Seven-time German champions Schalke have been relegated from the Bundesliga for just the fourth time in their history, as coach Dimitrios Grammozis lamented “a very bitter hour.”
While football across the continent has been rocked by a tumultuous 48 hours centred on the seemingly doomed European Super League, one of Germany’s most traditional clubs were condemned to the second tier on Tuesday with a 1-0 defeat to Arminia Bielefeld.
Fabian Klos scored and missed a penalty as Schalke’s relegation was confirmed with four games to spare. They have won just two games this season, collecting only 13 points.
“It’s a very bitter hour for all Schalke players – for all fans and for all employees who give everything for the club every day,” head coach Grammozis told the club’s official website.
“That’s why we’re brutally disappointed that there is now the certainty that we have to make it to the second division.
“This was not sealed today, but by the sum of all games this season. For us, the remaining games are about saying goodbye in a sensible way.
“We’re not going to give up a game, we will prepare ourselves as well as possible for these tasks and once again give everything to represent the club worthily in these final games.”
Bielefeld boss Frank Kramer – whose team moved four points clear of the relegation play-off place with their win – offered his sympathy to Schalke’s fanbase.
“The heart of every football fan bleeds when such a large traditional club with as many members as Schalke is relegated,” he said.
“The fact that such a club has to compete in the second division makes every football fan’s eyes watery.”