Fritz Szepan

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Fritz Szepan
Surname Friedrich Hermann Sczepan
birthday September 2, 1907
place of birth GelsenkirchenGerman Empire
date of death December 14, 1974
Place of death Gelsenkirchen,  Germany
position Half-striker
Years station
1924-1925 FC Schalke 04
Years station Games (goals) 1
1925-1949 FC Schalke 04 342 (234)
National team
Years selection Games (goals)
1929-1939 Germany 34 00(8)
Stations as a trainer
Years station
1949-1954 FC Schalke 04
1954-1956 Red and white food
1 Only league games are given.

Friedrich Hermann "Fritz" Sczepan , also written Fritz Szepan (born September 2, 1907 in Gelsenkirchen , † December 14, 1974 there ), was a German football player .

In the 1930s, Szepan was one of the best footballers in Germany. As captain of the national team , he took part in the World Championships in 1934 and 1938. Together with his brother-in-law Ernst Kuzorra , he formed the heart of the “ Schalker Kreisel ” and led FC Schalke 04 to six German championships .

He later worked as a coach and president for Schalke.


Szepan's father had moved from the East Prussian district of Neidenburg to the industrial center of the Ruhr area to find work in the mining industry . In the typical working-class environment of the “Kohlenpott”, young Fritz grew up as one of six children in the family. The straw-blonde boy played soccer in street teams in the neighborhood. After leaving school without a degree, Szepan completed an apprenticeship as a plumber and also ensured that the apprentice football selection at his company did well.

At the instigation of his friend Ernst Kuzorra , Szepan joined the first team of FC Schalke 04 in 1925 at the age of 18 . Szepan also married Kuzorra's sister Elise.

Career at FC Schalke 04

After Kuzorra and Szepan had established themselves in the Schalke first team, this developed into one of the best German club teams. In 1934 Schalke won the German championship for the first time with a 2-1 victory over 1. FC Nürnberg in the final, in which Szepan had equalized in the 88th minute and Kuzorra had scored the winning goal. Thanks to the "roundabout" celebrated to perfection, the art of the centimeter-precise, fast flat passing game, free running and dribbling, the team in the royal blue jersey hurried from success to success in the following years.

The fathers of success and central figures in the game system were Kuzorra and Szepan. This compensated for his lack of liveliness and speed with game intelligence, overview, technique and outstanding positional play. As a playmaker, Szepan was the thinker and leader of the team, Kuzorra an iron-hard thoroughbred striker and executor. Because of his extraordinary understanding of the game and his strong leadership on the field, Szepan was later ennobled as the “basin builder of the prewar period”. Nominally as a striker on the pitch, he usually let himself down and directed the game from below. Constructive build-up play, under the direction of Szepan, was the key to the success of Schalke gyroscope .

In 1935 the championship title was defended 6: 4 over VfB Stuttgart . Two years later, the “Knappen” won the first double in German football history with the championship and Tschammerpokal . By 1942, Schalke were in the championship finals four more times and won in 1939 , 1940 and 1942. Schalke 04 dominated German football during this time and laid the foundation for the "Schalke myth". The championship in 1942 was supposed to be the last championship for Schalke 04 in World War II and at the same time the last title for 16 years.

After the war ended, "blonde Fritz" helped rebuild FC Schalke before ending his career in 1949 due to knee problems and back pain. On November 12, 1950, Szepan and his brother-in-law Kuzorra officially said goodbye with a game against Atlético Mineiro at Schalke's Glückauf-Kampfbahn .

Career in the national team

For ten years, from 1929 to 1939, Szepan played for the German national team and scored eight goals in 34 games. He wore the captain's armband 30 times.

Szepan made his international debut on October 20, 1929 in the game against Finland . In the 4-0 win, he scored a goal straight away, but the 21-year-old has not yet been able to fight for a regular place. It was not until 1934 that he was a permanent member of the line-up and was appointed the new captain shortly before the World Cup. When Germany first took part in the World Cup in Italy in 1934 , Szepan led his team to the semi-finals, in which they were defeated by Czechoslovakia . In the end, the team finished third after a 3-2 victory over neighboring Austria .

