FC Schalke 04 have departed Germany for the Far East as they step up their pre-season preparations with a first-ever visit to China.
The Royal Blues departed Düsseldorf around midday CEST on Saturday and are scheduled to land in Hong Kong on Sunday morning. From there they will travel to the metropolis of Guangzhou, and will be received by fans and media at the Guangdong Stadium.
Stars including Klaas-Jan Hunterlaar, Johannes Geis, Max Meyer and Franco Di Santo, among others, have all made the trip, but Leroy Sane and Benedikt Höwedes are absent due to their participation at UEFA EURO 2016 with Germany, while Alessandro Schöpf is also missing following his exploits at the continental showpiece with Austria.
"We're really looking forward to China," defender Sascha Riether told Schalke TV prior to departure. "We want to represent Schalke well in China and learn a lot of new things." Team-mate Dennis Aogo was equally enthusiastic: "China's really interesting for us as players. I'm open to new things. We want to grow as a team there."
Schalke will play two friendlies before returning home on 9 July, with fixtures against Guangzhou R&F and Guangzhou Evergrande lined up for Tuesday (5 July) and Thursday (7 July) respectively. More information on the club's trip can be found on Twitter using the hashtag #SchalkeInChina.