Schalke have cancelled the contracts of Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam ‘with immediate effect’ as a ‘consequence’ of their surprise defeat by Cologne in the Bundesliga on Sunday. The Royal Blues were beaten 2-0 at the RheinEnergieStadion to leave their hopes of qualifying for Europe hanging by a thread, and general manager Horst Heldt had promised action would be taken. Boateng and Sam have both been released from the club while Marco Hoger is suspended from training or playing with the first-team squad until after Saturday’s game against Paderborn.
Germany winger Sam only joined Schalke last season and had three years left on his contract. Boateng had one year remaining on his current deal. Heldt refused to disclose what was said during a crisis meeting on Monday, but he did confirm there was no way back for either of the released players. Regarding Hoger, Heldt added: ‘We are unsure of Marco Hoger’s loyalty.’ After their defeat on Sunday, Heldt said: Some players are – regardless of contractual arrangements – going to feel the consequences. ‘If a player is not willing to do what we ask, then he will not be at the next training session.’ Schalke could even miss out on Europa League football as pressure mounts on manager Roberto Di Matteo. They have won just once since beating Real Madrid in their Champions League second round second leg game at the Santiago Bernabeu and have four league wins this calendar year. Schalke sit in the final Europa League qualifying spot in sixth with two games left but they are just two points ahead of Borussia Dortmund and Werder Bremen and four ahead of Hoffenheim. Sunday’s defeat marked a new low, with midfielder Julian Draxler calling it one of the club’s worst performance for many years. ‘We played really badly. I don’t know what was wrong with us,’ Draxler said. ‘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.’ Captain Benedikt Howedes added: ‘We were missing everything that makes us Schalke. There was no passion, willingness to run or emotion.’ Boateng, a former Ghana international, and Sam, who has won five caps for Germany, were among the top earners at the Ruhr valley club. Sam has started only seven league games this season since joining from Bayer Leverkusen and has failed to score while Boateng has been criticised for below-par performances