How Schalke’s ‘melting pot’ academy produced a string of young players

Schalke academy graduates have already shone for both sides in their Champions League tie against Manchester City

By Alex Clapham for Caño Football of the Sport Network

Schalke have a proud history of producing footballers. Manuel Neuer, Benedikt Höwedes, Ilkay Gündogan, Mesut Özil, Max Meyer, Julian Draxler and Leroy Sané have all emerged from the Knappenschmiede academy. To understand why the club has brought through so many young players, you need to know a little about Gelsenkirchen’s social history.

“After the second world war, a whole mixture of cultures and backgrounds arrived to work in the region’s coal mines – such as Polish, Italian and Turkish people,” says Peter Knäbel, the man in charge of the academy. “We’re now reaping the benefits of that as the children of hard-working parents with contrasting instincts and mentalities come here and we have a fantastic melting pot.”

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