Football Murals – HSV

Up until 2018 SV Hamburg held the esteemed honour of being the only German Bundesliga club never to be relegated from the top division of German football – giving rise to the popular club nickname Der Dinosaurier or Der Dino.

Despite that record Hamburg SV by 2018 were a club teetering on the verge of crisis for some years.

After the highs of successive European semi-finals (and a European Cup win some 30 years previous) relegation was somehow miraculously avoided in 2015 in a last gasp play-off win against Karlsruhe.

There would be no play-off escape route in 2018 however with Wolfsburg snatching that escape route and SV Hamburg finally dropping to Bundesliga 2 – the dinosaur was now extinct and the crisis full blown.

In the second tier they have lingered ever since and HSV have now evolved into a team fighting for an escape in the face of a 5th season in the second tier. Not that they have been doing too badly its just they are a lion in a cage from which they cannot get out.

Bundesliga 2 – the Survival of the fittest

The 2. Bundesliga is a little bit like the English Championship – a few 3rd place finishes and a 4th place has seen the northern giants heartbreakingly miss out on promotion. Even a DFB Pokal semi final in 2022 against Freiburg was no consolation to HSV fans. They want to be back on the top table of German football alongside old foes like Bayern, Bayer, Frankfurt and Dortmund.

Last season’s devastating play-off loss at home to Hertha Berlin proved just too much for some Hamburg fans. Just when it looked like a return to the top table was on the cards especially after the first leg win in Berlin that route back to the top table was stolen from them.

The ship for the Bundesliga had sailed once again and HSV were not a passenger.

The Logo – HSV

The Hamburg badge is a unique one at least in terms of German clubs but its meaning comes is hidden in the shape and colours. Scratch just beneath the surface and the history of the club and the diverse meanings shine through.

SV Hamburg are a merger of three clubs – SC Germania Hamburg, Hamburger FC and FC Falke Eppendorf. When these three clubs came together into HSV the old heraldic club badge style was scrapped for a modern white diamond against a blue background.

Hamburg is a port city – just like Rotterdam or Gdansk in modern day Poland. Rough edged but modern and industrious the white square with a black trim blowing against the blue background hints at the sea-faring maritime cultures of the city. 

The ‘blauer peter’ logo of Hamburger SV is featureless being only a 45 degree angled design combining a white and black square inside a blue coloured rectangle – the blue peter – signifying a club with people onboard outward bound for sea.

The choppy waters of Bundesliga II see SV Hamburg turn out in a kit that is predominantly composed of white jerseys and red shorts. Red being the colours of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg with the socks traditionally being a distinctive mix of black (Falke 06) and blue – a hint to the merger club SC Germania Hamburg.

Last week, I took a trip to HSV and the Volksparkstadion. I witnessed what a massive club this is – certainly one of Germany’s largest and no other club in this part of Germany comes close in terms of size, prestige and fanbase. Over 56,000 fans turned out for a Sunday afternoon fixture against Eintracht Braunschweig.

The walk from the U-Bahn to the Volksparkstadion saw a variety of work all dedicated to the traditions of the home club – Hamburger SV. In tunnels, walkways and on walls that sit silently in the park that leads to the stadium.

On the Nord tribüne there is a host of art work all dedicated to the club; the maritime traditions of the club and the various fans who come here each weekend.