FC Schalke 04 announced Monday the immediate suspensions of Kevin-Prince Boateng, Sidney Sam, and Marco Höger.
“We have the feeling that the level of trust is no longer there and we’re not convinced that they can help us in the two remaining games against Paderborn and Hamburg,” said sporting director Horst Heldt through Schalke’s official website with regard to the Boateng and Sam suspensions. “The content of our discussions only concerns the players and myself. I will not publicly communicate exactly what was discussed.”
“The decision is final. There is no going back.”
Boateng and Sam are suspended indefinitely.
Schalke’s poor Rückrunde continued in Sunday’s 2:0 loss to 1. FC Köln, dropping the Royal Blues to sixth in the table, just two points above hard-charging rival Dortmund, who appears to have every intention of making a play for a spot in the Europa League.
Sam had been limited all season due to injury and had not played only eleven minutes since match day 19, but Boateng was in the starting eleven in Köln, replacing Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in attack as the Dutch striker was serving his own suspension, though for receiving his fifth yellow card the weekend prior, rather than for performance or loyalty issues. Boateng provided crucial moments as a substitute in last weekend’s 3:2 victory over VfB Stuttgart, delivering a crisp pass to assist on Huntelaar’s 78th minute equalizer and then launching a volley that turned into Florian Klein’s own-goal to give Schalke all three points after trailing for nearly half-an-hour.
After the win, Marco Höger posted a note of thanks to Boateng on his Facebook page. Paired with his poor performance in the city of his birth, there has been plenty of fuel for specutation on the reasoning behind Höger’s ban, to which Heldt says, “It’s not about the loyalty to individuals, but rather about the attitude of giving everything to be successful. Höger’s temporary suspension, however, is subject to him spending this week thinking things over.”
The suspension of Höger currently is only through Saturday’s crucial home match with SC Paderborn, after which player and management “will discuss whether it makes sense to carry on working together beyond this season.”
Höger’s current deal with Schalke is set to expire next summer. Any appearance that an extension might be coming would now be cast into doubt, pending the outcome of that discussion.
Boateng’s deal also expires next summer.
Sam, who moved to Gelsenkirchen last summer from Leverkusen for €2.5 million, is signed through the 2017-18 season.
Heldt was not shy about leveraging the suspensions as motivation to the remainder of the Schalke roster to secure their spot in Europe.
“We will see how the other players react over the coming days. I expect that everyone has realised that we’re not messing about and no one is untouchable.”