important goals in the European Championships final of 1980, when two of his goals get West-Germany past Belgium: 2-1. Englishman Kevin Keegan is the third star of this era, although he is usually associated with Liverpool FC. In the three years he is under contract at Hamburg (1977-1980), he is adored by the public and becomes European Footballer of the Year in 1978 and 1979.
The best club in Europe
In 1980, Keegan loses his last important match for the Germans. It's the final of the important European Champions Cup in Madrid, when Nottingham Forest retains the title, winning 1-0. Two years later, IFK Göteborg stunts by beating favourites HSV twice in the UEFA Cup final, but in 1983 the club books its greatest success ever. In Athens, Juventus loses 1-0 thanks to a Felix Magath goal in the final of the European Champions Cup. Hamburger SV officially is the best club in Europe then.
Malaise is the key word of the years after the magic 1983. Creditors line up in front of the stadium gates and the club has to sell new midfield star Thomas Doll to Lazio to stay alive. On the pitch, nothing particularly exciting happens, although Hamburger SV still is the only club that has never left the highest football level since the debut of the Bundesliga in 1963. "Immer Erste Klasse" (Always Premier League) is therefore a motto that the club wears with pride. Most recent hero of the club is goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt, not only a good ball stopper but also famous because he is always high ranked in the top scorer lists: he takes all the penalty kicks.
Hamburger SV currently works with a yearly budget of around 70 million euro. Its Volksparkstadion is a modern football temple with 55,000 roofed luxury seats.