The players and employees of BERLIN-Chalke 04 were attacked with eggs on Wednesday and threatened by their own fans after a 1-0 defeat by Arminia Bielefeld sealed relegation from the Bundesliga for the first time in 33 years.

The 21st league defeat of Schalke on Tuesday ensured that the “Royal Blues” have no hope of escaping the decline in the last four games of the season.

When they returned to the Schalke Stadium early on Wednesday, they were greeted by around 500 to 600 fans and should briefly discuss the situation with them.

“As part of this meeting, there were some as yet unidentified people who were clearly going over lines that are not negotiable for Schalke,” the club said in a statement.

The police in Gelsenkirchen said the fans had already started to light fireworks and torches in the stadium immediately after the end of the game.

“When the team arrived and got off the bus, there were heavy protests,” police said in a statement. “Eggs were thrown at the players who were also verbally attacked.”

It was said that a strong police presence on site had been mobilized to avoid an escalation.

Schalke is one of the most heavily supported clubs in Germany and usually attracts more than 60,000 fans to home games.

“Although there is understandable frustration and anger for relegation, the club will never accept this if the physical integrity of its players and staff is at risk,” said Schalke. “The association strongly condemns this behavior and of course supports its employees.”

Schalke, runner-up in the Bundesliga in 2018, has completed five coaches in the current season and conceded 76 goals, more than any other team in an entire season since 2000.

This is Schalke’s fourth relegation overall and the first since 1988. The club has won the German title seven times, the last in 1958, but has not yet been crowned champions since the Bundesliga was introduced in 1963.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Peter Rutherford and Christian Radnedge)