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FC Schalke 04

FC Schalke 04 is a football (soccer) club from Germany.

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About FC Schalke 04

Fußball-Club Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, commonly known as simply FC Schalke 04 or Schalke , is a Football in Germany 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. The football team is the biggest part of a large sports club with more than 100,000 members (August 2011) making it the second largest sports club in Germany. Other activities offered by the club include basketball, team handball, and track and field.

Schalke won its first major European trophy in 1997 by defeating in the final F.C. Internazionale Milano on penalty kicks for the UEFA Cup. Schalke holds a long-standing rivalry with Borussia Dortmund, and matches between the two teams are referred to as the Revierderby. 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 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 uniforms from which their second nickname would derive – Die Königsblauen . The following year, the club became the dominant local side, on the basis of 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 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.

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 Tschammer-Pokal, 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.

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 –VfB Admira Wacker Mödling, SK Rapid Wien, and First Vienna FC– 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 Nūrnberg in 1935. They also made failed appearances in the 1936, 1941, and 1942 finals with their only Cup 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 Nazism 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 2nd_Oberliga_West Overview, 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 German Cup final, where they lost 2–3 to Karlsruher SC. The club's next German championship came in German football championship 1958, with a 3–0 victory over Hamburger SV.

This is Schalke's last national-championship title to date.

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 Fußball-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 1965, they escaped relegation only through the expansion of the league to eighteen teams. A number of finishes at the lower ends the league table followed, before a marked improvement in 1972, 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 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 Sport_corruption as part of the widespread Bundesliga scandal (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, Reinhard Libuda and Klaus Fichtel— who were with the Germany national football 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 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. Fußball-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 German Cup win of 1972 with a victory in the final of the 1997 UEFA Cup over Italian side F.C. Internazionale Milano 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 Fußball-Bundesliga 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.


In the UEFA Champions League 2007-08 season, Schalke progressed past the UEFA Champions League group stage for the first time and advanced to the quarter finals after winning the round FC Porto on penalties. 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 would become the club's new sponsor. The company stated it 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 this 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 SV Werder Bremen and elimination from the UEFA Champions League 2007-08. Former players Mike Büskens and Youri Mulder were put in charge of the first team on an interim basis.

For the 2008–09 Fußball-Bundesliga, Schalke signed a new head coach, Fred Rutten, previously the manager of Dutch team FC Twente. Rutten signed a contract running until June 2010. 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 Royal Blues. 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 Inter Milan at the San Siro during the 2010–11 UEFA Champions League knockout phase of the Champions League. Schalke advanced to the semifinals where they lost 2–0 to Manchester United in the first leg and 4–1 in the second leg.

On 22 September 2011, Ralf Rangnick announced his immediate resignation as Head Coach of Schalke 04 due to Burnout (psychology). 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.


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 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") and Königsblauer S04 ("Royal Blue S04") are the official club songs.

Popular, unofficial football chants are
- Ein Leben lang, Blau und Weiß ein Leben lang ("a life-long, blue and white a life-long"),
- Opa Pritschikowski ("Grandpa Pritschikowski"),
- 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 (song)" of the Pet Shop Boys (itself a cover of a Village People song).


German football champions
- Winners – 1934, 1935, 1937, 1939, 1940, 1942, German football championship 1958
- Runners-up – 1933, 1938, 1941, Fußball-Bundesliga 1971–72, Fußball-Bundesliga 1976–77, Fußball-Bundesliga 2000–01, Fußball-Bundesliga 2004–05, Fußball-Bundesliga 2006–07, 2009–10 Fußball-Bundesliga
- Winners – 1937 Tschammerpokal, 1971–72 DFB-Pokal, 2000–01 DFB-Pokal, 2001–02 DFB-Pokal, 2010–11 DFB-Pokal
- Runners-up – 1935 Tschammerpokal, 1936 Tschammerpokal, 1941 Tschammerpokal, 1942 Tschammerpokal, 1954–55 DFB-Pokal, 1968–69 DFB-Pokal, 2004–05 DFB-Pokal
German Supercup
- Winners – 2011 DFL-Supercup
- Runners-up – 1940, 2010 DFL-Supercup
- Winners – 2005
- Runners-up – 2001, 2002, 2007
- Winners – 1997 UEFA Cup Final
UEFA Intertoto Cup
- Winners – 2003, 2004
2. Fußball-Bundesliga
- Winners – 1982, 1991
Fuji-Cup (unofficial tournament)
- Winners – 1996
Coppa delle Alpi (Tournament of the Italian Association)
- Winners – 1968
Oberliga West (1947-63)
- Winners – 1951, 1958
Western German football cup
- Winners – 1955
Western German football championship
- Winners – 1929, 1930, 1932, 1933
- Runners-up – 1927
Ruhrbezirk Championship
- 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


- German Under 19 championship (football)
- - Champions: 1976, 2006
- - Runners-up: 1975, 1980, 1981
- German Under 17 championship (football)
- - Champions: 1978, 2002
- - Runners-up: 1977, 1980
- Under 19 Bundesliga (football)
- - Champions: 2005


For recent transfers, see List of German football transfers summer 2011 and List of German football transfers winter 2011–12.
Manager: Horst Heldt

Coach: Huub Stevens

Players out on loan

FC Schalke 04 U23 squad

Manager: Bernhard Trares

Notable former players

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


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 (actor), both of whom were in the award-winning film Das Boot, where Schalke is briefly mentioned, 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. 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. Some critics considered Football is our life to be "one of the worst German comedies ever."

"Schalke" is mentioned in the film Das Boot when the Boatswain 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."

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