clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Why We Love Your Club: Hertha Berlin

This is the Second in a series where we discuss what makes the Bundesliga the best league in the world, The clubs and their Fans. This week we will be discussing the capital club, Hertha BSC.

Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

HISTORY-

The history of Hertha Berlin rocks unsteadily, raising and falling, just like the german steamboat the club was named after. Hertha has journeyed from third tier, to Bundesliga, from Third Reich to the Champions League; it is a cornerstone of German club football and the sporting voice of the nation's capital.

Founded in 1892 as Hertha BFC 92, it enjoyed substantial success in its early years, winning the German title in 1905.18 years later in 1920, when faced with financial troubles, the club merged with Berliner Sport-Club to obtain its current name, Hertha Berliner Sport-Club. In the seasons from 1926 to 1931 the team enjoyed its most successful period ever, making its way to six consecutive German Championship finals, winning the last two in 1930 and 1931, its last league titles to date.

During the Third Reich, Hertha BSC suffered the same fate all German clubs did at the time; it was overhauled by the Nazi party and given a party president. Shortly after, It fell to obscurity, only mustering three divisional titles in 1935, 1937, and 1944 and never advancing far in the national championship rounds.

Life would remain hard for the club well into the Cold War years. With its fan base completely split by the Berlin Wall, Hertha BSC would be relegated after it's first year in the new Bundesliga, a league it helped found, in the 1964/65 season. They would gain promotion back in 1968/69.

After involvement in a match-fixing scandal in 1971, the 70's were good to Hertha. The club finished second in the league in 1974/75, made it to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup in 1979, and played in two German Cup finals in 1977 and 1979. In the years following, the club found itself in a constant cycle of relegation, promotion and debt, at one point falling all the way to the third tier of German football.

By 1997, the club had found its way back to the Bundesliga and admirably fought to keep its place, which it has done successfully for the most part (barring the 2010/11 and 2012/13 seasons where it won 2. Bundesliga twice within two years), even managing a sting of successful qualifications for Europe and a title challenge in 2008/09.

The club currently sits at an impressive third in the Bundesliga table, three points clear of Bayer-Leverkusen in fourth.

CULTURE-

Hertha Berlin is a club steeped in a unique geographical culture. Since 1963, Hertha has called the beautiful Olympiastason its home, a stadium built for the 1936 Olympic games and the largest stadium in the country, with a capacity to seat over 74,000 people. The Ostkurve is the club's famous fan section, called so because of the curve the stand takes due to the track surrounding the field. It is a classic example of German club pride, with fans jumping in unison, waving monstrous flags, singing and chanting their team along. Hertha also have an interesting rivalry with FC Union Berlin, but the sides have only met a few times (to absolutely packed stadiums) due to differences in league level at various times and the division of the Berlin Wall.

FANS-

Few fans are more passionate than those of the Bundesliga, and Hertha fans are no exception. Berliners turn out in excess to watch games at 9 Euros a seat, and for big occasions attendance can reach upwards of 60,000. The Hertha fan is a dedicated one, with beautiful stories of fans in Cold War East Berlin listening for the deafening cheers coming from the Stadion am Gesundbruuen, Hertha's old stadium, to know whether or not their team had won or lost, cheering them on in exile.

FUN FACTS-

- Hertha Berlin doesn't have their own women's club but they do sponsor and invest in FC Lubars, a 2. Bundesliga side who wear the clubs colors.

-The club got its colors from the Blue and White smoke stacks of the Hertha steamboat it was named after.

- In 2005 the Olympiastason was handed an elite five star rating by UEFA, and has held some amazing matches like last year's Champion League final and the 2006 World Cup final. It was also the stadium where Jesse Owens won all four of his Olympic gold medals in 1936.