For many Schalke supporters, the Glückauf-Kampfbahn will always be the club’s true home. Built up from the ground by the player’s themselves on the grounds of a mine in the 1920s, the stadium still epitomises the “old Schalke” - the miners’ club that was dismissed as “working class” by the functionaries of other clubs from big cities nearby, but still went on to bring six titles to the Ruhr in the 1930s and 40s.
Although it only had a capacity of 35,000, there were times when 70,000 people came to the Glückauf-Kampfbahn to watch the action. One such example was when Schalke won 1-0 in a “friendly” against Fortuna Düsseldorf in 1931 – the first time that the original team was allowed to play together since the club was banned by the league for exceeding the salary limit for players. All of Schalke’s German titles were won while the team played their games at the Glückauf-Kampfbahn. It’s a name that will always be associated with the “Schalker Kreisel” – the name given to them as a tribute to the team’s famous playing style.
With the move to the Parkstadion in 1973, the glory days at the Glückauf-Kampfbahn came to an end. After the last Bundesliga game was played there against HSV in 1973, it was only ever used for amateur and youth games. The slowly deteriorated. The idea of founding a football museum at the Glückauf-Kampfbahn was never realised due to a lack of funds, and so at the end of the 1980s the stands were removed and replaced with earthen banks in the same shape, with the exception of the main stand.
For the occasion of the 2006 World Cup, the Glückauf-Kampfbahn was partially renovated and opened for huge public viewings. Subsequently, an artificial pitch was built on the main playing field. Since then, the glory days return once a year. In games against good friends like 1. FC Nürnberg or FC Twente, the best that the Royal Blues’ academy have to offer show off their skills in one-off friendlies.