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Schalke 04

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Schalke 04

Schalke 04
Full name Fußballclub Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04 e. V.
Nickname(s) Die Königsblauen (The Royal Blues)
Die Knappen (The Miners)
Founded 4 May 1904; 110 years ago (1904-05-04)
Ground Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen
Ground Capacity 61,973[1]
Executive Board Horst Heldt
Alexander Jobst
Peter Peters
Manager Jens Keller
League Bundesliga
2012–13 4th
Website Club home page
Home colours
Away colours
Third colours
Current season

Fußballclub Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04 e. V., commonly known as FC Schalke 04 (German: [ʔɛf t͡seː ˈʃalkə nʊl fiːɐ̯]), is a German association-football club originally from the Schalke district of Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia. 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. Schalke play in the Bundesliga, the top tier of the German football league system. The football team is the biggest part of a large sports club with 119,040 members (as of April 2013) making it the second largest sports club in Germany. Other activities offered by the club include basketball, handball, and track and field.

Schalke was founded in 1904. Schalke have won seven German championships, five DFB-Pokals, one DFL-Supercup, and one UEFA Cup.

Since 2001, Schalke's stadium is the Veltins-Arena. Schalke holds a long-standing rivalry with Ruhr neighbors Borussia Dortmund, arguably the most widespread and well-known rivalry in German football, and matches between the two teams are referred to as the Revierderby. In terms of revenue, Schalke is the third biggest sports club in Germany and the fourteenth biggest football club in the world, generating €174.5 million in 2012. The mascot of the club is called Erwin. Schalke's motto is "Wir leben dich" (English: "We live you").


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 in one of the "wild associations" of early German football. In 1912, after 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 "miners"– because the team drew so many of its players and supporters from the coalmine 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 kit from which their second nickname would derive – Die Königsblauen (English: The Royal Blues). 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 (English: spinning top; gyroscope). 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 renaming themselves FC Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04. They won their first West 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 to be 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 and they made 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.[2]

With the re-organisation 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 of today's DFB-Pokal) and win their league in every one of its eleven seasons.

The club never lost a home game in Gauliga Westfalen in all these eleven seasons and only lost six away games, while remaining entirely unbeaten in the seasons 1935–36, 1936–37, 1937–38, 1938–39, 1940–41 and 1942–43; a clear sign of the club's dominance.[3]

The championship years 1934–42

Schalke's first national title came in 1934 with a 2–1 victory over favourites 1. FC Nuremberg. The next year, they successfully 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 Wien, Rapid Wien, and First Vienna– which played in Germany's Gauliga Ostmark after Austria's incorporation into the Reich through the 1938 Anschluss.

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 Nuremberg in 1935. They also made failed appearances in the 1936, 1941, and 1942 finals with their only victory coming in 1937 against Fortuna Düsseldorf.

Over a dozen seasons, from 1933 to 1945, Schalke won 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 "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 Schalke 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 DFB-Pokal final, where they lost 2–3 to Karlsruher SC. The club's next, and to date last, German championship came in 1958, with a 3–0 victory over Hamburger SV.

Entry to the Bundesliga

Schalke continued to play well, delivering a number of top four finishes, in the years leading up to the 1963 formation of the Bundesliga, West Germany's new federal, professional league. 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 1964–65, they escaped relegation only through the expansion of the league to eighteen teams. A number of finishes at the lower end of the league table followed, before a marked improvement in 1971–72, culminating in a second place finish to FC Bayern Munich and after having led the league for much of the season. In the same season, Schalke won the DFB-Pokal 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 deliberately played to lose their 17 May, 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 possibly become one of the dominant German teams of the 1970s.

Crisis and recovery

In 1973, the club moved to the Parkstadion, newly built for the 1974 FIFA 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 1976–77, finishing just one point behind champions Borussia Mönchengladbach.

In the early 1980s Die Knappen ran into trouble and found themselves relegated to the second division of the Bundesliga for the 1981–82 season and, after promotion, again in 1983–84. They returned to the top flight in 1984 but slipped once more to the second tier in 1988. They returned to the Bundesliga in the 1991–92 season and have stayed in the top flight ever since.

The club earned their first honours since the DFB-Pokal win of 1972 with a victory in the final of the 1996–97 UEFA Cup over Italian side Internazionale on penalties. Coached by the Dutch coach Huub Stevens, the 1997 Schalke squad earned the nickname "Euro Fighters", which is still in use among fans. Stevens, who was widely unknown in Germany at the time, quickly earned himself a cult following among the Schalke supporters.

