Derby Day – Hamburg Report [Part 1]
I Daniel Barthold
I Hamburger SV vs FC St. Pauli 0-2
Hamburg is the second largest German city with a population of just under 2 million. The city is very much affiliated with water having with two rivers – the Elbe and Alster – and Germany’s biggest port. Known for trade as a former member of the Hanseatic League it is one of the most important locations in central Europe. Its recent new attraction is the concert hall ‘Elbphilarmonie’ which has become a major landmark since its completion in 2017.
Hamburg also offers plenty of locations to have a drink and due to its multicultural spirit and set up there are many options for international cuisine including a significant Turkish, Portuguese, Balkans and Middle Eastern community.
This is the first of two Hamburg reports so I will focus on Hamburg’s city centre here with plenty of bars and restaurants around the river Alster. From Jungfernstieg subway station there are several options such as the Gänsemarkt with a few restaurants and bars, the Binnenalster including the famous Four Seasons Hotel and the Mönckebergstrasse for shopping. Alternatively, it is possible to just hang out at ‘Planten un blomen’ which is an urban park right in the centre of the city.
Hamburg certainly offers plenty of beauty and compared to places like Munich it has a decent mixture of wealth and working class areas. The only problem is the rather dull weather for most of the year. Spring and summer are gorgeous but it can get grim, rainy and grey in autumn and winter. Make sure you bring your rain jacket at any time!
Hamburger SV vs FC St. Pauli
Local derbies are always special and tense and Hamburg v Sankt Pauli is no exception as it is a clash between two very different football clubs. HSV are one of the most traditional clubs in the country with a huge fan base accordingly. Their trophy cabinet is quite remarkable but since the late 80’s the club has constantly deteriorated and are currently in the 2nd tier of the German football pyramid – something that would have been unthinkable 20-30 years ago.
Sankt Pauli’s trophy cabinet is pretty much empty which does not really bother their diverse fan base. In the late 80’s the club formed a fairly new movement in football with an active anti-racist fan culture in a world where football clubs had to deal with right-wing hooligans quite extensively. Nowadays, St Pauli have a huge amount of followers world-wide considering that they have been playing in the 2nd tier most of the time. It is a very diverse fan culture which can’t be described as “working class”, “anti-fascist” or “socialist” only. This is part of the identity at St Pauli but the club has changed and professionalized itself over the years by generating more profit – for the sake of the economically struggling St Pauli district – and also with a partly more wealthy group of supporters which is very different from FC St. Pauli in the 90’s and earlier.
Originally, St Pauli supporters who used to support HSV initially where fed up with right-wing attitudes and started switching sides which was the birth of its current fan culture based on anti-discrimination on all levels.
The rivalry is fierce, but there are still a lot of moderate supporters of each club who see this derby with a decent amount of banter and sense of humour. There are more violent and more hatred derbies in Europe for sure and still, the Hamburg derby is one of the biggest rivalries in Germany with plenty of banners and pyro action.
The game itself was a dream come to true for every Sankt Pauli supporter and looking at Hamburg’s recent history, they really are a constant accident waiting to happen. The hosts should have been 2-0 up within the first 10 minutes of the game but missed a sitter and hit the crossbar. The guests scored with the first chance and scored a second goal just before the half an hour mark to gain a 2-0 lead at HT. Hamburg never really found back into this game and St Pauli’s fighting spirit gave them an unexpected but deserved derby win – the first away win in nearly one year! Two disallowed goals in the second half were the highlights and Hamburg disappointed overall with yet another blow for their fan base.
The Voksparkstadion is a lovely football stadium refurbished for the World Cup 2006 with capacity of 57,000.
The die-hards are located behind one of the goals but it actually spreads over an entire stand and the away end with up to 6,000 St. Pauli supporters was impressive as well.
The stadium is located a little bit far out the city, about 20 minutes by tube including a longer walk from Stellingen subway station. There is not too much around in terms of bars so it is best to get a few cans of beer sorted before making the trip.
HOW TO GET THERE
Hamburg is easily accessible being fairly centrally located in Europe. Central station is the busiest train station in Germany and trains run frequently from Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Copenhagen, Prague, Zurich and other major cities.
Hamburg Airport is not the biggest hub but still offers a wide range of destinations including Manchester, Amsterdam, Vienna, Munich and several times daily to and from London.
From the airport it takes about 25 minutes to Hamburg Central by public transport.
Born in 1983 in Hildesheim (Lower Saxony, Germany) and raised in the Hamburg Area. Supporter of FC St. Pauli and since 2010 living and working in London (England) as a sports business consultant. Groundhopping has been a passion since the early days but I am actively counting and ticking off grounds since the Euros 2004. I have been to 500 stadiums in 65 countries so far.