Football Features

What happened next? Schalke’s 2011 German Cup winners

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 18:15, 22 March 2021

Schalke are on their way out of the Bundesliga, a long fall for one of Germany’s most recognisable clubs. 

It’s been a sudden fall for Die Konigsblauen who finished second in the Bundesliga as recently as 2017/18, reaching the Champions League last-16 the following season. Aside from that, it’s been almost 10 years since their most recent major trophy, and what appears to be their past for some time.

There have been many emphatic DFB-Pokal final wins before. None more so than Schalke’s in 2011, as their cup performances that season overshadowed their wretched Bundesliga form. Schalke finished 14th, but reached the Champions League semi-final and, of course, beat second division side MSV Duisburg 5-0 in the German final.

It was the first time any club had won the cup final by a five-goal (or more) margin since 1972, when Schalke thrashed Kaiserslautern. Their cup success owed much to a talented side coached well by Ralf Ragnick.

But who was in that side? And what happened next in their careers? We had a look.

Starters:

Manuel Neuer

Age: 34
Position: Goalkeeper
Schalke appearances: 203
Schalke goals: 0
Career path: Schalke, Bayern Munich.

Manuel Neuer was Germany’s young (for a goalkeeper) phenom back in 2011, aged 25 when the DFB-Pokal final took place. He captained them to cup glory in what turned out to be his last match for the club before joining Bayern Munich, where he’s been ever since and managed to win just about every major honour with club and country there is (only the European Championships still eludes him).

Benedikt Howedes

Age: 33
Position: Defender
Schalke appearances: 335
Schalke goals: 23
Career path: Schalke, Juventus, Lokomotiv Moscow
Retired in: 2020

Howedes was a defender whose versatility and quality was key to the German side’s cup runs. In the 2011 showpiece he scored his side’s third goal with a towering header from close range, overpowering David Yelldell in the Duisburg goal. He stayed in Gelsenkirchen for a good few years afterwards, before a one-year loan stay in Italy netted him a Serie A winner’s medal with Juventus. He’s now retired, having spent two years in Russia following his Schalke departure.

Kyriakos Papadopoulos

Age: 29
Position: Centre-back
Schalke appearances: 97
Schalke goals: 7
Career path: Olympiacos, Schalke, Bayer Leverkusen, RB Leipzig, Hamburger SV, Lokomotiva Zagreb

Papadopoulos was just 18 years old back in 2011 but had been playing professionally since the age of 15. He should have been the next big thing, but injuries had other ideas. Since leaving Schalke he’s flitted around the Bundesliga, making precious little impact as he did as a bulldozing teenage sensation, and recently joined Croatian club Lokomotiva Zagreb.

Hans Sarpei

Age: 44
Position: Full-back
Schalke appearances: 17
Schalke goals: 1
Career path: Fortuna Koln, MSV Duisburg, Wolfsburg, Bayer Leverkusen, Schalke
Retired in: 2012

Sarpei was another veteran in the last gasps of a career that had taken him all around the Bundesliga, including a spell at that day’s opponents Duisburg. Sarpei played one more season at Schalke before retiring.

Jefferson Farfan

Age: 36
Position: Winger
Schalke appearances: 228
Schalke goals: 53
Career path: Allianza Lima, PSV, Schalke, Al Jazira, Lokomotiv Moscow

The Peruvian wingers was perhaps at the height of his powers in 2011 and the first half in particular was basically the Jefferson Farfan show. The winger set up all three of Schalke’s first goals in very different ways, first a through-ball for the opener, then a low cross for the second and a well-taken corner for the third. He played for Schalke until 2015 and after a brief spell in Abu Dhabi he settled in Moscow where he was joined at Lokomotiv by Howedes – the man he set-up in that final – a year later. Farfan left Lokomotiv last summer but is yet to find a new club.

Peer Kluge

Age: 40
Position: Defensive midfielder
Schalke appearances: 52
Schalke goals: 1
Career path: Chemnitzer, Borussia Monchengladbach, FC Nurnberg, Schalke, Hertha, Arminia Bielefeld
Retired in: 2015

Kluge was a solid and stable presence at the heart of the Schalke midfield before a bevy of bright attacking talent. The 2010/11 season was his last as a starter, and he moved down the divisions after – first to Berlin then to Bielefeld.

José Manuel Jurado

Age: 34
Position: Central midfielder
Schalke appearances: 72
Schalke goals: 1
Career path: Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid, Mallorca, Schalke, Spartak Moscow, Watford, Espanyol, Ah-Ahli, Changchun Yatai, Cadiz

The ultimate journeyman, Jurado had struggled to establish himself in Spain and when Raul joined Schalke, Jurado came along for the ride. The playmaker did well in midfield and bagged Schalke’s fourth goal with a smooth run and finish. Since then he’s moved all around the world, from Russia to England to Saudi Arabia to China and finally back to Spain with Cadiz where he remained for a season.

