In Profile: FC Schalke

By SFC Media Fri 25 May
Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images

Learn more about German Bundesliga side FC Schalke, Southampton’s first pre-season opponents during their training camp in China...

WHERE DO THEY PLAY?

The Veltins Arena became FC Schalke’s home in 2001, after they made the decision to move away from Parkstadion in 1998.

Located in the city of Gelsenkirchen, the modern stadium has a capacity of 62,271. It is equipped with a retractable roof and the pitch can slide in and out of the stadium to preserve the surface. There is also a chapel within the arena.

It hosted four group games during the 2006 World Cup as well as a quarter-final, with other sporting events also utilising it.

HOW DID THEY DO LAST SEASON?

Schalke guaranteed themselves second place for the first time since 2009/10 and a return to the UEFA Champions League with a 2-1 win over Saints’ pre-season opponents last summer FC Augsburg on the penultimate weekend of the season.

WHO IS THEIR MANAGER?

Domenico Tedesco on the touchline against Eintracht Frankfurt on the final day

It has been somewhat of a meteoric rise for Schalke boss Domenico Tedesco in the past year. Just 13 months ago, the 32-year-old was working as Hoffenheim’s Under-19 coach, while their manager Julian Nagelsmann was drawing plaudits.

The two had completed their coaching badges at the same time, with Tedesco finishing as top student in the class of 2016 at Germany’s coaching academy.

In March 2007, Tedesco was appointed as manager at Erzgebire Aue, who sat bottom of the Bundesliga 2, five points adrift of safety with 11 games to play. Six wins and just three defeats followed to secure safety.

That prompted to Schalke to swoop for his services, despite not being proven at the top level and the Gelsenkirchen club haven’t looked back, finishing second only to Bayern Munich.

WHO ARE THE PLAYERS TO LOOK OUT FOR?

Revitalised under Domenico Tedesco, 35-year-old Naldo enjoyed his best Bundesliga season in 2017/18. He was one of just four outfield players to every minute in the league.

His performances at the heart of a three-man defence made him indispensable, with only seven players in the division winning more individual duels and seven goals, including a late leveller in a 4-4 draw against rivals Dortmund, making him the top-scoring defender.

Brazilian defender Naldo celebrates his late leveller against Dortmund

Elsewhere, young USA international Weston McKennie has also made a significant impact aged just 19. A tough-tackling defensive midfielder, he made 21 appearances despite fierce competition and scored on his debut for USA in November 2017.

DID YOU KNOW?

- Goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann kept the most clean sheets and saved over 72 per cent of the shots he faced in the 2017/18 Bundesliga to help Schalke to the third-best defensive record in the Bundesliga (37 goals conceded), behind Bayern (28) and VfB Stuttgart (36). He also kept out three of six penalties.

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