Berlin (AFP) – Schalke 04 have made the worst start to a Bundesliga season in the club’s history with Sunday’s 2-1 loss at Hoffenheim their fifth straight league defeat.
The latest set-back piles the pressure on Schalke’s new coach Markus Weinzierl.
His side are the only club to still have no points in Germany’s top flight.
“I don’t know where the problem lies,” said Schalke’s goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann, while his defence did him no favours in Hoffenheim.
“We’re in a situation where words fail me.
“Nothing is working up front and at the back, we are making simple mistakes.
“It’s getting worse from week to week.”
Having been recruited from Augsburg at the start of the season, while sports director Christian Heidel was poached from Mainz, Weinzierl has endured a disastrous start.
“It’s not down to him and I very much hope that all the people involved here support him”, said Schalke’s captain, Germany defender Benedikt Hoewedes.
“We need to stand together, as men, and improve.”
Werder Bremen’s dramatic 2-1 win over Wolfsburg on Saturday, with both of their goals coming in the last five minutes, had seen Schalke take Bremen’s place at the bottom of the table.
With Germany coach Joachim Loew watching, Schalke looked to be on course for their first league points of the season after taking a fourth minute lead at Hoffenheim’s Rhein Neckar Arena.
Swiss striker Breel Embolo — who has so far failed to justify the 22 million euros ($24.5m) Schalke paid Basel for him — fired in a cross which Cameroon striker Eric Choupo-Moting headed home at the far post.
But Hoffenheim drew level when Croatia striker Andrej Kramaric, signed from Leicester City, headed them level on 17 minutes.
And midfielder Lukas Rupp slotted home what proved to be the winning goal when his shot beat Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Faehermann on 41 minutes after his defence had given the ball away in their own half.
Hamburg sacked coach Bruno Labbadia on Sunday after their 1-0 defeat to leaders Bayern Munich, their fourth-straight loss which left them 16th, and Weinzierl is now the next boss sweating about his future with Schalke two places below in rock bottom.
They play their next Europa League group stage match at home to RB Salzburg on Thursday, then face Champions League side Borussia Moenchengladbach next Sunday at home in the Bundesliga.