Julian Draxler

Age: 27
Position: Winger
Schalke appearances: 170
Schalke goals: 30
Career path: Schalke, Wolfsburg, PSG

If you thought Papadopoulos was young, Draxler was in his debut season and just 16 years old. The German prodigy looked like a world-conqueror in the making as he scored Schalke’s opening goal with a rasping drive. However he stayed at Schalke too long, then made a poor move when he did leave (to Wolfsburg). Joining PSG in January 2017 looked like it could be fairly smart, but then they signed Neymar six months later and suddenly he found himself a squad player having to fill in wherever he could to get minutes.

Raúl

Age: 43
Position: Striker
Schalke appearances: 98
Schalke goals: 40
Career path: Real Madrid, Schalke, Al Sadd, New York Cosmos
Retired in: 2015

Mr. Real Madrid and, for a great many years, Mr. Champions League, was forced out of the Santiago Bernabeu by José Mourinho, and he landed in Schalke where he brought instant credibility and goal threat. He didn’t score in the final but maintained close to a 1:2 goalscoring ratio during his time in Germany. After leaving Schalke, he spent a couple of years in Qatar and then a year with the historic but mostly terrible New York Cosmos.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar

Age: 37
Position: Striker
Schalke appearances: 242
Schalke goals: 126
Career path: PSV, De Graafschap, AGOVV, Heerenveen, Ajax, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Schalke, Ajax, Schalke

Huntelaar’s real magic in Gelsenkirchen didn’t come until 2011/12 (when he scored 48 goals) but his debut season was the one that ended in a trophy as the Dutchman scored twice in the final. Huntelaar stayed at Schalke until 2017 when he returned to Ajax but he is back in Gelsenkirchen for a final swan song before retiring this summer.

Subs:

Sergio Escudero

Age: 31
Position: Left-back
Schalke appearances: 22
Schalke goals: 0
Career path: Murcia, Schalke, Getafe, Sevilla

Escudero was part of the Spanish wave that joined Schalke in 2010/11, but unlike Raul and Jurado he barely featured (he came off the bench for an injured Sarpei in the final). Was back on loan in La Liga by 2012/13 and joined permanently the next season. Since his move to Sevilla in 2015, where he took his game to the next level under Unai Emery, he has won the Europa League.

Atsuto Uchida

Age: 32
Position: Right-back
Schalke appearances: 153
Schalke goals: 2
Career path: Kashima Antlers, Schalke, Union Berlin, Kashima Antlers
Retired in: 2020

Uchida had been a regular starter for the majority of the season but in the cup final he managed just nine minutes off the bench. Still, he went on to make over 150 appearances for Schalke before dropping down to play a season for Union Berlin. After that he returned to the J1 League to play for Kashima Antlers again before retiring last summer.

Joel Matip

Age: 29
Position: Centre-back
Schalke appearances: 258
Schalke goals: 23
Career path: Schalke, Liverpool

Matip was one of Schalke’s young prospects who came off the bench late into the final. After years of consistent excellence in Germany he left on a free transfer to join Liverpool, where he helped them win the Champions League and Premier League.

Unused Subs:

Edu

Age: 39
Position: Striker
Schalke appearances: 57
Schalke goals: 7
Career path: Bochum, Mainz, Suwon Bluewings, Schalke, Besiktas, Greuther Furth, Liaoning Whowin, FC Tokyo, Jeonbuk Hyundai, Heibei China Fortune, Jeonbuk Hyundai
Retired in: 2018

A true journeyman for whom the 2010/11 season was his only one as a starter for Schalke. He has since pitched up at a whole host of clubs, most recently moving around the Far East, having the most success in Korea where he has twice won the K-League and even the AFC Champions League with Jeonbuk Hyundai.

Mario Gavranovic

Age: 31
Position: Forward
Schalke appearances: 14
Schalke goals: 4
Career path: Lugano, Yverdon Sport, Neuchatel Xamax, Schalke, Mainz, Zurich, Rijeka, Dinamo Zagreb

Gavranovic was a young prospect in 2011 who didn’t quite make the grade at Schalke. He has since found success back in his native Switzerland and now in Croatia, where he is currently starring for Dinamo Zagreb.

Alexander Baumjohann

Age: 34
Position: Winger
Schalke appearances: 47
Schalke goals: 0
Career path: Schalke, Borussia Monchengladbach, Bayern Munich, Schalke, Kaiserslautern, Hertha, Coritiba, Vitoria, Western Sydney Wanderers, Sydney FC

Baumjohann was a product of Schalke’s youth system who was already on his second spell at the club in 2011 having played for Gladbach and Bayern in the interim. Since that second spell ended he has played for various German sides, before spending a couple of years in Brazil. He is currently on his second club in Australia.

Mathias Schober

Age: 44
Position: Goalkeeper
Schalke appearances: 39
Schalke goals: 0
Career path: Schalke, Hamburger SV, Hansa Rostock, Schalke
Retired in: 2012

Schober began and ended his career as a back-up goalkeeper for Schalke. In 2010/11 he made 0 appearances as Neuer dominated. In 2011/12, his last season, he played twice before retiring.