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FC Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, commonly FC Schalke 04, is a German football club originally from the Schalke district of Gelsenkirchenmarker, North Rhine-Westphaliamarker. Schalke has long been one of the most popular football teams in Germany, even though major successes have been rare since the club's heyday in the 1930s and early 1940s. The football team is the biggest part of a larger sports club with more than 80,000 members (September 2009) making it the second largest sports club in Germany. Other activities offered by the club include basketball, handball, and track and field. Schalke 04 won its first major European trophy in 1997 by defeating Internazionale on penalty kicks for the UEFA Cup in Milanmarker. Pope John Paul II became an honorary member of the club in 1987 after celebrating a mass in the Parkstadion. Schalke has a rivalry with the club of Borussia Dortmund (see Revierderby) and also has a friendly relationship with Nuremberg. The mascot of the club is called Erwin (also Ährwin.)


Schalke's early years

The club was founded on 4 May 1904 as Westfalia Schalke by a group of high school students and first wore the colors red and yellow. The team was unable to gain admittance to the Westdeutscher Spielverband and played as one of the "wild associations" of early German football. In 1912, after a number of years of failed attempts to join the official league, they merged with the gymnastic club Schalker Turnverein 1877 in order to facilitate their entry. This arrangement held up until 1915 when SV Westfalia Schalke was re-established as an independent club. The separation proved short-lived and the two came together again in 1919 as Turn- und Sportverein Schalke 1877. The new club won its first honours in 1923 as champions of the Schalke Kreisliga. It was around this time that Schalke picked up the nickname "Die Knappen" – from an old German word for miner – because the team drew so many of its players and supporters from the coal mine workers of Gelsenkirchen.

In 1924, the football team parted ways with the gymnasts once again – this time taking the club chairman along with them. They took the name FC Schalke 04 and adopted the now familiar blue and white uniforms from which their second nickname would derive – "Die Königsblauen" ( ). The following year the club became the dominant local side based on a style of play that used short, sharp man-to-man passing to move the ball. This system would later become famous as the "Schalker Kreisel" ( ). In 1927, it carried them into the top-flight Gauliga Ruhr, onto the league championship, and then into the opening rounds of the national finals.

Rise to dominance

The popular club built a new stadium, the Glückauf-Kampfbahn, in 1928, and acknowledged the city's support by re-naming themselves FC Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04. They won their first Western German championship in 1929, but the following year were sanctioned for exceeding salary levels set by the league and, in an era that considered professionalism in sport anathema, found themselves banned from play for nearly half a year. However, the ban had little impact on the team's popularity: in their first game after the ban against Fortuna Düsseldorf in June 1931, the team drew 70,000 to its home ground. The club's fortunes begun to rise from 1931, making a semi-final appearance in the 1932 German championship, losing 1–2 to Eintracht Frankfurt. The year after, the club went all the way to the final where Fortuna Düsseldorf proved the better side, winning 3–0.

With the re-organization of German football in 1933 under Nazi Germany, Schalke found themselves in the Gauliga Westfalen, one of sixteen top-flight divisions established to replace the innumerable regional and local leagues all claiming top status. This league saw Schalke's most successful decade in their history: from 1933 to 1942 the club would appear in 14 of 18 national finals — 10 in the German championship and 8 in the Tschammerpokal, the predecessor to today's German Cup and win their league in every of its eleven seasons. The club never lost a home game in this league in all these eleven seasons and only six away games, remaining completely unbeaten in the Gauliga Westfalen in the 1935–36, 36–37, 37–38, 38–39, 40–41 and 42–43 seasons; a clear sign of the club's dominance.

The championship years 1934–42

Schalke's first national title came in 1934 with a 2–1 victory over favourites Nuremberg. The next year they defended their title against VfB Stuttgart in a 6–4 win. The club missed the 1936 final, but would make appearances in the championship match in each of the next six years coming away victorious in 1937, 1939, 1940, and 1942. Three of those national finals were against Austrian teams – Admira Vienna, Rapid Vienna, and First Viennamarker – which played in Germany's Gauliga Ostmark after Austria's incorporation into the Reich through the Anschluss in 1938.

