Hamburg Blue Devils

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Not to be confused with Hamburg Sea Devils.
Hamburg Blue Devils
Hamburg Blue Devils.jpg
Founded 1992
League German Football League (withdrawn)
Based in Hamburg, Germany
Stadium Adolf-Jäger-Kampfbahn
Colors Navy blue
Head coach Maximilian von Garnier
Championships Eurobowl: 1996–1998
German Bowl: 1996, 2001–2003
Division titles GFL North: 1997, 2001
Cheerleaders Blue Angels

The Hamburg Blue Devils are an American football team in Hamburg, Germany. The Blue Devils are one of the most successful American football clubs in Germany, having won four German Bowls as well as three Eurobowls. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the clubs rivalry with the Braunschweig Lions dominated the game in Germany, with the two sides meeting in six German Bowls between 1998 and 2005 as well as the 1999 Eurobowl.[1]

In the late 1990s, the club had become the most financially successful American football club in Europe,[2] but by 2003, the club had to declare insolvency.


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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]


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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3]

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.[3] 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.[4] In 2012 the club came seventh in the northern division of the GFL and failed to qualify for the play-off.

In January 2014 the club announced that it would withdraw its team from the GFL because of a loss of players and would restart in 2015.[5]


Apart from the senior men's team, the Blue Devils also operate a reserve side, a junior team, the Hamburg Junior Devils, ladies team, the Hamburg Blue Devilyns and a flag team, the Hamburg Flag Devils.[6]


  • Eurobowl
    • Champions: 1996–1998
    • Runners-up: 1999, 2000
  • German Bowl
    • Champions: 1996, 2001–2003
    • Runners-up: 1995, 1998, 1999, 2005
  • EFL
    • Participations: (7) 1996–2000, 2000, 2006
  • GFL
    • Northern Division champions: 1997, 2001
    • Play-off qualification : (12) 1995–1999, 2001–2008
    • League membership : (16) 1995–2008, 2012–2013
  • GFL 2
    • Northern Division champions: 2011

German Bowl appearances[edit]

The club's appearances in the German Bowl:[1]

Bowl Date Champions Runners-Up Score Location Attendance
XVII September 16, 1995 Düsseldorf Panther Hamburg Blue Devils 17-10 Braunschweig 12,125
XVIII October 5, 1996 Hamburg Blue Devils Düsseldorf Panther 31-12 Hamburg 19,700
XX October 3, 1998 Braunschweig Lions Hamburg Blue Devils 20-14 Hamburg 22,100
XXI October 9, 1999 Braunschweig Lions Hamburg Blue Devils 25-24 Hamburg 30,400
XXIII October 6, 2001 Hamburg Blue Devils Braunschweig Lions 31-13 Hanover 23,193
XXIV October 12, 2002 Hamburg Blue Devils Braunschweig Lions 16-13 Braunschweig 21,097
XXV October 11, 2003 Hamburg Blue Devils Braunschweig Lions 37-36 (aet) Wolfsburg 20,517
XXVII October 8, 2005 Braunschweig Lions Hamburg Blue Devils 31-28 Hanover 19,512

Recent seasons[edit]

Recent seasons of the Blue Devils:[7][8][9][10]

Year Division Finish Points Pct. Games W D L PF PA Postseason
2005 GFL (North) 2nd 14–6 0.700 10 7 0 3 224 119 Won QF: Stuttgart Scorpions (30–0)
Won SF: Marburg Mercenaries (42–41 aet)
Lost GB: Braunschweig Lions (28–31)
2006 2nd 16–8 0.667 12 8 0 4 356 215 Won QF: Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns (34–13)
Lost SF: Marburg Mercenaries (20–33)
2007 4th 14–10 0.583 12 7 0 5 305 219 Lost QF: Stuttgart Scorpions (17–27)
2008 5th 12–12 0.500 12 6 0 6 201 185
2009 Regionalliga Nord 1st 24–0 1.000 12 12 0 0 466 53 Lost PR: Mönchengladbach Mavericks (13–19 & 12–21)
2010 1st 20–0 1.000 10 10 0 0 333 104 Lost PR: Potsdam Royals (26–27)
Won PR: Troisdorf Jets (28–7)
2011 GFL 2 (North) 1st 18–2 0.900 10 9 0 1 260 80
2012 GFL (North) 7th 4–24 0.143 14 2 0 12 257 586
2013 6th 8–20 0.286 14 4 0 10 225 448
2014 inactive
  • PR = Promotion round.
  • QF = Quarter finals.
  • SF = Semi finals.
  • GB = German Bowl.

Charity Bowls[edit]

The victory against the St. Xavier University was the first success for a European team against an US college team.[11]

Year Home team Guest team Score Attendance
1993 Hamburg Blue Devils Pacific Lutheran University 18-42 15,200
1993 Findlay Oilers Hamburg Blue Devils 28-7  ?
1994 Hamburg Blue Devils Findlay Oilers 14-21 11,000
1995 Hamburg Blue Devils St. Xavier Cougars 20-0  ?
1996 Hamburg Blue Devils Illinois Wesleyan Titans 7-37  ?
1997 Hamburg Blue Devils Benedictine Ravens 18-13  ?
1997 Florida State Seminoles alumni Hamburg Blue Devils 20-15  ?
1998 Hamburg Blue Devils Team USA 17-10  ?
1999 Hamburg Blue Devils Kristianstad C4 Lions (Sweden) 72-0  ?
2000 Hamburg Blue Devils Notre Dame Fighting Irish alumni 10-14 18,500


  1. ^ a b Bowls GFL website, accessed: 1 January 2011
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h History der Hamburg Blue Devils (German) Hamburg Blue Devils website - Club history, accessed: 9 January 2011
  4. ^ Blue Devils kooperieren mit dem HSV (German), published: 6 January 2011, accessed: 9 January 2011
  5. ^ Hamburg Blue Devils ziehen sich zuruck (German) GFL website, published: 18 January 2014, accessed: 14 May 2014
  6. ^ Other teams (German) Hamburg Blue Devils website, accessed: 9 January 2011
  7. ^ Football History (German) Historic American football tables from Germany, accessed: 2 January 2010
  8. ^ GFL 2008, accessed: 2 January 2011
  9. ^ GFL 2009, accessed: 2 January 2011
  10. ^ GFL 2010, accessed: 2 January 2011
  11. ^ Hamburg Blue Devils GFL website, accessed: 27 February 2011

External links[edit]