6. Olaf Thon
Olaf Thon was one of those guys that wasted no time in becoming prolific. In his first season ever at just 17 years old, he notched 17 goals in 38 appearances. All this in a campaign that brought his new club back up into the Bundesliga after finishing second in the second tier and winning their way into the top flight.
From there on out, he was a regular for the club, putting his stamp on it for the long haul. Unfortunately, that long haul was interrupted when he took the familiar move to Bayern Munich, where he won three Bundesliga titles and a Supercup. However, he did make his return to Schalke at the age of 28, and that’s when the honors began returning to Schalke for the first time in decades.
Settling back in as a regular, Thon helped Schalke win their first UEFA Cup in 1997, scoring his attempt in a penalty win over Inter. Thon was capped 52 times for both West Germany and Germany. He won the World Cup in 1990, starting in the game against England in the semifinal. He also went to the Euro 1988 and the World Cup Finals in both 1986 and 1998.
5. Norbert Nigbur
Nigbur joined FC Schalke 04, from tiny SV Gelsenkirchen 06 in 1966, playing 456 matches in the Bundesliga for Schalke and Hertha BSC in between 1966 and 1983.
His biggest success on the club level was the DFB-Pokal trophy with hometown side Schalke 04 in 1972. In the 1980s, Nigbur played for teams as VfB Hüls, Rot-Weiss Essen and FC Luthenberg outside the top two German divisions.
Nigbur, one of the greatest Schalke players ever, played 455 matches for Schalke in all competitions. He was capped on six occasions by West Germany and was a member of the West German squad at the 1974 FIFA World Cup.
4. Klaus Fitchel
Not quite a one-club man, but Fichtel no doubt gave the best years — and more — of his career to Schalke. Aged 20 when he joined, he was 43-and-a-half when he pulled on their shirt for the last time in May 1988, making him the oldest player ever to have featured in the Bundesliga.
The full-back — nicknamed ‘The Fir’ — returned to his first love after a four-year spell at Werder Bremen left him pining for a swansong in Gelsenkirchen where he played the last of his 552 Bundesliga matches, putting him currently fourth on the top-flight’s all-time appearances chart. He was a part of the West German squad at the 1970 FIFA World Cup, playing in five matches during the tournament.