A football derby is a special occurrence the world over. But in Hamburg, things are a bit different.
In Hamburg, because of its irregular, uncertain recurrence, the derby is an event of undeniable appeal, especially for the smaller, poorer more reckless side if the city.
For its passionate supporters, FC St Pauli is more than a simple club. It’s the soul of a whole district. A philosophy of life.
An inclusive, anti-racist and anti-gender discimination club, directly controlled by the shareholders (the fans own the multi- sports society), it was founded in 1910 and has always been strongly connected with its territory and its people.
Rainbow colours and Jolly Roger pirates flags are the modern icons of FC St Pauli, and a distinctive symbol for its fans.
On the stands of the newly renovated Millerntor-Stadion, alive with love, passion and political activism, these flags never stop waving among their brown- white and Che Guevara companions.
The skull and crossbones are everywhere in the district: on the innumerable stickers on the roads, on the fans’ caps, scarves, shirts, and sometimes on their skin.
From the pavements of the raucous red- light street of Reeperbahn to the piers of the Landungsbrücken harbour, last year everybody was talking about glorious new derby days.
For the historical rivals of Hamburg Sport-Verein had been relegated for the first time ever to the 2. Bundesliga, home of FC St Pauli.
HSV v St Pauli has always meant more than just Goliath against David. It’s aristocracy against seamen and working class, right against far-left, the refined city centre against the district of the port and the red-lights.
And it represents six Deutsche Meisterschale and one Champions League to zero. After eight years of waiting, the so-called Hamburger Stadtderby took centre stage again.
Last autumn, the first leg ended with a 0-0 at Volksparkstadion, home of HSV. The wait for the return game on 10 March had become feverish.
Despite the passionate support, the incandescent atmosphere created by the fans, the fireworks, the pyrotechnics and the coloured smoke bombing, the result was 4-0.
A view of Landungsbrücken harbour in the St Pauli district of Hamburg.
A sticker mocking FC St Pauli’s two historic Hanseatic rivals, Hamburger Sport-Verein and FC Hansa Rostock, seen as crying children after their respective relegations.
A recurring case of sticker guerrilla warfare between opposing supporters, covering each others' stickers. Blue, white and black are the social colours for HSV; brown, white and red for FC St Pauli. The stickers say: “Hamburg is brown white”; “In Hamburg only us”, “Let’s board the Derby!”
An FC St Pauli supporter placing the Jolly Roger flag, icon of the club, at his window.
A supporter of FC St Pauli showing a t-shirt reminding of the last victorious derby in 2011.
The East stand of Millerntor-Stadion before the players’ entrance on the pitch.
FC St Pauli players get ready for action.
The East stand proclaims: “Hamburg is brown white”.
A lady looking for tickets, wearing a self-made jersey which combines halves of the two teams’ tops in honour of her grandchildren, supporters of both clubs. The writing says: “No one is too little to be a good fan”.
A masked supporter lighting up fireworks on the St Pauli “Südkurve”. Fireworks are not allowed inside stadiums by German law.
Among the Hamburger Sport-Verein ultras, there are several foreign supporters from twinned clubs FC Copenhagen and Rangers.
HSV ultras lighting up fireworks and blue smoke bombs in their sector on the “Nordkurve”.
The fireworks of the “Südkurve” at the beginning of the second half, accompanied by the chant “Welcome to the Hell of St Pauli”.
FC St Pauli striker Alex Meier pressing Hamburger Sport-Verein goalkeeper Julian Pollersbeck as he prepares to kick from his box.
The FC St Pauli’s players stand disconsolately in front of the “Südkurve” at the end of the game. After a few seconds of total silence, the supporters started their chants once more.
St Pauli left fists up in the “Südkurve”.
A St Pauli ultra showing the Jolly Roger flag tattooed on his hand at Feldstraße.
The Millerntor-Stadion after the match. On the East stand the writing says: “No football for Fascists”.
The Millerntor-Stadion Jolly Roger corner flag.