Chelsea fans' guide to Schalke

While our International Ground Guide is undergoing some maintenance, we thought we'd provide our usual service of advice and information for travelling supporters in brief blog form.

Once up and running again our ground guide will cover all manner of information from travel options to hotel advice, eating and drinking suggestions to practical tips on getting around, along with safety and security advice and anything else we think will be of use to travelling supporters. 

In the meantime, while the below might not necessarily have all the information you'll be after if you're heading out to Germany, we're always available to help - just drop us an email if you have any questions.

We'll do our best to find out what you need to know, either from our own vast experience in covering England and Wales games abroad, or from our friends at Football Supporters Europe.

As with all of our guides, if there is anything missing from the following pages that you need to know then feel free to drop us an email and we'll do our best to find it out for you.

The Team

Originally called Westfalia Schalke, the club was founded in 1904 by a group of football enthusiasts from the district. In 1924, the name was changed to Schalke and the familiar Blue and White kit was adopted. Their most successful spell was between 1934-1942 where they dominated German football. They are one of the most supported clubs in Germany.

In 2008, the royal blues marched to the quarter finals of the Champions League, where they were knocked out by Spanish side Barcelona.

The Stadium

The Veltins Arena is situated to the north of the City, close to the A2 Autobahn, 7km from the City centre. The number 301/302 tram will get you to the ground.

It hosted 5 games at the 2006 World Cup, including England's defeat against Portugal on penalties, as well as the 2004 Champions League final. At just under 54,000 seats is one of the biggest stadiums in Germany (its capacity rises to more than 61,000 when using safe standing configurations allowed in the Bundesliga).

The City

Gelsenkirchen is an industrial town situated in the Ruhr area in Nord Rhein Weitfalen. It was a small village till the middle of the 19th Century when it was transformed by the industrial revolution. It is famous for its coal mines, and was nicknamed the city of a thousand fires. It was the most important coal mining area in Europe in the early 20th Century.

Gelsenkirchen has a population of around 300,000 people. There are few tourist attractions in and around Gelsenkirchen. Luttinhoff house is the oldest historic monument in the town. It was first documented in 1308. It is situated inside 300 year old woodland.

Similarly, you could visit Schloss Berge Castle. It is a classic period building, which was modernised in 1700. The lake, castle and park have become popular with visitors, and is a far cry from Gelsenkirchen's industrial feel. The zoom park is also nearby for visitors who like more laid back tourism. It is home to over 500 different animals of 100 species. This attraction is reasonably priced with an adult ticket costing around 13 Euros.

Stadium tours can also be arranged on a non match day. Fans can also visit the Schalke FC museum at the ground. This costs 4 Euros.

You wont need to use public transport until you travel to the ground, or unless you want to visit Schloss Berge Castle.  Most of the city can be covered on foot.

Eating and Drinking

There are few good bars in Gelsenkirchen. Oisin Kelly Gallery is an Irish Bar situated on Brinkgartenstrasse 25. Its open from 6pm till the early hours of the morning everyday. It's a typical Irish pub which provides bar food and Guinness.

The main drinking area is the Northern Part of the city in the Buer District. There are plenty of bars and clubs in this area. The nearby town of Bochum has a pub mile known locally as the Bermuda triangle. This has lots of restaurants, pubs and clubs. The Hibernia is a reasonably priced German restaurant, which serves local food and beer.

Drinking in the streets is tolerated but excessive drinking will not be tolerated in public places.