Hamburg’s taken its fair share of knocks over the years - from Viking invasions to the devastating after-effects of Allied bombing in 1943 and the North Sea flood of ’62 - but, just like the phoenix, has risen from the ashes bigger and better on each occasion. bundesliga.com takes a look at the home of not just one, but two of German football's most iconic clubs...
The Free Hanseatic City of Hamburg is a thriving port city in the north of Germany, with international trade and logistics a key feature of this cosmopolitan city, which has its own international airport just 20 minutes from the city centre by subway. For HSV’s home, you’ll need to take the S3 (direction Pinneberg) from the central or Altona station - or the S21 (direction Elbgaustraße) - to Stellingen. Shuttle buses go from Stellingen station to the arena itself in the run-up to kick-off, but for a real taste of the atmosphere you could walk it in 15 minutes. Pauli fans can reach their temple easily by foot from the city centre.
Hamburg’s great port has seen a revival in fortunes following the expansion of the European Union in 2004, and there’s always plenty going on with St. Pauli Landungsbrücken (essentially a promenade without the Blackpool-style amusements) well worth a look. A harbour boat tour is a relaxing addition. Further along the pier, the 100-year-old underground Elb-Tunnel takes you to a great look-out point for further views of the city,
Hamburg has a pulsating centre with streets lined with designer stores and boutiques. Head towards Jungfernstieg for an amble down its elegant boulevard and quaint side streets. Follow the Venetian-style canals and arcades, and you’ll soon find yourself in Hamburg’s main square, Rathausmarkt. Rumour has it, the magnificent town hall (l.) was one of the biggest builds of the 19th century, yet it’s the building’s neo-Renaissance features that really stand out.
Built in 1925 and last renovated ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Hamburg's home is one of the most attractive venues in European football, so much so it was selected by UEFA to host the inaugural Europa League final in 2010. Home to 57,000 fans, and invariably full, it also boasts one of the best atmospheres with the translucent roof letting light in to help the grass grow, while keeping the noise in on matchday.
Bang in the middle of Hamburg's red-light district, there is no other ground in Germany which has maintained such an allure as the Millerntor Stadion. In spite of several renovations and substantial modernisation, it has still managed to maintain the character of a ground from yesteryear and is one of Germany's must-visit stadiums. Seeing the teams emerge to AC/DC's 'Hell's Bells' is worth the entry fee alone.
The stuff of legend, nothing will quite prepare you for Hamburg’s red-light district - the Reeperbahn. Pubs, bars, restaurants, theatres and all things seedy – take your pick. Wherever you end up, anything goes here, and it only gets better as the clock ticks into the next morning. If that all gets too much, HSV have their very own cemetery. It has a capacity of 500, is open to all fans and 'lots' can be pre-booked and paid for in instalments.