History: Dinosaurs had already been extinct for several million years by the time the last dinosaur of German football met its fate. After a 55-year uninterrupted spell in the top flight, Hamburg became the last founding member of the Bundesliga to experience relegation to the second tier in 2018 – then missed out on an immediate return the following year. The origins of the six-time German champions can be traced back to 1887 when SC Germania was founded. In 1919, Germania and Hamburger FC merged to form the Hamburger Sport-Verein e.V. – known as Hamburger SV for short, or HSV in its even shorter form.
Stadium: The Volksparkstadion, the natural habitat of mascot Dino Hermann, has changed. The stadium clock which showed how long the club had been in the top flight to the second has now been taken down. And, since the start of this season, the traditional club anthem "Hamburg meine Perle" by Lotto King Karl has not been sung prior to home games in the second-largest stadium in the Bundesliga 2. The Volksparkstadion has a capacity of 57,000, was opened in 1953 and is located in the Altona district of Hamburg.
Coach: After missing out on an immediate return, a big name was handed the reins in Hamburg. Dieter Hecking had previously been the head coach of Hannover 96, 1. FC Nuremberg, VfL Wolfsburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach – achieving great success. The 55-year-old led the Foals into the Europa League, having previously steered the Wolves to the DFB Cup title and a second-placed finish behind Bayern Munich in 2015. Hecking is a former midfielder who played for the likes of Hessen Kassel, Waldhof Mannheim, VfB Leipzig, SC Paderborn, Hannover 96 and Eintracht Braunschweig before hanging up his boots in 2000.
Personnel matters: Hamburg used the revenue from the sales of Douglas Santos (Zenit St. Petersburg), Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt), Jann-Fiete Arp (Bayern Munich) and captain Gotoku Sakai (Vissel Kobe) to raid their Bundesliga 2 rivals and sign players with experience across the first and second divisions. Defensive duo Tim Leibold and Ewerthon arrived from Nuremberg following their relegation from the Bundesliga, while defender Jan Gyamerah and centre-forward Lukas Hinterseer joined from VfL Bochum. Martin Harnik and Jeremy Dudziak were bought from rivals Werder Bremen and St. Pauli respectively, while Sonny Kittel joined from Ingolstadt. Hecking's team was also bolstered by the arrivals of goalkeeper Daniel Heuer-Fernandes (Darmstadt), defender David Kinsombi (Kiel), midfielder Adrian Fein (Bayern Munich II) and striker Xavier Amaechi (Arsenal U23s). They were followed by Louis Schaub (1. FC Cologne), Jordan Beyer (Borussia Mönchengladbach) and Joel Pohjanpalo (Bayer Leverkusen) in the winter transfer window.