The Return of the Parkstadion
FC Schalke last played a game at the Parkstadion in 2001 (the infamous game where they thought they had won the title before Bayern Munich scored and secured the Meisterschale ). From then on they have played at the Veltins Arena (initially called the ArenaaufSchalke) constructed next to their former iconic home. For years the Parkstadion, built for the 1974 World Cup, was unused and unloved. indeed it became a bit of an eyesore compared to their brand new stadium. However a programme of renovation has been undertaken and the stadium is now fit again to be used. The plan is for the Schalke U19 and U23 teams to use it as their home ground. Both have spent years playing at smaller grounds elsewhere in the Ruhr, but can now return to proper “home” territory. Having once had a capacity of over 70,000 the numbers allowed in to the reconfigured Parkstadion will be a much more modest 3,000. However the emotional significance of playing there should give the juniors an added boost. Schalke were to have played a game against Zenit St Petersburg to inaugurate the stadium at the end of March, but the game was postponed due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The hope now is that some of the first team’s pre-season friendlies can take place there and that a small a number of fans may even be allowed into these Testspiele .