Schalke close in on existential crisis

There are ‘must-win’ games and there are ‘relegation six-pointers’ but in the case of Schalke 04, this weekend supersedes both of those old footballing cliches as the Königsblauen face up to the reality of actually fighting for their ultimate survival. With the club relegated from the Bundesliga really struggling in the second tier and out of the automatic relegation places only on goal difference, news has emerged that should they ultimately suffer relegation, they would not get a licence for the 3.Liga and would be condemned to the obscurity of the Regionalliga.

They face 16th place Eintracht Braunschweig at the weekend with a win incredibly necessary in order to help fend off a potential relegation that could spell the end of the club as we know it. How the mighty have fallen!

Germany’s second most supported club and one with an incredibly rich history will be in deep, deep trouble should the unthinkable second relegation actually become a reality. The club have to submit their licence documents to the DFB for the 3.Liga by March 1st and to the DFL for the 2.Bundesliga by March 15th. Should they go down, their precarious financial situation would have grave consequences meaning it would be impossible to obtain a licence for the third tier.  

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Schalke’s current debt is said to be in the region of €165 million and they would be unable to cope with the loss of income relegation would incur. The club currently receives around €20 million in TV money, whereas the 3.Liga clubs have to share €23 million amongst all clubs. Advertising revenue would also drastically reduce and some of the club’s existing contracts with partners would become invalidated. There is the added problem that none of the players have the valid paperwork to play in the third tier. 

Not that too many of the squad would be hanging around, with a serious depletion of the playing staff inevitable. There would be huge job losses at the club and one of Germany’s biggest clubs would find itself forced to ply its trade in the Regionalliga-West amongst the minnows.

No money, no team, no licence for the 3.Liga! 

These are of course worse-case scenarios, but with the Knappen seemingly in freefall at the moment, the club has to seriously consider the potential repercussions of their current crisis. The only way out of the potential abyss is to turn things around on the pitch and that is the monumental task facing coach Karel Geraerts, who is the third coach to try his hand in the Schalke dugout this season. Thomas Reis was fired after seven matches and interim Matthias Kreutzer lost both his games in charge. 

If the aforementioned developments were to take place, it would be an extremely dark day for German football. Rivalries aside, there are not many fans (BVB included), who would wish such a fall from grace on such a Traditionsverein.

Something has to change in Gelsenkirchen and it needs to change fast if the unthinkable is not to become a horrible reality.  

About Mathew Burt 1053 Articles
Former writer at Goal.com and JustFootball, I've been doing my thing for Bundesliga Fanatic since 2015. A long-suffering Werder Bremen fan and disciple of the Germanic holy trinity...Bier. Wurst und Fußball

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