Stevens successfully implemented a system of rigid discipline, especially in the defense. His Motto Die Null muß stehen. (engl.: 'It has to read nil'), emphasizing the importance of not conceding any goals, has found its way into everyday language in Germany.

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 DFB-Pokals in 2000–01 and 2001–02, and earned second place finishes in the Bundesliga in 2000–01, 2004–05 and 2006–07. The 2000–01 season finish was heartbreaking for Schalke's supporters as it took a goal in the 4th minute of injury time by Bayern Munich away to Hamburg to snatch the title from Die Königsblauen.


The last few years have been more successful for Schalke, who finished in the second place in 2005, a result that led to Schalke making its second appearance in the UEFA Champions League. There, Schalke finished in third place during the group stage and continuing into the UEFA Cup, where they were eliminated by the eventual winners Sevilla in the semi-finals. In 2005–06, Schalke finished in fourth place in the Bundesliga and a year later they once again finished as runners-up for the third time in seven seasons.

In the 2007–08 season, Schalke progressed past the Champions League group stage for the first time and advanced to the quarter-finals after beating FC Porto on penalties in the round of 16. They were stopped by FC Barcelona in the quarter-finals, losing both home and away games 0–1.

On 9 October 2006, Russian oil company Gazprom became the club's new sponsor. The company stated it expects to invest as much as €125 million in the club over a five-and-a-half year period.[4] Gazprom's sponsorship has been seen by some analysts as a politically motivated attempt to buy friendship in Germany.[5] Within this sponsorship, Schalke 04 and 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 2008–09 Bundesliga season, Schalke signed a new head coach, Fred Rutten, previously the manager of Dutch team FC Twente. Rutten signed a contract running until June 2010.[6] In March 2009, Rutten was sacked and, once more, Mike Büskens, Youri Mulder and Oliver Reck took over the helm.

On 1 July 2009, Felix Magath, who had led VfL Wolfsburg to the top of the table in the Bundesliga, became Head Coach and General Manager of the Königsblauen. The appointment of Magath as manager coincided with a multi-million euro spending spree, allowing Schalke to acquire internationally-known forwards Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Raúl. Magath's tenure at the club was initially successful, seeing the side score a glut of goals in the first few months of the season, though defensive frailties and Magath's questionable squad selection had made him unpopular with Schalke supporters by December 2010. On 16 March 2011, Magath was sacked and replaced with Ralf Rangnick, who previously, between 2004 and 2005, had a brief spell being in charge of the team. Within just weeks of his appointment, Rangnick masterminded a 5–2 victory over Italian club Internazionale at the San Siro during the quarter-finals of the Champions League. Schalke advanced to the semi-final where they lost 2–0 to Manchester United in the first leg and 4–1 in the second leg.[7]

On 22 September 2011, Ralf Rangnick announced his immediate resignation as head coach of Schalke 04 due to long-term exhaustion.[8] Assistant coach Seppo Eichkorn coached the team as Interim Manager until the appointment of Huub Stevens on 27 September 2011. Stevens' contract is to run until 30 June 2013.[9]

Despite having legendary status among Schalke supporters, Stevens' return to Schalke was met with some scepticism as fans feared that Stevens, who coached Schalke to the 1997 UEFA Cup win with a rigidly defensive system, could ditch Rangnicks system of attacking play in favour of returning to the 1997 defensive antics.[10] The doubts of the supporters proved unfounded. Although Schalke played a somewhat inconsistent season, they reached third place in the Bundesliga and therefore direct qualification for the UEFA Champions League.

Schalke had an excellent start to the 2012–13 Bundesliga season, and worked their way to second place in the league by November, just behind Bayern Munich. On 20 October, Schalke traveled to Borussia Dortmund for Matchday 8, and were able to defeat the home side 2–1 to secure their first league Revierderby win since February 2010.

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 pos:(350,150) fontsize:12 text:FC Schalke 04 1963-today


Schalke's stadium, known as the Veltins-Arena 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 Parkstadion (capacity of 62,000) 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") is the official club song.

Popular unofficial chants are

  • Blau und Weiß ein Leben lang ("Blue and white a life-long"),
  • Der Mythos vom Schalker Markt ("The Myth of the Schalke Market"),
  • Opa Pritschikowski ("Grandpa Pritschikowski"),
  • Königsblauer S04 ("Royal Blue S04"),
  • Wir sind Schalker ("We are Schalke"),
  • Schalke ist die Macht ("Schalke is the Power"), and
  • Steht auf, wenn ihr Schalker seid ("Stand up if you're Schalke"), sung to the melody of "Go West" by the Pet Shop Boys (itself a cover of a Village People song).



