It is the bang for the start of this year’s second division season. Tomorrow, Friday (8.30 p.m.), FC Schalke 04 and Hamburger SV will meet in the Veltins-Arena. A real Bundesliga classic – re-launched in the lower house. A journey through the history of this evergreen.
Even before the introduction of the Bundesliga in 1963, both clubs had already fought a few duels for the German championship. The premiere took place on July 8, 1928, when the home side from Hamburg won 4-2 in front of 10,000 spectators in the Hoheluft stadium.
There were six more duels before the Bundesliga started. The last one was actually a real final: on May 18, 1958, the Royal Blues secured the German Championship in front of 85,000 spectators in the Lower Saxony Stadium in Hanover with an undisputed 3-0 win.
The record from the pre-Bundesliga time: four wins for the miners, three for Hamburg (including a crisp 8: 2 in June 1952).
But things really got going from the 1960s onwards. Even then, changes between the two clubs were not uncommon. The most prominent example from that time was certainly Willi Schulz.
He was already a German national player when he left the pot in 1965 and moved to Hamburg.
That he did not do this as a relegated club, he (and of course Schalke 04) only owed the fact that the league had been increased from 16 to 18 clubs after its second year. Schalke was last in the 1964/65 season.
In Hamburg, Schulz was retrained from midfielder (at that time still called “center runner”) to defensive player and in this new position became one of the best players in Germany.
Schulz received his nickname “World-Cup-Willi” during the 1966 World Cup in England. The homophonic mascot “World-Cup-Willie” (with “ie”) was the inspiration. At this World Cup tournament, Schulz also made a name for himself internationally.
A quote from Pelé may illustrate how good Schulz was. The Brazilian world star, still for many the best player in football history, once said: “The footballer’s life could be so good if it weren’t for this saber-legged Schulz.”
In the eighties a certain Wolfram Wuttke took the same route as Schulz. Before that, “Wutti” had a two-year interlude at Borussia Mönchengladbach (under coach Jupp Heynckes), but returned temporarily to Gelsenkirchen in 1982 (after Schalke had been promoted for the first time).
HSV, at that time the newly crowned European championship champion, signed Wuttke in the 1983/84 season. With coach Ernst Happel, however, the easygoing Wuttke did not get along at all and moved to Kaiserslautern in 1985.
A year earlier, in the 1984/85 season, HSV center forward Dieter Schatzschneider, who could never replace his predecessor Horst Hrubesch in Hamburg, moved from the Hanseatic city to the Revier.
After him, Sascha Jusufi (1991/92) did the same in the 1990s, but due to injury problems he could not play a single competitive game for the miners, and Sven Kmetsch (1998/99), who won the DFB twice during his seven years at Schalke. Cup could win.
In the noughties of this century, the transfer of goalkeeper Frank Rost von Schalke to HSV (during the winter break of the 2006/07 season) was certainly the most important change between the two clubs.
Three and a half years later, in the 2010/11 season, Hamburger SV then paid the West Germans 7.5 million euros to sign central defender Heiko Westermann. He was supposed to fill the gap in the Volkspark that Jerome Boateng had left after his move to Manchester City.
The duels of the two clubs this season spread real royal splendor but for other reasons. Because from that season, the former Real legend Raúl laced his shoes for Schalke, while the Hamburg team had secured the services of Ruud van Nistelrooy six months earlier.
On the first match day of the 2010/11 season in Hamburg, the two superstars met for the first time in the Bundesliga, which the Red Trousers won thanks to two goals from the Dutchman.
The latest sensational player change between the two clubs was certainly that of Simon Terodde, who joined the Royal Blues after just one year (and the missed promotion) in Hamburg at the beginning of tomorrow’s season.
But there was not only a lot of overlap at the player level. With Rudi Gutendorf, Aleksandar Ristic, Huub Stevens, Mirko Slomka and Felix Magath, five coaches also worked at both stations.
There are also the current coach of the miners, Dimitrios Grammozis, and André Breitenreiter (who was in charge of Schalke in the 2015/16 season), who were active as players at HSV.
Sometimes extremely sonorous names that are associated with both clubs. But meanwhile the shine has faded.
What Heiko Westermann, tomorrow’s co-commentator at Sky (the game will also be on SAT.1 broadcast on free TV), in the picture to the bitter conclusion: “I think it is a real disaster for both clubs that they are relegated.”
But in the course of their more than 100-year history, both clubs have repeatedly managed to let an upswing follow a low point. From tomorrow you will now have the opportunity to take the first step towards a better future.