German Bundesliga side Schalke 04 recently confirmed two players had been released from the club, and one further name suspended following the Blues’ weekend defeat to Koln. Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam were the duo said to have been “indefinitely suspended”, while Marco Hoger finds himself out of action potentially for the remainder of the season too. The news came in the wake of another poor performance in the league, and leaves Schalke’s future in tatters.
The recent result meant the Germans slipped down the table into 6th, just two points above Borussia Dortmund, of whom were 14 points behind at the start of February. It’s been a woeful run of form suffered by Roberto Di Matteo’s men, when for so long they looked on course for a Champions League spot in the table. They have won just two league games in their last 12 played, and haven’t won away from home all year.
No Champions League football, and potentially no Europa League football will be so damaging to the club, and could well cost the job of manager Di Matteo. Schalke have some talented players in the team that could well broker a move away to greener pastures, as it’s clear the German side aren’t in a good place of late. Julian Draxler is highly-rated around Europe, but it’s hard to see him staying past the summer now.
He was public in his criticism for the side’s performance too, saying: “We played really badly. I don’t know what was wrong with us. You’re not going to win games in the Bundesliga like that. I’m pretty sure it was one of our worst performances in recent years. We’re also aware of the anger of our fans. They have reason to be unhappy and vent their anger. Having said that, we have to get through what’s been a poor season together.”
The biggest worry is that the manager’s tactics are not being adhered to by the players, and the supporters have turned following their poor run of form. Schalke supporters are used to being in the top-four in the Bundesliga. They’d grown accustomed to top-end finishes, but certainly thought years like 2015 would never return.
Club captain Benedikt Howedes is another player who many sides will have been eying up in the summer, and he questioned the heart and desire of the squad, while hinting that many were going against the manager’s protocol on the pitch. He said: “It’s difficult for me to find explanations for poor performances like this week after week.”
“We were missing everything that makes us Schalke. There was no passion, willingness to run or emotion. It’s a mystery to me that we didn’t stick to what we set out to do. Everyone has to ask themselves whether they really put everything into action. It’s sad that we played that way.”
Schalke are likely to make big changes in the summer to ensure they don’t have another season like this one. They are currently 13 points off a top-four spot in the table, and 31 points adrift of the champions Bayern Munich.