These FSF guides are intended to offer a quick snapshot of advice and info for fans ahead of their trips to Europe - if you have any specific questions about the city, how to get there, where to stay or anything else then simply email us your questions. Through our extensive network of contacts at Football Supporters Europe and experience of travelling across Europe ourselves, we will be able to answer just about any query you have.
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 adapted.
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.
Schalke defeated Italian giants Inter Milan at the San Siro. The German side saw off Milan comfortably with a 5-2 win in the first leg, and a 2-1 win the second.
The club was formed in 1904 by a group of youths from the district. They were originally named Wesfalia Schalke and used to play in red and yellow colours. In 1924, The team was renamed FC Schalke 04, and the kit was changed to Blue and White.
Their most successful spell was between 1934-1942 where they won various titles, and dominated German football. Since then, the clubs success hasn't been as good, but they still remain one of the most supported clubs in Germany.
The club have been crowned German champions 7 times in a period between 1933-1958. They were runners up in the 2007 league campaign. They won the UEFA cup in 1997, and the Intertoto cup in 2003 and 2004. Schalke were 3 times league cup finalists, winning it once in 2005.
They are also 4 times German Cup winners. The last trophy they won was in 2007. They also reached the quarter finals of the Champions League in 2008, but were knocked out by Spanish giants Barcelona.
About the Ground
Veltins Arena, (Arena Auf Schalke) is the stadium for FC Schalke 04. It opened in August 2001 and has a capacity of 61,027. This includes a standing area of 16,214. It is a high tech stadium, with a retractable roof, that cost € 192 million to build. Tours can also be arranged on a non match day. Fans can also visit the Schalke FC museum at the ground.
The stadium is located approximately 7km North of the City Centre. The best way to get there is by taking the number 302 tram which takes you within walking distance of the stadium.
Cash isn't accepted in the stadium other than on a 'Knappen Card.' These are priced at 10, 20 or 50 Euros. This card can be used to buy food, drink and souvenirs. This card system provides a quicker services and saves time queuing. A refund is given for any money that is left on the card at the end of the game.
Gelsenkirchen is an industrial town situated as part of 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 300,000 people. It offers visitors various restaurants, bars and clubs, which is perfect for travelling football fans because everything is there that they want. Schalke's ground is situated about 7km away so fans can use the trams to travel to the ground.
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 animal 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 if you want to visit Schloss Berge Castle. Most of the city can be covered by foot. There is a tram system in Gelsenkirchen that is very efficient, and run quite regularly. You can catch the number 302 tram, which will take you to the stadium.
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. Its 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.
Drinking in the streets is tolerated but excessive drinking will not be tolerated in public places.
There are lots of restaurants in the area. The Hibernia is a reasonably priced German restaurant, which serves local food and beer. Oisin kelly Gallery serves typical bar food for those wanting a taste of UK food.