Fan Culture


On the anniversary of Hermann Rieger's death: remembrance, mourning and football

Today marks the eighth anniversary of Hermann Rieger's death. This is the occasion for the launch of a new project.

„Forever our best man, whom no one can ever replace“ 

That's what it read on 22 February 2014 at the home game against Borussia Dortmund as part of a choreography on the entire north stand of our Volkspark Stadium. Eight years ago today, on 18 February 2014, HSV cult masseur Hermann Rieger died at the age of 72 after a long, serious illness. The likeable Bavarian from Mittenwald had been a masseur and good soul at HSV since 1978. With his humorous manner, he was appreciated by players, staff and fans alike. Hermann Rieger is still fondly remembered today, with his cordial manner, his thumbs up and his legendary medical kit, which has become his trademark over the years. Hermann Rieger's statue at the north-east entrance is a source of comfort to many an HSV fan and is a popular place, especially on home match days, to commemorate our great legend.

When remembrance, mourning and football meet...

Commemoration, mourning and football - at first glance a contradiction. But almost nowhere is the topic of mourning and death as publicly visible as in football. The minute's silence, the mourning flag or the choreography for a deceased footballer or football fan - all these are frequently seen witnesses of a living culture of remembrance in the stadium. Football in particular can be a source of strength and an important resource for people in the mourning process. And this is exactly where HSV comes in to provide support. The aim is to make the issues surrounding the culture of mourning and remembrance visible, to create offers and to show how diverse, colourful and creative the football fan culture at HSV is in dealing with issues such as death and mourning.

Mourning and memorial culture at HSV

With this goal in mind, the Fan Culture 2020 department launched the project of the same name - with the University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg) as the project partner. Students of nursing science and "Interdisciplinary Health Management" developed two project focuses together with the fan representatives of Hamburger SV: "The Last Wish" and "Memorial Museum". Guidelines were developed for these projects, which contain individual offers. 

Shortly before their death, many dying people often express the need to stay connected to life and to do things they used to enjoy. As a "last wish", for example, a visit to a home match, a training session or a museum or stadium tour is made possible. Or the opportunity is given to say goodbye and retreat with the accompanying persons for a moment, for example, in the empty stadium. The contact person for the "last wish" is the fan culture department. The fan representatives can be reached at and on 040/41551530. 

"Memorial Museum" is about the design of a room in the HSV Museum. The focus of the room concept is on support in the mourning process and the individual commemoration of deceased HSV supporters by relatives or fan club members. In addition, as part of a mourning walk, it will be possible to visit the seat or standing area of the deceased with a trained companion, lay flowers or candles and pause. The service will conclude in the HSV restaurant "Die Raute". The offer will be available to all HSV fans after the renovation work currently taking place and can be booked through the HSV Museum after completion.

HSV is a cooperation partner in the "Mourning and Football" project

In the process described above, HSV is supported by the HAW Hamburg and the "Mourning and Football" project in an advisory capacity. The project has existed since 2018 and makes the versatile and creative handling of death and mourning in football and its fan culture visible. To this end, the many different forms of expression of mourning culture in football are collected, ordered, researched and made available. In addition, the project "Mourning and Football" offers various services for clubs, fan projects, fans and the interested public. More information is available at