Relegated Schalke seek police protection from angry fans

Berlin (AFP) – Schalke 04 said Friday they have asked for police protection at training next week after angry fans attacked the team bus following the club’s relegation from the Bundesliga. 

A large group of furious supporters pelted the team bus with eggs and confronted players on their return to Gelsenkirchen early Wednesday after defeat at Bielefeld saw Schalke relegated after 30 years in Germany’s top flight.

The team has won just two of their 30 games this season.

Some players were reportedly followed to their homes and threatened in the wake of Tuesday’s loss – their 21st league defeat of 2020/21.

At least one player’s car is said to have been badly damaged before police intervened.

Schalke have no game this weekend, but sports director Peter Knaebel has asked for police help when training resumes Monday.

In a statement Friday, Schalke said they have “already initiated measures to ensure the safety and security of the players and staff”.

Knaebel also told Bild that he “can live with it” if any player refuses to play their last four remaining games.

The Schalke boss blames himself for not taking steps to protect the team on their return from Bielefeld.

“People were in danger, things got damaged. We were lucky that nothing worse happened to our people,” Knaebel told German daily Bild.

“I apologise to the players and staff.”

In a statement, the club said it will not tolerate instances where the “health and safety of its employees are threatened or endangered.”

“A line was crossed on Wednesday morning, and these events have deeply shaken the club.

“Violence is never justified, neither in sport, nor in society.” 

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