Updated: Jul 5, 2020
After the first game of the second half of the season, Schalke 04 sat fifth, level on point with Borussia Dortmund and only three points behind Bayern München. By the end of the season, having picked up only another six points from 16 games, the Traditionsverein from the Ruhr were in 12th place, over 40 points behind Bayern and only nine points ahead of relegated Fortuna Düsseldorf.
A club record sequence of 14 games without a win, with coach David Wagner seemingly unable to halt the run, saw them plummet down the table. By some distance the worst performing team over the course of the Hinrunde, the issue wasn’t only the results it was the utterly listless nature of the performances. Schalke will go into the new season, apparently with Wagner still at the helm, with a huge level of uncertainty about their Bundesliga future.
Since finishing second two seasons ago, the performances on the pitch have been nothing short of disastrous. Right now relegation is a much greater threat than merely missing out on European places. The club finds itself considerably in debt and is proposing a maximum wage cap. In short it cannot afford to buy or spend its way out of trouble.
One small crumb of comfort is the decision by long time President, Clemens Tönnies, to stand down. In the face of ongoing criticism for his management of club business, together with simmering controversy over allegedly racist remarks made last year, the deteriorating performances on the pitch made his position well nigh untenable. Not only that but his meat processing factories are at the epicentre of the recent outbreak of Coronovirus in north west Germany.
With a fresh leadership there may yet be time for Schalke to halt the decline and return to its position among the top teams in the Bundesliga.