Everyone knows about the Old Firm derby worldwide, but is Hamburg vs St Pauli just as ferocious?

According to David Bates, they are certainly memorable. The former Rangers star had his first taste of the passionate German rivalry back in September. Thanks to Hamburg being relegated, they are now in the same division as their heated rivals.

That clash was the first between the sides for seven years, and Bates did his job to battle to a 0-0 draw.

For those who remember Bates’ time at Rangers well, he played in multiple Old Firm matches. He never managed to come out on top in any of them, but did halt Celtic at Parkhead under Graeme Murty back in December 2017.

David Bates is having a terrific period over in Germany (Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images)

It’s fair to say the former Rangers man now has good experience in heated rivalries. Comparing both, Bates had this to say:

“The derby was great. The atmosphere was good. We trained the day before the game and 2000 people turned up to watch. We didn’t get the win, it finished 0-0 in a bit of a boring game for fans but it was a good atmosphere to play in. Like the Old Firm it’s tough.

“But it’s different to the Celtic games. European atmospheres are always different. The fans can come to training, the Ultras.

“We knew they were coming and they told us how much it means to them. The head boy spoke after training as we walked out. He told us! The fans are brilliant over there. Like the Rangers fans they have a traditional history.”

Nothing trumps the Old Firm

You get the feeling here that Bates feels the German derby is more heated. Having ultras watching training and informing the team of the match’s importance is certainly up there for unorthodox pre-derby rituals. You couldn’t imagine the Union Bears pitching up at training and being allowed to give the squad a pep talk. Perhaps they should.

Bates played several times against Celtic for Rangers (Vagelis Georgariou/Action Plus via Getty Images)

Then again, it’s fair to say the rivalry between the two German sides is perhaps too heated. Just look at the last clash back in September. St Pauli fans found themselves ambushed by stink bombs, and almost 2000 police officers were employed for the contest. There are consistent behavioral problems at this fixture that puts the Old Firm in its shadow.

We’re biased, but it still doesn’t lay a finger on the Old Firm clash for true passion. The tradition and history of the Old Firm is just too great. Whilst Hamburg and St Pauli have a strong hatred for each other, it’s not as grand as the Glasgow derby.

Bates continues to experience plenty and grow more by the day in Germany. We’ve spoken on countless occasions about whether letting him go was the right move by Rangers.

So far, it’s certainly looking like the right move for Bates.

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