Happy 50th birthday Jörg Albertz!

The Rothosen’s former midfielder today celebrates a significant milestone, whilst The Hammer’s goals are still fondly remembered in Hamburg.

‘The Hammer’ celebrates a half-century! Jörg ‘Ali’ Albertz, fan favourite during two spells at Hamburger SV turns 50 today (29th February). Albertz spent five seasons in total at the Volksparkstadion, a long and successful sojourn to Glasgow Rangers sandwiched in between.

Born on the 29th January 1971 in Mönchengladbach, the left-footed maestro began his footballing career at Bundesliga side Borussia from the city of his birth, not quite making the cut and instead breaking through at their local rivals, Fortuna Düsseldorf. F95’s relegation from the 2. Bundesliga was the signal for Albertz to head north to the Volksparkstadion, settling in quickly in Hamburg and winning over the hearts of the HSV faithful within a number of games. The midfielder’s trademark soon became thunderous left-footed efforts from outside the box, feared throughout the Bundesliga and the reason for his nickname ‘The Hammer’. Particularly in the last two seasons in his first spell with the Rothosen, the redhead became a key member of the team, scoring nine goals in both seasons along with five assists in 1994/95 and three assists in 1995/96, also leading the team out as captain before departing for pastures new. 

His never-say-die attitude and playmaking ability caught the attention of Glasgow Rangers, at that point on the way to nine straight Scottish league titles, Albertz making the move to Ibrox, the start of a five-year period at the heart of the Old Firm rivalry. Although contact had been made by smaller groups of HSV fans to Rangers before, Albertz’s transfer and the following trip by HSV to Rangers’ eternal rivals Celtic in the UEFA Cup in September 1996 proved to be catalysts for the close and friendly relationship which developed between the Rangers and HSV fans, which goes from strength-to-strength to this day. The German wove his way quickly into the hearts of the Rangers faithful as well, winning three league titles and four cup medals under Walter Smith and Dick Advocaat.

In the summer of 2001, the then 30-year-old returned to the Volksparkstadion, spending two more seasons in Hamburg, before seeing out his career in Shanghai, Greuther Fürth, Düsseldorf and FC Clyde in Scotland, hanging up his boots for good in July 2008. The midfield maestro can look back on 137 competitive appearances, 29 goals and 15 assists during his time at HSV. Despite 16 years having passed in between times, the Hammer’s goals are still fondly remembered and invoke great memories for the HSV fanbase.

All of HSV wishes Jörg a happy 50th birthday and the best of health.

Here are six of the best of The Hammer's goals for HSV: