Hamburger SV 4-3 Altona 93 (lost footage of Oberliga Nord football match; 1952)

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The Sportplatz am Rothenbaum, which is where the match took place.

Status: Lost

On 24th August 1952, Hamburger SV hosted Altona 93 for an opening season match of the 1952/53 Oberliga Nord. Occurring in front of around 14,000 at the Sportplatz am Rothenbaum, the encounter was historic for being the first football match to be televised live in Germany.


Heading into the opening game of the Oberliga Nord season, Hamburger SV was again seeking to top the league in order to qualify for the German Championship, which featured the best-performing clubs from the Oberliga Nord, Berlin, West, Südwest, and Süd.[1][2] In contrast, Altona 93 had recently been promoted to the Nord by finishing runners-up in the 1951/52 Amateurliga season.[3]

Meanwhile, West Germany was making plans to re-introduce television into the country following the Second World War.[4] Prior to the War, Nazi Germany had provided closed-circuit television programs, including at least 72 hours of live coverage of the 1936 Summer Olympics.[5][4] It has been claimed that football at that Olympics received partial live coverage, as the semi-finals, third-place playoff, and Final were all situated at the Olympic Stadium, where two television cameras for the station Paul Nipkow were capturing live footage.[6] While this could mean that the Italy-Norway on 10th August 1936 was the first football match to be televised live, football historians like Hagen Leopold found no evidence live football coverage ever materialised for this Olympics.[6] Thus, the first live televised football in Germany likely occurred during the Nordwestdeutscher Rundfunk (NWDR)'s test broadcasts between 1948 to 1952, with the broadcasting company receiving permission from the British forces that occupied part of West Germany during this time period.[6][4]

The Match

The NWDR selected the upcoming Hamburger SV-Altona 93 match to conduct its first test broadcast of a football match.[7][6] This most likely was for geographical purposes, as NWDR was Hamburg-based.[4][6][7] Three cameras were situated at the Sportplatz am Rothenbaum, which would capture the match throughout its entirety.[6] Occurring on 24th August 1952 in front of around 14,000, the match saw the visitors take the lead after eight minutes courtesy of Georg Engel.[8] Kurt Hinsch doubled Altona's lead after 24 minutes.[8] Hamburger pulled a goal back thanks to a goal from Herbert Wojtkowiak 36 minutes in, and 16 minutes after the start of the second-half, would equalise thanks a strike from Werner Harden.[8] Four minutes later, however, Hinsch scored his second to make it 3-2 to Altona. But on the 77th minute, Werner Gorszka conceded an own-goal, levelling the game.[8] Three minutes later, Harden scored his second goal to allow Hamburger to win the encounter 4-3.[8] SV would top Oberliga Nord, progressing to the German Championship group stage, though would prove unsuccessful in their bid to win the German Championship.[1][2] Atlona meanwhile finished sixth out of 16 clubs.[1]

The match broadcast received extremely low viewership, as it aired during a period where privately-owned televisions did not exist in West Germany.[6][7] However, it would prove the catalyst towards live football occurring on Boxing Day 1952, just a day after regular television was launched in the country.[6] The match in question was a DFB-Pokal game between St. Pauli and Hamborn 07, contributing towards 24 games being aired by March 1954.[6][7]


Ultimately, the match was televised privately in an era where recordings were rare until videotape was perfected in the late-1950s.[9] Because of this, the broadcast has not resurfaced, and no footage the encounter itself is known to have survived.

See Also