"Die Königsblauen" also made frequent appearances in the final of the Tschammerpokal, but enjoyed much less success there. They lost the inaugural Tschammerpokal 0:2 to Nūrnberg in 1935. They also made failed appearances in the 1936, 1941, and 1942 finals with their only Cup victory coming in 1937 against Düsseldorf.

Over a dozen seasons from 1933 to 1945 Schalke accumulated an astounding record, winning 162 of 189 Gauliga matches, drawing 21 and losing only 6. On the way they scored 924 goals and gave up just 145. From 1935 to 1939 they did not lose a single league match. The club's dominance throughout this period led them to be held up for propaganda purposes by the Nazi regime as an example of the "new Germany". This was despite the fact that many players were descended from Polish immigrants, most notably the two stars of the team, Fritz Szepan and Ernst Kuzorra.

Post-war football

With Germany in chaos towards the end of World War II, Schalke played just two matches in 1945. They resumed regular play following the war and for a time continued to compete as a strong side. They set a record in a national championship round match with a 20:0 drubbing of SpVgg Herten, but that spoke more to the weakened condition of German football than the ability of the team. Schalke's play fell off and the best they could manage in the new Oberliga West in 1947 was a sixth place finish: within two years they slipped to 12th place. It would take them until the mid-50s to recover their form. They finished third in a tight three-way race for the 1954 Oberliga West title decided on the last day of the season. The following year they appeared in the German Cup final where they lost 2:3 to Karlsruher SC. The club's next German championship came in 1958 with a 3:0 victory over Hamburger SV. This is their last national championship title to date.

Entry to the Bundesliga

Schalke continued to play well in the years leading up to the formation of the Bundesliga, Germany's new professional league, in 1963, delivering a number of top four finishes. Those results earned them selection as one of sixteen sides admitted to the top flight league.

Their first years in the Bundesliga were difficult. In 1965, they escaped relegation only through the expansion of the league to eighteen teams. A number of finishes far down the league table followed, before a marked improvement culminating in a second place finish to Bayern Munich in 1972 after having led the league for much of the season. In the same year, Schalke won the German Cup for the second time in its history.

The Bundesliga Scandal of 1971

Despite their improved results, the seeds of a major reversal had already been sown. A number of the team's players and officials were accused of accepting bribes as part of the widespread Bundesliga scandal of 1971. Investigation showed that Schalke had played so as to deliberately lose their May 17 28th round match against Arminia Bielefeld by a score of 0–1. As a result several Schalke players were banned for life, including three —Klaus Fischer, "Stan" Libuda and Klaus Fichtel— who were with the German national team of the time. Even though the penalties were later commuted to bans ranging from six months to two years, the scandal had a profound effect on what might have become one of the dominant German teams of the 1970s.

Crisis and recovery

In 1973, the club moved to the Parkstadionmarker, newly built for the 1974 World Cup and having a capacity of 70,000 spectators. In the wake of the scandal, the club's performance was uneven. They managed another second place result in 1977, finishing just one point behind champions Borussia Mönchengladbach.

In the early 1980s Die Knappen ran into trouble and found themselves relegated to the 2.Bundesliga for the 1981–82 season and again in 1983–84. They returned to the top flight in 1984, and after slipping once more to tier II in 1988, have stayed up as a Bundesliga side since 1991–92. The club earned their first honours since winning the German Cup in 1972 with a victory in the 1997 UEFA Cup over Italian side Internazionale on penalties.

The turn of the millennium has seen much stronger performances from Schalke. During the 1990s and early 2000, the club underwent a successful transformation into a modern commercial sports organization and established itself as one of the dominant teams of the Bundesliga. Schalke captured consecutive German Cups in 2001–02, and earned second place finishes in the Bundesliga in 2001, 2005 and 2007. The 2001 finish was heartbreaking for supporters of Die Königsblauen as it took a goal in the 4th minute of injury time by Bayern away to Hamburg to snatch the title.


