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Friedrich "Fritz" Szepan (2 September 1907 in Gelsenkirchenmarker – 14 December 1974 in Gelsenkirchen) was a Germanmarker footballer in the period leading up to and including World War II. He spent his entire career with Schalke 04 where he won six national championships and one German Cup. He is commonly regarded as one of the greatest Schalke players of all time. To celebrate the 100th birthday of the club, the supporters voted the Schalker Jahrhundertelf, the "Team of the century": he was included in the midfield. From 1929 to 1938 he played for the German national team which he led as captain in 30 matches and during two World Cups.


Fritz Szepan was born in 1907 in the industrial town of Gelsenkirchen, in a family that came to Gelsenkirchen from the East Prussian Kreis Neidenburg. He joined Schalke 04 as a youth player in 1916 and remained with the side until his retirement in 1950. He and his brother-in-law Ernst Kuzorra led Schalke during the era of the team's greatest success in the 30s when it was the dominant club in Germany. Together they established the famous "Schalker Kreisel" system that used short flat passes to overwhelm their opponent's defense.

Unlike Kuzorra, Szepan also had a successful international career. From 1929 to 1938 he played for the German national team which he led as captain in 30 matches and during two World Cups. In 1938, Szepan was named captain of the "Unified Germany" team shortly after the Anschluss.

After his retirement in 1950, Szepan remained active as coach for Wuppertaler SV, Schalke 04 and Rot-Weiß Essen, leading that club to the German championship in 1955. He served Schalke again as club president from 1964 to 1967. Fritz Szepan died on 14 December, 1974 in his hometown Gelsenkirchen. He also took over a business that was once owned by German Jews after the business was taken away from them by Nazi government officials. Szepen paid 7000 marks for the business which only covered the most minor of costs and is therefore seen as one of those who took advantage of Nazi crimes, and it is for this reason that many Germans outside of Schalke supporters do not see Szepen in the same light. For the same reason, Schalke refrained from naming a street near their stadium after him.


  • He and fellow Schalke star Ernst Kuzorra married sisters and thus became brothers-in-law.


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