Domenico Tedesco has been relieved of his duties and replaced by an iconic duo at the Schalke helm. The 7-0 loss to Manchester City proved the final straw as the 33-year-old becomes the fifth casualty of the season.
Schalke announced on Thursday that they had parted ways with head coach Domenico Tedesco following a run of form which culminated in Tuesday's humiliating 7-0 loss to Manchester City.
Huub Stevens and Mike Büskens, two iconic figures in Royal Blues' history, will take charge of Saturday's clash against Leipzig as the club look to steer clear of the relegation battle with nine games and a German Cup quarter final to come.
Read more: Opinion Schalke are a shambles
"Negative progress" produces untenable situation
Despite taking a training session on Thursday morning, the club ultimately decided that the current situation was untenable despite Tedesco "100 per cent identifying with the club and its values". The Royal Blues have picked up just two wins since the turn of the year.
"This was anything but an easy decision because Domenico Tedesco is held in very high regard at Schalke," said sporting director Jochen Schneider. "He took charge of a very positive sporting development last season that was highlighted by finishing second in the league, but we can't let that distract from the negative progress of this season."
"That was why, upon my appointment, I demanded an improvement which is essential given the severity of our current sporting situation in the Bundesliga. After thorough consideration, we've reached the decision that this is no longer possible with the current coaching setup."
Schalke seek fresh start against Leipzig
At the start of the season, Schalke could have been forgiven for thinking that a Matchday 26 clash with Leipzig could prove a pivotal six-pointer in the race for a top four finish.
Instead the encounter will be a stark reminder of just how far the Royal Blues have plummeted in the current campaign. A run of five straight losses have seen Schalke crash out of the Champions League, whilst leaving them languishing just four points clear of Stuttgart in the relegation playoff spot.
Of greater concern is that recent performances against the likes of City, Mainz and Düsseldorf bore so little semblance of the side that finished second only to Bayern Munich in Tedesco's debut season.
A record of 21 goals conceded in the last five games tells the whole story of how this season has chipped away at Schalke's reputation of boasting one of the meanest backlines in German football.
Mike Büskens (left) and Huub Stevens (right) have been brought in an in interim basis for the game against Leipzig
Throwback Thursday at Schalke
Stevens and Büskens have been drafted in on an interim basis and bring a wealth of experience to the task at hand. Stevens, who was voted as Schalke's 'Coach of the Century', has twice coached the Royal Blues between 1996 and 2002 as well as from 2011 to 2012.
Büskens, meanwhile, played under Stevens in Schalke UEFA Cup winning campaign in 1997 and, having taken over on an interim basis for the business end of the 2007-08 and 2008-09 campaign, will fill the role of assistant.
With the international break just around the corner, sporting director Schneider will be undoubtedly be looking to use the upcoming hiatus to his advantage when it comes to finding a permanent solution for an unattractive proposition.
Given their precarious position Schalke cannot afford to put another step wrong, but with Tedesco having been shown the door, the players will have no one left to blame if they fail to raise their game against top-four hopefuls Leipzig on Saturday.