Schalke drop captain Faehrmann as Man City loom

Berlin (AFP) –


Schalke dropped a bombshell by benching captain and goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann for Sunday's Bundesliga clash against Wolfsburg, a month ahead of their Champions League last 16 tie against Manchester City.

The 30-year-old Faehrmann, who has made 228 appearances for Schalke and came up though the club's academy, was replaced by Germany Under-21 goalkeeper Alexander Nuebel for the club's first league game after the winter break.

"The decision was extremely hard for us, he is quite rightly our captain and remains a great person and goalkeeper," Schalke coach Domenico Tedesco told Sky.

"But in the last few games there was a bit of uncertainty there and Alex did well in training.

"We felt that 'Ralle' was not free in the head," added Tedesco, who said Faehrmann's demotion was "a snapshot, nothing permanent".

According to German daily Bild, Faehrmann was told during the club's winter training camp in Benidorm that his place was no longer guaranteed.

Despite having qualified for the Champions League's knock-out phase, Schalke, last season's runners-up in Germany, are having a dreadful season and remain just above the relegation places after losing nine of their 17 league games.

They host Pep Guardiola's Manchester City in Gelsenkirchen on February 20 with the return leg on March 12.