The last three years have been more successful for Schalke finishing second place in 2005, which lead to Schalke making its second appearance in the UEFA Champions League. There, Schalke finished in 3rd place during the group stage, with successful continuation in the UEFA Cup, where Schalke was eliminated by the eventual winner of the cup Sevilla in the semifinal. In 2006 Schalke finished in 4th place in the Bundesliga and a year later they once again finished as runners-up (for the 3rd time in 7 seasons). In 2007–08, Schalke managed to make it past the Champions League group stage for the first time in team history, then advanced to the quarter finals after beating Porto on penalties.

On 9 October 2006 Russian oil company Gazprom would become the club's new sponsor. The company expects to invest as much as €125 million in the club over a 5½ year period. Gazprom's sponsorship has been seen by some analysts as a politically motivated attempt to buy friendship in Germany. Within the sponsorship Schalke 04 and FC Zenit Saint Petersburg signed a partnership agreement. Both clubs intend to work closely on improving football-related issues.

On 13 April 2008 the club announced the dismissal of manager Mirko Slomka after a heavy defeat at the hands of Werder Bremen and elimination from the Champions League. Former players Mike Büskens and Youri Mulder were put in charge of the first team on an interim basis.

For the current Bundesliga season 2008–09, Schalke signed a new head coach, Fred Rutten, before that being the manager of the Dutch team Twente. He signed a contract running until June 2010. In March 2009 Rutten was sacked and once more Mike Buskens, Youri Mulder and Oliver Reck took over the helm until 1 July 2009, when Felix Magath who led VfL Wolfsburg to the top of the table in the Bundesliga, will become Head Coach and General Manager of the Royal Blues.


The Veltins-Arena
The club's stadium, known as the Veltins-Arenamarker under a sponsorship agreement with Veltins brewery, was completed in the summer of 2001 and has a capacity of 61,673 spectators. Schalke regularly draws sell-out crowds to what is widely regarded as one of the most modern and best multi-use facilities in Europe. The facility was previously known as the Arena AufSchalke and replaced the Parkstadionmarker (capacity 71,000) built in 1973. Prior to this the club had played its matches in the Glückauf-Kampfbahn constructed in 1928 with a capacity of 35,000. The facility was used for amateur matches during its latter years with a reduced capacity of just 5,000.

Club songs

"Blau und weiß, wie lieb ich Dich" (Blue and White How I Love You) and "Königsblauer S04" (Royal Blue S04) are the official club songs.

Popular unofficial songs are
  • "Oppa Pritschikowski",
  • "Wir sind Schalker",
  • "Keiner mag uns scheiß egal",
  • "Schalke ist die Macht".

A song has also been dedicated to Danish legend Ebbe Sand.


2002 German Cup trophy, damaged during celebrations of Schalke's victory.
German championship DFB-Pokal
  • Winners - 1937, 1972, 2001, 2002
  • Runners-up - 1935, 1936, 1941, 1942, 1955, 1969, 2005
  • Winners - 2005
  • Runners-up - 2001, 2002, 2007
UEFA Cup Fuji-Cup (unofficial tournament)
  • Winners - 1996
Coppa delle Alpi (Tournament of the Italian Association)
  • Winners - 1968
UEFA Intertoto Cup
  • Winners - 2003, 2004
2. Fußball-Bundesliga
  • Winners - 1982, 1991
Oberliga West
  • Winners - 1951, 1958
Western German football championship
  • Winners - 1929, 1930, 1932, 1933
  • Runners-up - 1927
  • Winners - 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1932, 1933
Gauliga Westfalen
  • Winners - 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1942, 1943, 1944
Westphalia Cup
  • Winners - 1943, 1944
  • Champions - 1924, 1925
Westdeutscher Kreisliga
  • Champions - 1925
Ruhrgau Champion of the Kreisligen
  • 1925
  • Champions - 1924, 1926
Gelsenkirchen Gauliga
  • Champions - 1926
  • Champions - 1921
  • Champions - 1920



Current squad

For recent transfers, see List of German football transfers summer 2009.

