Founding members of the league in 1963 and one of only three Bundesliga teams to have got their hands on the European Cup, Hamburg’s status as one of German football’s traditional powerhouses is beyond reproach.
The Volksparkstadion has been home to some of the biggest names ever to have graced Germany’s top flight, but which of them would make it into the Bundesliga ever-presents’ all-time XI? We at bundesliga.com have racked our brains and come up with the following all-star cast…
It was a tight call, but scoring 21 times as a goalkeeper is an extraordinary achievement, even if all Butt’s goals for Hamburg came from the penalty spot! After making his debut for the club in August 1997, Butt netted his first top-flight goal on Matchday 4 of the following campaign, scoring from the spot in a 1-1 draw with Wolfsburg. He would go on to register a further six times in 1998/99, before finishing as the club’s joint top scorer - yes, you read that correctly! - with nine goals in 1999/2000. Butt’s goalscoring heroics shouldn’t detract from his abilities as a shot-stopper, of course: In 160 appearances for the Red Shorts, he registered an impressive 44 clean sheets.
Watch: The Bundesliga's highest-scoring goalkeeper Hans-Jörg Butt
After coming through the youth ranks at Hertha Berlin, Boateng joined HSV as an 18-year-old in 2007, signing a four-year contract with the northern giants. Wasting little time in establishing himself as an integral cog in a side featuring the likes of Vincent Kompany, Nigel de Jong and Ivica Olic, he helped the Red Shorts to successive top-five finishes in 2007/08 and 2008/09, not to mention consecutive UEFA Europa League semi-finals in 2008/09 and 2009/10. After a one-year stint at Manchester City Boateng was snapped up by Bayern Munich, where he has blossomed into one of the world’s most gifted central defenders.
A classic Libero in the mould of Franz Beckenbauer, Jakobs represented Rot-Weiß Oberhausen, Tennis Borussia Berlin and MSV Duisburg before joining Hamburg in 1979 - not long after the Red Shorts had clinched their maiden Bundesliga crown. Making 375 appearances for the club all told, Jakobs helped HSV win successive Meisterschalen in 1981/82 and 1982/83, as well as the 1983 European Cup and the 1987 DFB Cup. His career was ended prematurely in September 1989, however, when he landed awkwardly on one of the hooks behind the goal while attempting a clearance during a match with bitter rivals Werder Bremen. The hook reportedly missed Jakob’s spinal cord by inches, but the severity of the injury meant he was never able to play competitively again.
Clocking up a remarkable 581 league outings for the club, Die Rothosen’s record appearance holder was a cornerstone of the HSV side that lifted three Bundesliga titles, a DFB Cup, a European Cup and a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup between 1979 and 1983. The Ludwigshafen-born full-back became known for his inch-perfect ‘Bananenflanken’ (banana crosses) from the right wing, forging an almost telepathic understanding with striker Horst Hrubesh, who scored many of his 96 league goals for Hamburg after getting on the end of Kaltz’s pin-point deliveries. When asked to describe his prolific partnership with the defender after a match in the early 1980s, Hrubesch famously replied: “Manni banana, I head - goal!”
Son was just 16 years old when he left FC Seoul to join Hamburg’s academy in 2008. Swiftly progressing through the youth ranks, he was named in Die Rothosen’s first-team squad for the start of the 2010/11 campaign, but was forced to miss the first few months of the season through injury. After making his competitive debut for the club against Frankfurt in the DFB Cup, Son scored on his full Bundesliga debut against Cologne just three days later, becoming the club’s youngest ever Bundesliga goalscorer in the process. Currently plying his trade at Tottenham in the Premier League, Son enjoyed his most fruitful German top-flight campaign in 2012/13, scoring twelve times to help HSV to a seventh-placed finish.
Magath joined Hamburg at the start of the 1976/77 season after firing Saarbrücken to the Bundesliga 2 title the previous year. The Ashaffenburg-born playmaker would go on to score 55 times in 350 outings for Hamburg in all competitions, winning the UEFA European Cup Winners’ Cup in his first campaign at the Volksparkstadion before helping the club lift the coveted Meisterschale in three of the next six seasons. He is best remembered, however, for scoring the winning goal in the 1982/83 European Cup final against Italian giants Juventus, securing his status as a living legend among the HSV faithful.
