He spent his entire career with Schalke 04 where he won six national championships and one German Cup.
Usually a highly skilled midfielder, his versatility allowed him to play centre half and as forward. He wasn’t very fast, however he compensated his lack of speed with fantastic intelligence, technique and positional play. Because of his extraordinary game understanding and leadership, he was later known as “Beckenbauer before the war”.
Fritz Szepan was born in 1907 in the industrial town of Gelsenkirchen, in a family that came to Gelsenkirchen from the East Prussian Kreis Neidenburg. He joined Schalke 04 as a youth player in 1924 and remained with the side until his retirement in 1950.
From 1929 to 1938 he played for the German national team which he led as captain in 30 matches and during two World Cups. In 1938, Szepan was named captain of the “Unified Germany” team shortly after the Anschluss.
After his retirement in 1950, Szepan remained active as coach for Wuppertaler SV, Schalke 04 and Rot-Weiß Essen,leading that club to the German championship in 1955. He served Schalke again as club president from 1964 to 1967.
- Member of Germany’s squad for the 1934 & 1938 FIFA World Cup (FC Schalke 04).
- Matches played for Germany: 34 (1929-1939)
- Goals: 8
- Matches played for Germany in the FIFA World Cup: 9 (1 goal)
1934 World Cup qualifying: Luxembourg – Germany 1-9
1934 World Cup first round: Germany – Belgium 5-2
1934 World Cup quarter-final: Germany – Sweden 2-1
1934 World Cup semi-final: Germany – Czechoslovakia 1-3
1934 World Cup third place match: Germany – Austria 3-2
1938 World Cup qualifying: Finland – Germany 0-2
1938 World Cup qualifying: Germany – Estonia 4-1
1938 World Cup qualifying: Germany – Sweden 5-0 (1 goal)
1938 World Cup first round: Germany – Switzerland 2-4