Football in Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg is a city in northern Germany that has a rich history and culture. The city is known for its beautiful architecture, lively music scene, and delicious cuisine. However, one aspect of Hamburg that is often overlooked is its love for football.

Football is an integral part of Hamburg's identity, and the city has a vibrant football culture that attracts fans from all over the world. The city is home to two major football clubs, Hamburger SV (HSV) and FC St. Pauli, both of which have a loyal fan base and a rich history.

In this guide, we shall delve into the annals of football history in Hamburg, explore local football rivalries, highlight the must-visit football stadiums, and offer insights into where best to enjoy the thrill of a match, among other topics.

History of Football in Hamburg

Football has been an integral part of Hamburg's history and culture for over a century. One of the most well-known and successful football clubs in Hamburg is Hamburger SV, or simply HSV. The club has a long and storied history, with roots dating back to 1887 when SC Germania was founded. In 1919, SC Germania merged with Hamburger FC and FC Falke 1906 to form what is now known as HSV.

The club quickly gained popularity and success, becoming one of the top teams in Germany. The formation of the Bundesliga in 1963 marked a turning point in German football, and HSV was quick to embrace the new league. The club was one of the founding members of the Bundesliga and went on to become one of the league's most successful teams. They won their first Bundesliga title in 1979 and followed that up with European Cup success in 1983.

Until the 2017-18 Bundesliga season, which saw HSV relegated for the first time ever, the team had the unique status of playing non-stop in the top tier of German football since the club's establishment after World War I. As a result, HSV was the only club to have participated in every Bundesliga season since its inception in 1963.

Another significant football club in Hamburg is FC St. Pauli. The club was formed in 1910 and initially struggled to establish themselves in the world of professional football. They eventually made it into professional football in 1974 and even won promotion to the Bundesliga in 1977. Sadly, they were relegated back down again, as has been the case in several of their top-flight campaigns.

FC St. Pauli has yo-yoed between divisions ever since, featuring in the Bundesliga for a total of seven seasons, with their best finish being 10th place in the 1988/89 season. Despite their on-field struggles, FC St. Pauli has gained a reputation as a cult sensation, particularly in the mid-1980s when a group known as the 'Black Block' began to gather on the terraces behind the dugouts of the Millerntor Stadium. The club's following drew heavily from alternative subcultures, and FC St. Pauli quickly became known as the football home for those without a home in football. The club is now known for its progressive values and anti-fascist stance, and their loyal fan base continues to support them through thick and thin.

Despite their different histories and backgrounds, both HSV and FC St. Pauli have passionate fan bases and are an essential part of Hamburg's football culture. Whether you're rooting for one of these clubs or simply enjoying the lively atmosphere of a football match in Hamburg, the city's rich football history is sure to impress any fan.

Football Clubs in Hamburg

Hamburg is a city with a rich football culture, and its football clubs are an essential part of that culture. Here's a closer look at some of the city's most notable football clubs:

Hamburger SV: The most successful club in Hamburg

Hamburger SV, also known as HSV, is the most successful football club in Hamburg. The club was founded in 1887 and has a long and storied history. HSV has won six Bundesliga titles, three DFB-Pokal cups, and one European Cup. The club has a loyal fan base, and its matches are some of the most well-attended events in the city.

HSV host their home matches at Volksparkstadion, located in Bahrenfeld, a western area of Hamburg. The official club colours are blue, white, and black, yet the team dons white shirts and red shorts for their home kit. Often referred to as "die Rothosen" (the Red Shorts), HSV is also known as der Dinosaurier (the Dinosaur) due to its status as one of Germany's oldest clubs. The team has notable rivalries with Werder Bremen, against whom they play the Nordderby, and local club FC St. Pauli, with whom they compete in the Hamburg derby.

FC St. Pauli: The cult club of Hamburg

FC St. Pauli is a cult club that is known for its unique philosophy and loyal fan base. The club was founded in 1910 and has a strong focus on social issues. FC St. Pauli's matches are known for their lively and passionate atmosphere, and the club has become a symbol of anti-establishment culture in Hamburg.