Out on loan

FC Schalke 04 II squad

As of 14 July 2009

Manager: Oliver Ruhnert

Notable former players

To celebrate the 100th birthday of the club, the supporters voted the Schalker Jahrhundertelf, the "Team of the century":


Most appearances
    Player Apps
1 Klaus Fichtel 477
2 Norbert Nigbur 355
3 Rolf Rüssmann 304
4 Klaus Fischer 295
5 Olaf Thon 295
6 Herbert Lütkebohmert 286
7 Gerald Asamoah 265*
8 Mike Büskens 257
9 Jiří Němec 256
10 Yves Eigenrauch 229

Top scorers
    Player Goals
1 Klaus Fischer 182
2 Ebbe Sand 74
3 Kevin Kurányi 59*
4 Olaf Thon 52
5 Erwin Kremers 50
6 Ingo Anderbrügge 46
7 Helmut Kremers 45
8 Rüdiger Abramczik 44
9 Gerald Asamoah 43*
10 Klaus Täuber 39
  • * = still playing for Schalke

Notable former managers

In popular culture

Schalke has been subject of a feature-length film called Fußball ist unser Leben (Football is our life), published in 1999. Uwe Ochsenknecht and Ralf Richter (both of whom were in Das Boot, where Schalke is briefly mentioned) played the main roles, and many persons associated with Schalke had cameo roles, such as manager Rudi Assauer, coaches Huub Stevens and Helmut Schulte, player Yves Eigenrauch or prominent fans like Manfred Breuckmann, Ulrich Potofski or DJ Hooligan.

Schalke was mentioned in the film Das Boot when the bosun told the crew in their ward room "I got bad news for you men. Schalke lost 5:0, looks like we won't be in the final this year!"

Former Personal

  • Erik Stoffelshaus (Team-Manager)
  • Jürgen Freiwald (Diagnostiker)
  • Gregor Zieleznik (Physiotherapeut)
  • Dr. Bernd Brexendorf (Team-Doctor)
  • Christian Frank (Ökotrophologen)
  • Rolf Rüssmann (Director of Sport) 25.02.1987 - 10.08.1987


  • Youri Mulder 13.04.2008 - 23.06.2009
  • Mike Büskens 01.04.2009 - 23.06.2009
  • Nestor El Maestro (Jevtic) 01.07.2006 - 13.04.2008
  • Mirko Slomka 04.10.2004 - 03.01.2006
  • Eddy Achterberg 01.07.2003 - 30.06.2005
  • Norbert Elgert 01.07.2002 - 26.03.2003
  • Holger Gehrke 01.07.2000 - 30.06.2002
  • Eddy Achterberg 01.07.1998 - 30.06.2000
  • Hubert Neu 01.11.1993 - 30.06.1999
  • Helmut Witte 01.07.1987 - 30.06.1989

Goalkeeper Coach

  • Oliver Reck 04.01.2006-23.06.2009
  • Holger Gehrke 01.07.1999 - 30.06.2000
  • Michael Stahl 01.07.1995 - 30.06.1998
  • Harald Schumacher 01.07.1992 - 30.06.1993

Conditions Coach

  • Christos Papadopoulos 01.07.2000 - 23.06.2009
  • Rouven Schirp 22.08.2006 - 23.06.2009
  • Elliot Paes Alves Junior 01.07.2007 - 04.01.2009
  • Rouven Schirp 22.08.2006 - 30.06.2009
  • Uwe Speidel 01.07.2003 - 15.09.2004

General Manager

Director of Youth Development

  • Helmut Schulte 01.07.1994 - 29.02.2008
  • Karl-Heinz „Charly“ Neumann † 50/51 - 76/77



External links

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