In the beginning there was not soccer, in the beginning there was a district. Probably even the most famous in Germany. Accordingly, "Mythos" tour guide Olivier Kruschinski doesn't feel like a soccer fan, but as, well, a Schalker!

On his left calf, the man has tattooed the motif of a window from Gelsenkirchen's St. Joseph Church; it shows St. Aloisius. You can see Alois quite wonderfully if you follow the footsteps of the short-haired Kruschinski up a rampart of the now quite run-down Glückauf-Kampfbahn, the former cult stadium of Schalke 04.

Kruschinski leaves no doubt that this is a religious place for him. When you learn that he first registered his newborn son as a member of Schalke 04 before registering him at the registry office, you're inclined to say the guy is nuts. Kruschinski would also sign that statement, but with the addition of Calli Calmund's words: "Positively crazy. And he's certainly right. Olivier Kruschinski is not someone who is just a fan and would trot along behind the club like a sheep without criticism. He has an agenda - and it is as sacred to him as the Aloisius.

Only those who know the past can understand the present and shape the future

Olivier sees himself as a Schalker with head, heart and hand: "Being a Schalker is part of my identity." It's important to him that the history of Gelsenkirchen isn't forgotten above the current fray of often interchangeable mercenary professionals in royal blue jerseys. More important to him than the professionals are the people of Schalke - he wants to strengthen the sense of community among the citizens of Gelsenkirchen by repeatedly reminding them of the club's history and taking his guests to places from the past: "The Gelsenkirchener has forgotten to be proud of himself, after all." Kruschinski's slogan therefore: "Only those who know the past can understand the present and shape the future."

On the way to the Glückauf Kampfbahn...

So of course it makes sense that he has been offering the so-called "Mythos Tour", the original, for over 15 years: This is a three-hour guided tour through the old district of Schalke, which takes place on request by appointment, but in any case always five hours before the start of the game on Schalke 04's home match days. It is very likely that he will also drop by St. Joseph's Church on this occasion. After all, he has to show his disciples the church window with St. Aloisius, probably the only saint in this world who shows himself in church with soccer boots, socks and a soccer. No more questions...

And this is how you get to Gelsenkirchen-Schalke by train: Plan arrival.

Cover photo: The Glückauf-Kampfbahn was once the heart of Schalke 04, built on the site of the Consolidation colliery. The club played its last Bundesliga match in the Glückauf-Kampfbahn in 1973 before moving to the Parkstadion. For Kruschinski, visiting here every time is like returning to his temple. © Tourismus NRW e.V., Ralph Sondermann

More articles from North Rhine-Westphalia

In collaboration with Tourism NRW e.V.

Reasons for a Vacation in North Rhine-Westphalia there are plenty - the living Cities, the old Castles and palaces and the unique Nature are just a few of them.


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