football

Bundesliga: Schalke relegated as Bayern close on title with win over Leverkusen


Schalke have been relegated from the Bundesliga for the first time in 33 years on Tuesday after losing 1-0 to fellow strugglers Arminia Bielefeld. The latest defeat of a miserable campaign left the league’s bottom club 13 points off the relegation play-off spot with only four matches left.

Fabian Klos’s powerful strike in the 50th minute sealed the fate of Schalke, who have managed only two wins in the entire season. Schalke never really threatened an equaliser, and went down to 10 men when Malick Thiaw was sent off for a second booking in the 71st minute. Ralf Fährmann saved a late penalty to keep the scoreline down before relegation was confirmed.

At the final whistle, Schalke players were left crying, swearing or just looking on in complete shock. “This is a very bitter hour for all Schalke supporters,” said the head coach Dimitrios Grammozis, who took over last month.

“We are brutally disappointed that we now know for certain that we have to go to the second division. Despite this disappointment we have to look ahead and field a team that will make our fans proud once more.”

Schalke drop into the second tier for the first time since 1988 after a historically bad campaign. Having gone through five coaches this season, the Royal Blues have conceded 76 goals, more than any other Bundesliga team since 2000. The stricken side went 30 league games without a win, falling narrowly short of the worst run in Bundesliga history.

One of Germany’s most fiercely supported clubs, the Gelsenkirchen club won the UEFA Cup in 1997 and reached the Champions League semi-finals in 2011. Seven times champions of Germany, Schalke have not won the Bundesliga since its creation in 1963.

Joshua Kimmich (centre) celebrates with his Bayern teammates after scoring their second goal.
Joshua Kimmich (centre) celebrates with his Bayern teammates after scoring their second goal. Photograph: Christof Stache/AFP/Getty Images

Bayern Munich put a turbulent week behind them and moved to within one win of a ninth straight league title with a 2-0 home win over Bayer Leverkusen. Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting volleyed Bayern ahead in the seventh minute, with Joshua Kimmich adding a second six minutes later after a defensive error from the visitors.

With the head coach, Hansi Flick, stating his desire to leave at the end of the season after Bayern’s Champions League defence was ended by PSG, this was a welcome win. It also took them 10 points clear at the top as RB Leipzig slumped to a shock 2-1 defeat at Cologne.

Jonas Hector scored both goals for the hosts in the second half, either side of Amadou Haidara’s strike as Julian Nagelsmann’s side were punished for missing a string of first-half chances. Eintracht Frankfurt moved above Wolfsburg and into third place with a 2-0 home victory over Augsburg.



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