Hamburg won the battle, but lost the war: the Bundesliga ever-presents' 55-season stay in the top flight is over, the clock has stopped and the Dino will be playing in the second tier next season. Despite a 2-1 win against Borussia Mönchengladbach on the final day, results elsewhere condemned Christian Titz's side to the drop. recalls the high and lows from a memorable top-flight stay.


Founded in June 1919, three-time national champions Hamburg were one of 16 teams invited to compete in the Bundesliga's inaugural campaign in 1963/64. HSV had won the first of their three DFB Cups a season earlier, adding a second in 1975/76 - the same year they finished runners-up in the Bundesliga. It was the dawning of a golden era.

Two years after defeating defending champions Anderlecht to claim the 1976/77 European Cup Winners' Cup, Hamburg captured the Bundesliga title for the first time. Their reward was a place in the 1979/80 European Cup, where they powered their way to the final. Nottingham Forest won that particular battle, but HSV would soon seize the continental throne.

Deposing Bayern Munich to win their second Bundesliga crown in 1982, Hamburg went one better the following campaign. The Red Shorts had already held off fierce northern rivals Werder Bremen to take the league title on goal difference, when they made it a Bundesliga and European Cup double with victory over Italian giants Juventus in Athens. To this day, HSV have never had it so good.

Hamburg beat Juventus 2-0 in the 1983 European Cup final. © imago / imago/Ferdi Hartung


The digital clock in the north-west corner of the Volksparkstadion displays every year, day, hour, minute and second of Hamburg's relentless Bundesliga stay. Fifty-four was a unique achievement, but make no mistake: the years have not been kind to the self-styled dinosaurs of German football.

Prior to 2014, HSV had never finished lower than 15th. In four of the last five seasons, however, the fallen Bundesliga giants have wound up in the bottom five - surviving via the play-offs in 2014 and 2015, and pulling off another great escape to haul themselves above the water line at the expense of Wolfsburg on the final day of last season.

HSV's stadium clock will have to be reset following the club's maiden relegation. © gettyimages

Club legends

If only Hamburg could wind back the clock. 

Hometown hero Uwe Seeler plundered 404 league goals between 1955-1972 - there's even a statue of his fabled right foot outside the Volksparkstadion – while Horst Hrubesch, Felix Magath and legendary coach Happel helped pen the most successful chapter in HSV’s rich history, culminating in their unprecedented 1983 double triumph.

And who can forget Kevin Keegan? The Englishman with a barnet fit for the glam-rock scene brought the house down during his three-season stint in Hamburg, winning the Bundesliga, reaching the final of the European Cup, and earning back-to-back European Footballer of the Year gongs along the way. No wonder they called him Mächtig Maus (Mighty Mouse).

Kevin Keegan (r.) scored 32 goals in 90 Bundesliga apperances for Hamburg. © imago / Colorsport


Bundesliga champions: 1978/79, 1981/82, 1982/83
DFB Cup winners: 1962/63, 1975/76, 1986/87
European Cup winners: 1982/83
European Cup Winners' Cup winners: 1976/77 

Stadium: Volksparkstadion

Capacity: 57,000

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