Schalke’s Bundesliga agony: Champions for 4 minutes & 38 seconds

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A distraught Schalke fan realises - they have not won the title
Schalke were champions for four minutes and 38 seconds. It was agony

It had to be there, at the Parkstadion. Schalke’s old ground had always been a place of drama and scandal. Its final act was no different.

For 38 years it was home. It had seen many crucial games, it had seen relegation to the second tier. There were times when “there wasn’t enough money for washing powder”, as Charly Neumann, long-standing team official and soul of the club, once said. There were times when paper beer cups filled with rainwater on the crumbling, never-ending steps below the high-rise floodlight masts.

On one block, the ‘Nordkurve’, a wild part of the stadium, stood ‘the Wren’, a man with a grey beard and long hair. “I always stood there,” he said. “Beside me children grew up. Then they stood with their own children.”

The final match played at the old Parkstadion was one of the most dramatic in German football history.

For Schalke fans, that afternoon will be discussed forever; their life stories…