Hamburg were relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time in their history on Saturday, as a 2-1 win over Borussia Mönchengladbach proved too little too late.
A proud run of 55 season in Germany’s top flight came to an ugly end as Hamburg fans set off a flurry of fireworks, releasing a cloud of black smoke across the Volksparkstadion, forcing play to be suspended just minutes from time.
“This is an enormously painful moment for everyone at the club, which has lost one of its defining characteristics,” said Hamburg president Bernd Hoffmann.
The six-time German champions, who won the European Cup in 1983, are the only team to have played in every Bundesliga season since the league’s inauguration in 1963, earning them the nickname “dinosaur”.
Although Hamburg battled to victory over Mönchengladbach, they were doomed to relegation as Wolfsburg thrashed Cologne to finish third from bottom. Wolfsburg will go into a relegation playoff with Holstein Kiel, who finished third in Germany’s second tier.