Curtain falls for Schalke 04 on a new disaster evening
April 20, 2021 – The relegation of Schalke 04 to the 2. Bundesliga is officially a fact: after competitor 1. FC Köln caused a surprise at home against RB Leipzig (2-1 winset) earlier in the evening, lost Die Königsblauen even from number fifteen Arminia Bielefeld. Thanks to a goal by Fabian Klos, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar’s club will play a level lower next season (1-0).
The relegation is not the first time in club history, but it is a huge blow for a club that has played continuously in the highest division of Germany since 1991. In the 2017/18 season, it even finished in second place, which is also the highest-ranked spot in the Bundesliga rankings ever. But halfway through last season, when Schalke 04 took up third place under the leadership of David Wagner, things went completely wrong.
The 2-0 victory over Borussia Mönchengladbach was Schalke 04’s only victory in the Bundesliga for months, until a sudden revival against 1899 Hoffenheim (4-0) followed in January 2021: the negative record of Tasmania Berlin was just not broken. However, that victory was also in a new season, in which the club, like all teams, started without points in the rankings and so for a long time without a victory was stiffly at the bottom of the league.
The fact that head coaches Wagner and Chrstian Gross were fired by the team and Huub Stevens also remained in charge for a while, could not change the free fall. Even the return of Shkodran Mustafi, Kolasinic and thus Huntelaar brought the team from Gelsenkirchten too little. The Dutch striker was in the starting line-up at Schalke 04 on Tuesday-evening, after having suffered so many minor injuries earlier this season and therefore saw the contribution remain limited.
After the enormously bad news from Cologne earlier in the evening, as so often this season, things also went completely wrong in their own match: Klos quickly made the 1-0 in the second company for Arminia, with Michel Vlap and Mike van der Hoorn started on the couch. Then defender Malick Thiaw was sent off the field with his second yellow and thus red card and relegation was officially unavoidable – although that had actually been the case for several weeks. The fact that a penalty from the home team was still missed in the final phase did not detract from that.
After the breakaway of Werder Bremen last season and the revival of Schalke 04 in January, the supporters will undoubtedly have believed in a new Houdini act for a while, but with the only thirteen points achieved, the gap is at 1. FC Köln with four more matches to go thirteen points and it is (also) arithmetically no longer possible and the team also becomes one of the poorly performing relegants ever. An unprecedented hard end for Huntelaar, whose future is still unclear. After this crazy Tuesday evening, this is known to Schalke 04: that is the 2. Bundesliga.