Hamburg Blue Devils - History


The Hamburg Blue Devils were formed in 1992 and began playing non-league football in September 1992. It continued to take part in tournaments in 1993, defeating a number of European top clubs, including the German champions, the Munich Cowboys.

In 1994, the Blue Devils took part in the Football League of Europe, where they lost the final to the Stockholm Nordic Vikings, played in front of 18,000 in Hamburg.

Unusually, the club was admitted to the American Football Bundesliga, the later GFL, without having worked its way up through the league system in 1995 and reached the German Bowl in its first attempt. There however, the Düsseldorf Panthers proved too strong and Hamburg lost 10-17.

The club's second season in the league brought triumphs and sadness. The team won both the German Bowl and the Eurobowl, however, the teams head coach since 1992, George White, died two days before the play-off semi finals. In 1997, the Blue Devils were able to defend their European crown but lost in the semi finals of the national championships. Finally, in 1998, the club won the Eurobowl for a third consecutive time, as the first club ever, but once more lost the German Bowl, to future bitter rival Braunschweig Lions.

The 1999 season was all about the Blue Devils versus the Lions, the two teams meeting both in the Eurobowl and the German Bowl. On both occasions, the Lions kept the upper hand, but the 30,000 that turned out to see the German Bowl at Hamburgs Volksparkstadion were a new record for the game in Germany.

The following season was a disaster for the club. With new coach and quarter back, the club played its first losing season in its short history and missed the play-offs. It did reach the Eurobowl once more but this time lost to the Bergamo Lions.

With a new coach and playing at the Millerntor-Stadion, the club began a new era of success in 2001. Three German Bowl victories were to follow, all against the Braunschweig Lions. However, not all went well for the club. Midway through the 2002 season, the coach left but the Blue Devils remained successful. In 2003, the club experienced financial trouble, having to declare insolvency. Despite this, the German Bowl was won in extra time in a narrow 37-36 victory.

The club somewhat declined from 2004 onwards, only reaching the quarter finals that year. In 2005, a last appearance in the German Bowl was made, but this time the Lions came out as the winners. Additionally, the clubs marketing agency had to declare insolvency, too, but the Blue Devils survived theirs and moved into their own stadium, the eVendi Arena. From 2005 to 2007, the club also faced some local competition in the form of NFL Europe team Hamburg Sea Devils.

From 2006 onwards, the performances of the Blue Devils dropped off. In 2006, the play-off semi finals could still be reached, in 2007 it was only the quarter finals and, in 2008, a fifth place meant the club did not play a post season at all. What followed was the withdrawal to the tier-three Regionalliga Nord, where the club played the 2009 and 2010 season without ever suffering a league defeat. However, in the promotion round, things were not as easy and the Blue Devils missed out on promotion in 2009 but were successful in 2010. In 2011, the club has risen to the second tier of German football, the GFL 2, a league it never played in before.

On 5 January 2011, the club announced that it would start a cooperation with the Hamburger SV with the aim of becoming a department of the club and, eventually, from 1 January 2012, all teams of the Blue Devils would become part of the multi-sports club HSV. The idea was floated as early as 1992 and the club will, in future, be known as the HSV Hamburg Blue Devils. In 2012 the club came seventh in the northern division of the GFL and failed to qualify for the play-off.

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