What truly sets FC St. Pauli apart is its active engagement with social and political causes. The club has long been associated with left-wing activism, promoting ideals of equality, tolerance, and solidarity. FC St. Pauli takes a firm stance against discrimination, racism, and homophobia, and actively supports initiatives and organizations that fight for social justice. The club's commitment to social issues has garnered admiration and respect not only within the football community but also in wider society.

The matches of FC St. Pauli are renowned for their lively and passionate atmosphere. The club's iconic skull and crossbones emblem, derived from the Jolly Roger pirate flag, symbolizes the rebellious and non-conformist spirit that is deeply ingrained in the club's culture. This emblem has become an instantly recognizable symbol of FC St. Pauli and its unique identity.

Other Football Clubs in Hamburg

In addition to Hamburger SV and FC St. Pauli, there are several other football clubs in Hamburg that are worth mentioning. HSV Barmbek-Uhlenhorst, Altona 93, and TuS Dassendorf are just a few examples. While these clubs may not have the same level of recognition as Hamburger SV and FC St. Pauli, they are an important part of Hamburg's football culture and contribute to the city's vibrant football scene.

Top Football Stadiums in Hamburg

Immerse yourself in the world of Hamburg football as you discover the city's most iconic stadiums.


One of the most well-known stadiums in Hamburg is the Volksparkstadion, also known as the Imtech Arena (for sponsorship reasons). This stadium is the home of Hamburger SV and has a seating capacity of over 57,000. It has hosted numerous international matches, including the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and is known for its impressive architecture and modern facilities.


For an experience like no other, head to the Millerntor-Stadion, the home of FC St. Pauli. This stadium exudes a unique atmosphere, with its terraces overflowing with dedicated and fervent fans. With a seating capacity of around 29,000, it has witnessed countless memorable matches that have left an indelible mark on Hamburg's football history.

Hoheluft Stadium

Nestled amidst picturesque surroundings, Hoheluft Stadium adds a touch of charm to Hamburg's football landscape. Serving as the home ground for several amateur football clubs, this stadium accommodates over 10,000 spectators. The tranquil setting provides a backdrop for unforgettable matches played by local teams.

Whether you bleed the colours of a Hamburg football club or simply revel in the exhilarating ambiance of a live match, prepare to be captivated by the sheer magnificence of Hamburg football stadiums.

Top Football Matches to Experience When in Hamburg

When visiting Hamburg, football enthusiasts have the opportunity to witness some truly remarkable matches that will leave a lasting impression. Here are a few top football fixtures that should be on your radar:

  • Hamburger Derby: The clash between HSV and FC St. Pauli is a legendary local derby that ignites the city. This heated rivalry showcases fierce competition, passionate fans, and an atmosphere that is second to none.
  • Hamburg vs. Werder Bremen: Prepare for a battle between two of Northern Germany's most successful clubs. The Hamburg-Werder Bremen fixture is steeped in history and delivers high-intensity football that never fails to entertain.
  • Hamburg vs. Bayern Munich: Witness football excellence as Hamburg takes on the mighty Bayern Munich. This match showcases the clash between two powerhouse teams.

These football matches provide an extraordinary opportunity to experience the energy and excitement that Hamburg's football culture has to offer. Attending one of these matches is an unforgettable experience that will immerse you in the city's sporting spirit. 

Football rivalries in Hamburg

Hamburg boasts a vibrant football culture, fueled by passionate rivalries that add an extra layer of excitement to the matches. Here's a closer look at some of the most notable football rivalries in the city:

The Hamburg Derby: Hamburger SV vs. FC St. Pauli

The Hamburg derby, also known as the Hamburger Stadtderby, epitomizes the fierce football rivalry between Hamburger SV and FC St. Pauli. Since 1919, these two teams have clashed in 107 matches, creating an atmosphere charged with anticipation and intensity. The derby goes beyond football, representing a clash of political ideologies, with FC St. Pauli's supporters known for their left-wing stance and alternative image.

