Captain Benedikt Höwedes and his team were warmly received at the airport of the Chinese metropolis with nearly 24 million inhabitants. Hundreds of local fans came out to greet the players, most of whom follow the fortunes of the Royal Blues via Schalke's Chinese social media channels.
Every one of the Schalke players received a warm welcome from the Chinese fans who held banners and were dressed in Schalke shirts and scarves. The message 'Wilkommen in China' was loud and clear for the stars from Germany.
Then the players were swarmed by fans asking for autographs and selfies. Ralf Fährmann and co. wasted no time in putting the tour motto 'Ni hao China' into action as they happily signed shirts and posed for photos. This was the first of several PR activities which the players will partake in whilst they are out in China.
Squad for the tour
Goalkeepers: Ralf Fährmann, Alexander Nübel, Denis Wieszolek
Defendrs: Pablo Insua, Benedikt Höwedes, Atsuto Uchida, Coke, Bastian Oczipka, Naldo, Matija Nastasic
Midfieldrs: Weston McKennie, Johannes Geis, Nabil Bentaleb, Yevhen Konoplyanka, Benjamin Stambouli, Daniel Caligiuri, Luke Hemmerich, Amine Harit, Sidney Sam
Attackers: Franco Di Santo, Fabian Reese, Guido Burgstaller, Haji Wright, Bernard Tekpetey, Donis Avdijaj, Breel Embolo
The team will of course also undertake sporting endeavours whilst they are in China. Domenico Tedesco's side will face Turkish champions Besiktas on Wednesday (19/07) at 14:00 CEST in ZhuHai and then they'll play a second friendly this time against Italian giants Inter Milan on Friday (21/07) at 13:30 CEST in Changzhou.
Not only the playing squad but also the entire coaching staff and operations team have made the trip to China. Two members of the management board, Christian Heidel and Alexander Jobst, are also there as well as honorary team captain Olaf Thon, honorary president Gerhard Rehberg, the long time crowd favourite and current U23 manager Gerald Asamoah and Bodo Menze, who is responsible for international relations between the two countries.