Germany’s third biggest club Schalke plunged into further chaos this week after they fired their technical director, suspended two players from the first team and parted ways with a third player who joined before the start of the season.
Schalke are without a win in 24 league games and sit at the bottom of the Bundesliga table with three points after eight matches.
The club has announced that Nabil Bentaleb and Amine Harit were suspended from the first team while Vedad Ibisevic, who joined on a free transfer in September, would leave the club at the end of the year.
A club statement read: “FC Schalke 04 have made the following personnel decisions in the midst of a difficult time for the club and with an eye on the five crucial Bundesliga games remaining before the winter break.
“Nabil Bentaleb and Amine Harit will train individually, under the supervision of the first team coaching staff, until further notice. Vedad Ibisevic’s contract with the club will end on Dec. 31 2020.”
Schalke had already parted ways with technical director Michael Reschke. The club’s sporting executive Jochen Schneider said in a statement that there had been “different views over the sporting future of the club” between the pair.
Ibisevic, who said he intended to play at the club for free, clashed with assistant coach Naldo during a training session for the reserves following the 2-0 defeat to VfL Wolfsburg on Saturday. Schalke said the termination of his contract had nothing to do with the incident.
Meanwhile, the club announced that former Tottenham midfielder Bentaleb will leave the club “by summer 2021 at the latest”.
Schalke’s Twitter account had sent a birthday message to the Algeria international but it was soon deleted and the player was suspended later.
Harit, who signed a new contract last year, snubbed coach Manuel Baum after his 38th minute substitution in last weekend’s match. The Morocco international has failed to score a goal this season while he contributed seven goals and seven assists last term.
“He hasn’t been able to bring [his potential] to the team over the last few months,” Schneider said in a statement. “We will not abandon him but will do everything we can to get him to where he is able to use his talent to help the club.”
German publication Suddeutsche Zeitung wrote: “Schalke are going through a financial crisis, a sporting crisis, an identity crisis, a leadership crisis and a dressing room crisis. All of them have become corrosive,” while kicker’s headline on the situation read: “Laughing stock Schalke: Where is the popcorn, please?”
Schalke have been in crisis mode since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic with off-field issues leading to the departure of long-term head of supervisory board Clemens Tonnies, severe financial losses over the past few months, the resignation of CFO Peter Peters in June and the loss of USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie to Juventus.
Six of those 24 winless Bundesliga games have come under new coach Manuel Baum, who was hired after David Wagner was sacked after just two league matches including an 8-0 defeat on the opening day of the season at Bayern Munich.
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By Ofhani Munyai