On May 16, 1937 Szepan was captain of the " Breslau-Elf ", which Denmark had defeated 8-0 (Szepan had scored a goal) and went down in German football history. That is why Germany was considered a secret favorite for the 1938 World Cup in France . After the “ Anschluss ” of Austria, however, a “Greater German” eleven - which was put together just before the tournament! However, the game systems of the two squads did not match, which is why the new team was eliminated against Switzerland in the second round of the World Cup.

On October 22, 1939, in a 2-1 victory over Bulgaria , Szepan said goodbye to the national team.

During his time with the national team, he repeatedly caused a stir due to his footballing skills and was even cheered by the home crowd at games in the British Isles.

Career as a trainer and functionary

After the war, Szepan helped rebuild the Schalke team. He also worked as a trainer at TSV Marl-Hüls . After the end of his playing career in 1949, he took over the coaching position at Schalke. He held this until 1954, before he led another district club to the German championship with Rot-Weiss Essen . From 1964 to 1965 and from 1966 to 1967 he was President of FC Schalke. Then he retired into private life.

Relationship to National Socialism

Together with his teammates Ernst Kuzorra and Hans Bornemann , Szepan joined the NSDAP on May 1, 1937 (membership number 6.416.068). He let himself be hired for Nazi propaganda campaigns and in 1934, 1936 and 1938 called for votes to be “united behind the Führer”. In 1939 he was appointed to the leadership council of the Reich Office for Football.

In 1938 Szepan took over the department store Julius Rode & Co from the two Jews Sally Meyer and Julie Lichtmann as part of the “ Aryanization ” . Both were initially taken to a Jewish house and deported from Gelsenkirchen to Riga on January 27, 1942. Lichtmann is missing there, Meyer was murdered with his wife in the Kaiserwald concentration camp . After the war, there was a lawsuit against the Jewish Trust Corporation over the department store , which resulted in a settlement. Szepan paid compensation to the corporation. The Allies classified him as a NSDAP “ fellow traveler ”.

End of life

After resigning his presidency at Schalke, Szepan withdrew more and more from the public. Until 1972 he was the owner of his textile goods business on Schalker Markt in Gelsenkirchen , before he was in poor health and completely withdrawn from rheumatism .

On December 14, 1974, Szepan died after a long illness at the age of 67. His grave is in the Protestant cemetery Rosenhügel in the north of Gelsenkirchen-Schalke.


As a player:

As a trainer:

See also


  • Thomas Urban : Black Eagles, White Eagles. German and Polish footballers at the heart of politics. Verlag Die Werkstatt, Göttingen 2011, ISBN 978-3-89533-775-8 , pp. 49–58.
  • Frank Bajohr : Fritz Szepan. Football idol and beneficiary of the Nazi regime . In: Diethelm Blecking , Lorenz Peiffer (ed.): Sportsmen in the "Century of the Camps". Profiteers, resistors and victims. Die Werkstatt, Göttingen, 2012, pp. 110–115.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Stefan Goch, Norbert Silberbach: Gray lies between blue and white . Essen 2005, ISBN 3-89861-433-6 , p. 348, with reference to the StdA GE, personnel files, etc.
  2. Goch, Stefan .: Gray lies between blue and white: FC Schalke 04 under National Socialism . Klartext, 2005, ISBN 3-89861-433-6 ( [accessed August 6, 2020]).
  3. Karsten Jahn: The Schalke roundabout. In: - The Schalke Tactic Blog. December 12, 2015, accessed August 6, 2020 .
  4. Dennis Steckel: Club chronicle ... a small excerpt from the history ..., July 13, 2007, accessed on September 1, 2016.
  5. ^ Matthias Arnhold: Fritz Szepan - International Appearances . RSSSF . September 12, 2004. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
  6. Karsten Jahn: About Fritz Szepan and the moral dilemma in football. In: August 4, 2020, accessed August 4, 2020 .
  7. ^ Frank Bajohr: Fritz Szepan. Football idol and beneficiary of the Nazi regime . In: Athletes in the "Century of the Camps". Profiteers, resistors and victims . S. 110 .
  8. Goch, Stefan .: Gray lies between blue and white: FC Schalke 04 under National Socialism . Klartext, 2005, ISBN 3-89861-433-6 ( [accessed August 6, 2020]).