Football Club Gelsenkirchen-Schalke 04, more commonly known as Schalke, was founded by a group of school students in May 1904. At the time, the club was called Westfalia Schalke. In 1912 the club merged with the Schalker Turnverein 1877 gymnastics club in order to gain entry into the German league. Traditionally one of the best-supported clubs in Germany, Schalke maintain a rivalry with Borussia Dortmund, which is known as the Revierderby.
In 1924, Schalke broke away from Schalker Turnverein 1877 and adopted the name Schalke 04. In 1932 the club reached the semi-finals of the German championship and in 1933 they went one better, reaching the final. The rise of the Nazi Party saw football restructured and Schalke were placed in the Gauliga Westfalen.
It was during the 1930s and 1940s that the club enjoyed its most successful period. In fact, the club became dominant, winning league titles in 1933–34, 1934–35, 1936–37, 1938–39, 1939–40 and 1941–42. The team's success is further demonstrated by the fact that they did not lose a home match for eleven years and between 1933 and 1945 the team won 162 matches and only lost six times. But for a league title win in 1957–58, the post-war years have been far less successful, with the club sinking to the second division on multiple occasions. However, Schalke did win the UEFA Cup in 1997 and the DFB Cup in 1972, 2001, 2002 and 2011. Since the turn of the millennium, the club has consistently challenged for the title, finishing as runners up in 2000–01, 2004–05, 2006–07 and 2009–10.
Legendary former Schalke players include Klaus Fichtel, Rolf Rüssmann, Norbert Nigbur, Klaus Fischer and Raúl.
The club plays its home matches at the Veltins-Arena, originally known as the Arena AufSchalke, which opened in 2001. The ground has a capacity of 61,673 for league matches and hosted the 2004 Champions League final.