Schalke indefinitely suspend Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam
Schalke have clarified an initial club statement that they had released midfielders Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam by confirming that the duo are instead suspended indefinitely.
Schalke have been on a dismal run, winning just two of their last 12 Bundesliga games to drop out of contention for the Champions League spots, and they now face a battle simply to remain in the Europa League qualification places following their 2-0 defeat at Cologne on Sunday.
Sporting director Horst Heldt told Sky after Sunday's defeat that some players would not "survive the next training session" if they failed to show greater commitment.
The club issued a statement on Monday saying that both Boateng and Sam had been released, with Marco Hoger suspended.
However, the Bundesliga side released another statement later on Monday afternoon confirming the duo were still on the books, with Heldt saying: "After what we saw yesterday and long discussions, we have decided to immediately suspend both Sidney Sam and Kevin-Prince Boateng indefinitely.
"We have the feeling that the level of trust is no longer there and we're not convinced that they can help us in the two remaining games against Paderborn and Hamburg.
"The content of our discussions only concerns the players and myself. I will not publicly communicate exactly what was discussed. The decision is final. There is no going back.
"We also spoke with Marco Hoger. We have suspended him for a week because we also have doubts about his loyalty to the club. It's not about the loyalty to individuals, but rather about the attitude of giving everything to be successful.
"Hoger's temporary suspension, however, is subject to him spending this week thinking things over. We will sit down the day after the Paderborn game and discuss whether it makes sense to carry on working together beyond this season."
The sporting director has also called for the team to put everything into qualifying for the Europa League, adding: "I have told the team that these are the first consequences, which I have put into place after discussions with the coach.
"We will see how the other players react over the coming days. I expect that everyone has realised that we're not messing about and no one is untouchable."
Boateng, who joined Schalke from AC Milan in the summer of 2013, was widely expected to leave the Royal Blues after two disappointing years at the Veltins Arena, which have seen him drop in the pecking order, particularly after his lacklustre performance in the 3-0 defeat at Borussia Dortmund in late February.
The midfielder had returned to the starting lineup for the game at Cologne after he scored a last-minute winner in the 3-2 victory over bottom club Stuttgart last week, but another poor display looks to have brought an early end to his time in Gelsenkirchen.
Sidney Sam, meanwhile, had arrived at the Veltins Arena on a free transfer from Bayer Leverkusen only last summer but has endured a highly disappointing season.
The 27-year-old former Germany international has featured in just 11 Bundesliga games, last playing for the club in the 0-0 draw with strugglers Freiburg in mid-April.
ESPN FC correspondent Stephan Uersfeld contributed to this report.