Schalke release Boateng and Sam after Cologne defeat

Bundesliga side Schalke have released attacking midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng and forward Sidney Sam.

Schalke have astonishingly released Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam in the aftermath of Sunday's 2-0 Bundesliga defeat to Cologne.

Roberto Di Matteo's men have won just four times domestically since the resumption of the Bundesliga campaign following the mid-season break, a run of form that has ended Schalke's UEFA Champions League aspirations.

The 2-0 reverse at RheinEnergieStadion secured Cologne's top-flight status and left Schalke 13 points behind fourth-placed Bayer Leverkusen.

Julian Draxler described Schalke's performance as one of the worst in recent years.

General manager Horst Heldt  - who has reportedly held a crisis meeting with Di Matteo - said after the game: "Some players are - regardless of contractual arrangements - going to feel the consequences."

And the Gelsenkirchen club have - for as yet unknown reasons - opted to cut ties with two of their most high-profile players following the loss.

Sam was just one year into a four-year contract he signed in a switch from Leverkusen while Boateng joined from Milan in 2013.

In addition, Marco Hoger has been suspended from training and first-team action, ruling him out of Saturday's match at home to Paderborn.