I am rather here thinking of the coastal teams, located in the cities of what in mediaeval times was known as the Hanseatic League, who, if they had disagreements, wouldn’t restricted to kicking a football at each other, though it is really League as in being in league with someone….. I say coastal, but the major teams that I’m thinking of, Werder Bremen and HSV Hamburg, are actually on major rivers, both of them port cities associated with shipbuilding, and both of them having the status of being both a city and a Land (state within Germany).
Hamburg is the larger of the two cities. Hamburger SV enjoyed its greatest successes in the late 70s and 1980s with success at European level, before rather slumping to mid-table mediocrity – many would be happy with that – for much of the 1990s, before new investments enabled them to improve around the turn-of-the-century. Since then they have remained in the Bundesliga, though with some anxious moments in recent seasons. But Hamburg has also has another highly prominent side in FC St Pauli, to whom I shall devote a separate entry when I have a little more time, as everything about them is complicated!
Bremen’s main team is Werder Bremen, which I for many years fondly believed meant “Bremen Becoming”, as if they were team always going somewhere and all was in development, until I discovered that a Werder is a kind of reclaimed water meadow. Werder have been in the Bundesliga since its inception in 1963, with the exception of single year spent in the Zweite Bundesliga from which they returned immediately as champions. Long periods of success nationally and at European level alternate with mid table and lower table finishes.