Fußball-Bundesliga/German Championship

DFB-Pokal/German Cup

DFB-Ligapokal/German League Cup

  • Winners (1): 2005
  • Runners-up (3): 2001, 2002, 2007

DFL-Supercup/German Super Cup

  • Winners (1): 2011

2. Bundesliga

Western German football championship

Gauliga Westfalen/West German League

Oberliga West/West German Championship

Westphalia Cup/West German Cup

  • Winners (2): 1943, 1944


UEFA Europa League

UEFA Intertoto Cup

Coppa delle Alpi

UEFA Champions League Runners-Up (1) : Semi Final 2011


Under 19 Bundesliga

  • Winners (3): 1976, 2006, 2012
  • Runners-up (3): 1975, 1980, 1981

Under 17 Bundesliga

  • Winners (2): 1978, 2002
  • Runners-up (2): 1977, 1980

Under 19 Bundesliga West

  • Winners (2): 2006, 2012


Current squad

As of 23 October 2013.[11]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 Germany GK Ralf Fährmann
2 Germany DF Tim Hoogland
4 Germany DF Benedikt Höwedes (captain)
5 Brazil DF Felipe Santana
6 Bosnia and Herzegovina DF Sead Kolašinac
7 Germany MF Max Meyer
8 Germany MF Leon Goretzka
9 Ghana MF Kevin-Prince Boateng
10 Germany MF Julian Draxler
11 Germany MF Christian Clemens
12 Germany MF Marco Höger
13 United States MF Jermaine Jones
14 Greece DF Kyriakos Papadopoulos
15 Germany MF Dennis Aogo (on loan from Hamburger SV)
No. Position Player
17 Peru MF Jefferson Farfán
19 Nigeria FW Chinedu Obasi
22 Japan DF Atsuto Uchida
23 Austria DF Christian Fuchs
24 Turkey DF Kaan Ayhan
25 Netherlands FW Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
28 Hungary FW Ádám Szalai
32 Cameroon DF Joël Matip
30 Germany MF René Klingenburg
33 Germany MF Roman Neustädter
34 Germany GK Timo Hildebrand (vice-captain)
36 Germany GK Lars Unnerstall
40 Ghana MF Anthony Annan

Players out on loan

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Switzerland MF Tranquillo Barnetta (at Eintracht Frankfurt until 30 June 2014)
Germany FW Philipp Hofmann (at FC Ingolstadt 04 until 30 June 2015)

Reserve team

Main article: FC Schalke 04 II

Notable former players

Further information: Category:FC Schalke 04 players

To celebrate the 100th birthday of the club, the supporters voted for Schalker Jahrhundertelf, the "Team of the Century":[12]

Note: Flags indicate national team as has been defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
Germany GK Norbert Nigbur
Germany DF Klaus Fichtel
Germany DF Rolf Rüssmann
Germany DF Olaf Thon
Belgium MF Marc Wilmots
Germany MF Fritz Szepan
Germany Ebbe Sand
Spain Raúl
Germany GK Jens Lehmann
Germany GK Manuel Neuer
Germany MF Mesut Özil
Netherlands Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
No. Position Player
Germany MF Ernst Kuzorra
Germany MF Ingo Anderbrügge
Germany FW Reinhard Libuda
Germany FW Klaus Fischer
Germany FW Rüdiger Abramczik
Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia GK Dragan Mutibarić
Denmark Peter Løvenkrands



In popular culture

Schalke has been subject of a feature-length film called Fußball ist unser Leben ("Football is our life"), shown in 1999. Actors Uwe Ochsenknecht and Ralf Richter, both of whom were in the award-winning film Das Boot played the main roles, while many persons associated with Schalke had cameo roles, such as manager Rudi Assauer, coaches Huub Stevens and Helmut Schulte, and player Yves Eigenrauch. Also featured were prominent fans like Manfred Breuckmann, Ulrich Potofski or DJ Hooligan.[13] The film is a comedy about "Hans", a Schalke fanatic, and his three pals who somehow get involved in kidnapping and trying to bring back to form the team's new star player "Di Ospeo" and in the process bet Hans' house that their idol will score in the final game.[13] Some critics considered Football is our life to be "one of the worst German comedies ever."[13]

"Schalke" is mentioned in the film Das Boot when the bosun tells 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."


External links

  • (English) (German) (Russian)
  • Facebook
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  • UEFA
Preceded by
Bayern Munich
Succeeded by

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