Other Notable Football Rivalries in Hamburg

Alongside the Hamburg Derby, Hamburg is home to other compelling football rivalries. Matches between Hamburger SV and Werder Bremen ignite passionate competition between these two successful Northern German clubs. The encounters are marked by thrilling contests, as both teams vie for regional supremacy.

Additionally, clashes between FC St. Pauli and Holstein Kiel generate excitement and anticipation. These encounters showcase the competitive spirit between the teams and provide fans with gripping football action.

Getting Tickets for Football Matches in Hamburg

There are several ways to purchase tickets for football matches in Hamburg. Buying them online through the official websites of HSV and FC St. Pauli is a safe and reliable option. However, it's important to purchase tickets well in advance, especially for popular matches, as they tend to sell out quickly.

How to Get Tickets for FC St. Pauli Matches

If you're planning on watching FC St. Pauli play live, it's important to know that their matches are often close to capacity, and getting hold of tickets can be a challenge. However, the club's fans are known for their solidarity and welcoming attitude towards visitors. If you're lucky, a friendly inquiry might even get you an invitation to join the hottest party in German football.

To increase your chances of getting hold of tickets, it's best to plan ahead and purchase them as early as possible. FC St. Pauli's official website is the best place to start, where you can find information on upcoming matches and ticket availability. It's also worth checking out fan forums and social media groups to see if any fans are selling spare tickets or have advice on how to get hold of them.

If you're unable to secure tickets for an FC St. Pauli match in advance, don't worry - there are still options available to you. One option is to check out the club's official ticket resale platform, which is integrated into the Ticket Onlineshop. This allows supporters to buy and sell tickets, often up until the day before the match, and sometimes even on matchday itself.

It's worth noting, however, that availability is not guaranteed through the ticket resale platform, so it's best to plan ahead and purchase tickets as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Checking fan forums and social media groups for fans selling spare tickets can also be a useful tactic.

If all else fails, you can still soak up the atmosphere of matchday by heading to the bars and restaurants around the Millerntor-Stadion, where you'll find plenty of passionate fans to share the experience with. With a bit of persistence and some early planning, you can still witness FC St. Pauli's famous solidarity and welcoming spirit first-hand.

How to Get Tickets for Hamburg Matches

If you're planning on attending a Hamburger SV match, the best way to secure tickets is through their official online shop at Once you've selected the match you want to attend, you can choose your preferred seating options and pay securely with your credit card. The tickets will then be delivered to your house in approximately one week.

Prices for tickets range from €12 to €84, depending on the seating location and the opposing team.

Tickets can also be purchased in person at the Volksparkstadion box office on matchday, but it's important to arrive early as queues can be long and there is no guarantee of availability.

It's worth noting that tickets for HSV home matches at the Volksparkstadion also serve as free tickets on the entire Hamburg transport network (HVV) for your journey to and from the stadium on matchday. This makes travelling to the stadium by public transport both convenient and cost-effective.

Overall, tickets for most HSV matches are easily available in advance, although it's important to purchase them as early as possible for popular matches. With a bit of planning and preparation, you can experience the passion and excitement of Hamburg's football culture firsthand.

Getting Around

Hamburg has an excellent public transport system that makes getting around the city both convenient and affordable. The Hamburg transport network (HVV) includes buses, trains, and ferries, and tickets can be purchased at stations or online in advance. There are a variety of ticket options available, including single tickets, day tickets, and group tickets, so you can choose the option that best suits your needs.

In addition to public transport, cycling is also a popular and convenient way to get around Hamburg. The city has an extensive network of cycle paths and a bike-sharing scheme, StadtRAD, which allows you to rent a bike for a small fee.


Hamburg is a must-visit destination for any football fan looking to experience the beautiful game in a vibrant and historic setting. With two major football clubs, iconic stadiums, and a rich football history, Hamburg offers an unforgettable experience for fans of all levels. Whether you're watching a match or simply enjoying a beer with fellow fans, Hamburg is sure to leave a lasting impression on any football enthusiast.