2011-12 Champions League: DNQ.
How They Qualified for 2012-13: 3rd place in German Bundesliga, automatic.
Manager: Huub Stevens (second season).
Captain: Benedikt Höwedes.
Stadium: Veltins Arena (cap: 61,673).
Key Additions: Chinedu Obasi (winger), Tranquillo Barnetta (winger), Roman Neustadter (defensive midfield).
Key Departures: Ciprean Deac (attacking midfield), Raul (striker).
Team Preview: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Lewis Holtby both found the back of the net in Schalke's season debut against Hannover, which ended in a 2-2 tie.
Huntelaar was absolutely brilliant a season ago, scoring 29 league goals and 48 in all competitions. While he faltered somewhat at the European Championships with Holland, he has shown none of the same ineffectiveness at club level since joining Die Konigsblauen.
Holtby scored 16 in league and 25 overall from midfield, while also providing six assists once the campaign had gone. His versatility—he headed in his goal against Hannover—could prove an interesting commodity once Schalke get their Champions League campaign underway.
It's easy to forget that this side made it all the way to the semifinals two seasons ago, where they lost to Manchester United. Out of the competition last term, there are still plenty of players remaining from that impressive side, including the pacy Jefferson Farfan at winger and Atsuto Uchida at fullback.
While Champions League glory was never a possibility in 2011-12, Schalke did make it to the Europa League quarterfinals, where they gave eventual runners-up Athletic Bilbao all they could handle before bowing out on a 4-6 aggregate.
Schalke earned 64 points in last season's Bundesliga, finishing third behind Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Like the other two German teams in the competition, they could provide some interesting games, and will be at their best in what promises to be a raucous encounter with the Gunners in Gelsenkirchen.
They're led by the 24-year-old captain Höwedes, who has gone through the youth ranks of the club to become one of the most highly-rated central defenders in German football.
Be sure to keep an eye on 18-year-old Julian Draxler. The latest in a long line of talented midfielders to emerge in the German setup, the 6'2" player has made 45 appearances for Schalke since breaking into the first team in 2010. Blessed with brilliant vision, Draxler combines that skill with a terrific sense in the final third. Passes, goals, the kid can do it all.
Player to Watch: Hotlby.
Just 21 years old, Holtby has been a bright light in the German youth set up for years. While he didn't make Joachim Low's side for the European Championships this summer, he's already earned two caps at the senior level and is poised to earn more as he continues to grow.
His breakthrough came on a season-long loan deal with Mainz in 2010-11. Holtby made 30 appearances for the Bundesliga side, chipped in four goals and earned rave reviews for his play in central midfield.
Holtby flirted with rumors linking him to Everton this summer, and with his contract set to expire at the end of this season, negotiations could make for some interesting developments.
For now, viewers can enjoy Holtby's superb talent in the Champions League. Possessor of a hugely impressive technical ability, Holtby combines that skill with some bits of spontaneous brilliance. Little flicks here, deft touches there, Holtby is a constant menace in midfield.
Fun Fact: Holtby's father, Chris Holtby, is a former English soldier from Liverpool who was stationed at the Rheindahlen RAF base in Mönchengladbach. Holtby had the option of playing for England before he decided to commit his international future to Germany. (Wikipedia).