Schalke coach Jens Keller has vowed to read the riot act at his players following their DFB-Pokal home defeat to Hoffenheim.
Schalke’s hopes of returning to the Olympiastadion in Berlin for the final were ruined by their 3-1 loss to the Bundesliga strugglers.
The Royal Blues let their dream slip within 14 minutes, when former Philadelphia Union loanee Kai Herdling, and Kevin Volland and Roberto Firmino put the ball past keeper Ralf Faehrmann to make it 3-0 for Hoffenheim after only 35 minutes.
"Our first half was beyond the pale," a disgruntled Keller told reporters after the game. "I would have liked to substitute 10 players at half-time. We made many individual mistakes, every single player, I can’t single out anyone. That’s just not acceptable."
At the weekend, Schalke beat Stuttgart 3-0, giving them hope for a successful December. But with the Bundesliga title all but gone, and even qualification for Champions League doubtful, Schalke will need to readjust their goals for the campaign.
"We need to build up the team again, but firstly there has to be a Donnerwetter [a tirade]," Keller said. "How the Donnerwetter will look like is to stay in the dressing room."
Schalke midfielder Julian Draxler echoed Keller’s words, when he said: "You play s--- like this in the first half, you lose the game. It is possible to be there from the first minute. We are angry and annoyed -- by us all. We keep on saying the same, just because we are far away from playing on a constant level. We need to find that switch. Everybody needs to clean up his act."
Schalke keeper Ralf Faehrmann, who has taken over from the former Germany international Timo Hildebrand, conceded his first goal this season when he let Herdling’s cross from the left past him for Hoffenheim’s opening goal after 21 minutes, and was also unhappy withhis team's performance.
"We have such a quality in the squad and deliver that -- it’s just unworthy for Schalke," Faehrmann said. "We can’t put gloss on it. The next two games are very, very important for the club. If we play like we did for only one second, than it will be difficult."
Schalke have to travel to Borussia Moenchengladbach at the weekend before they entertain Basel at home next Wednesday in Europe.
Moenchengladbach have opened a four-point lead on Schalke in the race for the fourth Champions League spot, have won each of their seven home games in the Bundesliga this season.
On Wednesday, Schalke need to beat Basel at home to reach the knockout stages of Champions League.