Schalke sack coach Gross, club officials as relegation nears

FILE PHOTO: Bundesliga - VfB Stuttgart v Schalke 04 - Mercedes-Benz Arena, Stuttgart, Germany - February 27, 2021 Schalke 04 coach Christian Gross before the match Pool via REUTERS/Thomas Kienzle DFL regulations prohibit any use of photographs as image sequences and/or quasi-video.

BERLIN (Reuters) - Schalke 04 on Sunday sacked coach Christian Gross as well as several club officials, including sports director Jochen Schneider, in sweeping changes following their 5-1 loss to VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga on Saturday.

Peter Knaebel will be taking over in an interim role until further notice, the club said.

Gross was their fourth coach this season after David Wagner, Manuel Baum and briefly Huub Stevens. However, the Swiss failed to turn their season around after taking over in December.

His team lost seven out of 10 league games since then and won just one.

Player director Sascha Riether and the club performance director were also sacked.

Schalke are in last place in the league standings on nine points, nine behind 16th spot that leads to a relegation playoff place.

“The decisions taken are unavoidable after our disappointing performances against Stuttgart and Borussia Dortmund,” board chairman Jens Buchta said in a statement.

“We do not need to talk around it. The sporting situation is clear. Now the team has to play a third of the season as successfully as possible. The players owe it to the fans and the club.”

Schalke had also lost the Ruhr valley derby 4-0 to Dortmund last week.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Christian Radnedge