Schalke release midfielders Boateng, Sam after Cologne defeat

Kevin Prince Boateng moments after Schalke's 2-0 at Cologne in which he was substituted in the 59th minute. 

Lars Baron/Bongarts/Getty Images

GELSENKIRCHEN, Germany —

Schalke say they are releasing midfielders Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sidney Sam with immediate effect.

The move comes less than 24 hours after Schalke’s 2-0 loss in Cologne that threatens their hopes of gaining a place in next season’s Europa League.

Boateng was sent home from Ghana’s team at last year’s World Cup in Brazil.

Also, midfielder Marco Hoeger has been suspended until the end of the week.

With two matches remaining in the season, Schalke are two points ahead of seventh-place Borussia Dortmund.

Schalke began the season with the ambition of qualifying for the Champions League but has struggled under coach Roberto di Matteo.