Rafael van der Vaart
HSV beat off competition from some of Europe’s top clubs to sign Dutch prodigy Van der Vaart in June 2005. It was a move that raised eyebrows in his home country - Johan Cruyff famously commented: “I don’t know what to say about it or what Rafael van der Vaart is doing in Hamburg!” - but the Ajax academy graduate immediately set about proving his doubters wrong, finishing the 2005/06 season as the Red Shorts’ top scorer as Thomas Doll’s side secured Champions League football courtesy of a third-placed finish. His scintillating performances for the club earned him a move to Real Madrid in 2008, before he was snapped up by Tottenham Hotspur two years later. He returned to the Volksparkstadion in 2012, playing a crucial role in helping the club avoid relegation via the play-offs in 2013/14 and 2014/15.
Barbarez got his first taste of German football with Hannover - then in the second tier - in the early 1990s, but it wasn’t until he joined Hamburg after short spells with Hansa Rostock and Borussia Dortmund that Barbarez’s career really caught fire. He finished top scorer with 22 goals in his first season at the Volksparkstadion, before helping HSV win the League Cup in 2003. The versatile attacker netted 66 Bundesliga goals for the Red Shorts in total, while his overall tally of 96 top-flight strikes make him the tenth highest foreign goalscorer in Bundesliga history. The former Bosnia-Herzegovina captain finished his playing career with Bayer Leverkusen before spending a season on the Hamburg board between 2009 and 2010.
Affectionately nicknamed ‘Mighty Mouse’ by Hamburg supporters, Keegan joined the Red Shorts after helping Liverpool win their first ever European Cup in 1977. The 63-time England international netted 10 goals in his first campaign at the Volksparkstadion, but it was the following season that his career in Germany really took off. Scoring 17 goals in 34 league appearances, Keegan was instrumental as HSV won their first ever Bundesliga title in 1978/79, before becoming only the second player after Dutch legend Cruyff to win back-to-back Ballon d’Ors in 1978 and 1979. He remains the only British player to have won the award twice.
HSV through and through, Seeler remains one of the most prolific forwards ever to have graced Germany’s top flight. Born in Hamburg on 5 November 1936, he quickly progressed through the Red Shorts’ youth ranks after joining his hometown club as a ten-year-old, making his top-flight debut in 1953. Of his 404 league goals for the club, 137 were scored in the Bundesliga, putting him 19th in the division’s all-time top scorers’ chart. Known among HSV supporters as ‘Uns Uwe’ (Our Uwe), Seeler also netted 43 goals in 72 outings for West Germany and competed at the same four FIFA World Cups as Pele, who named the former HSV president as one of the 125 greatest living players in 2004. He became the first sportsman to be named an honorary citizen of Hamburg in 2003 and a giant statue of Seeler's right foot was unveiled outside the Volksparkstadion back in 2005.
Watch: bundesliga.com celebrates Uwe Seeler's 80th birthday with some of his greatest goals
Irish television commentator Jimmy Magee once described Hrubesch as “the man they call ‘The Monster’” during Germany’s 1982 FIFA World Cup semi-final against France, and it doesn’t take a genius to work out why the Hamm-born striker enjoyed such a fearsome reputation as a player. Regarded as one of the most lethal headers of the ball in Bundesliga history, the 6 ft 2 in centre-forward joined Die Rothosen on the back of a prolific three-year spell at Rot-Weiß Essen, going on to plunder 117 goals in 194 appearances for HSV during their most successful era. Hrubesch, who ended his playing career with Dortmund, netted 136 goals in 224 Bundesliga appearances overall - only Gerd Müller, Robert Lewandowski and Lothar Emmerich have recorded better goals-to-game ratios in Germany’s top flight.
One of the most decorated coaches in the history of the game, Vienna-born Happel had already won numerous titles in the Netherlands and Belgium - not to mention the 1969/70 European Cup with Feyenoord - by the time he took the reins at the Volksparkstadion in 1981. After guiding HSV to back-to-back league titles in 1981/82 and 1982/83, Happel became the first ever coach to win the European Cup with two different clubs by guiding the Red Shorts to a 1-0 victory over Juventus in the 1983 final. He added the DFB Cup to his remarkable resume in 1987 before returning to his homeland to manage Svarovski Tirol, with whom he won the Austrian title. He remains one of only five coaches to have won national championships in at least four European countries.