FC Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, commonly FC Schalke 04, is a German football club from the Schalke district of Gelsenkirchen, North Rhine-Westphalia. They are one of the most popular teams in Germant and are the second larest sports club in the nation. They had Pope John Paul II made an honoraray member in 1987 and win the UEFA Cup in 1997.
FC Schalke were established as Westfalia Schalke on May 4, 1904 by a group of high school students and initially played as one of the “wild associations” of German football. In 1912 they merged with the gymnastic club Schalker Turnverein 1877 but were reestablished as SV Westfalia Schalke in 1915. The duo came together again in 1919 as Turn- und Sportsverein Schalke 1877. They won their first honours in 1923 when they became the champions of the Schalke Kreisliga.
The two clubs got seperated in 1924 and now they took the name FC Schalke 04. They built their stadium, the Gluckauf-Kampfbahn in 1928 and rechristened themselves as FC Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04. They won their first Western German championship in 1929 and in 1933 after German football was re-organized they featured in the Gauliga Westfalen. Between 1933 and 1942, Schalke would appear in 14 out of 18 national finals.
They won their first title in 1934 and successfully defended their title the next season and over the next years dominated German football. They won the German championship again in 1958, their last national championship title to date.
Schalke featured in the inaugural German Bundesliga season in 1963-1964. In 1971 they were embroiled in a bribery scandal as investigation showed that they had deliberately lost theur match against Arminia Bielefeld on May 17,1971. Several of their players were banned for life.
In 1973 they moved to the Parkstadion and finished second in the Bundesliga in 1977. But then i the early 1980s they were trapped in crisis again as they suffered relegation to the second division. They recovered in the 1990s and won the UEFA Cup in 1997.
Schalke went onto win the German Cup in 2002 and finished second in the table in 2001,2005 and 2007. On October 9,2006 Russian oil company Gazprom became Schalke’s new sponsors.
FC Schalke play their home matches at the Veltins-Arena that has a capacity of 61,482. They bear the nicknames the Royal Blues and the Miners.