Shkodran Mustafi was dropped by Schalke on Saturday, with the club publicly confirming the decision was made for sporting reasons.

Schalke's German defender Shkodran Mustafi reacts during the German first division Bundesliga football match between 1 FC Union Berlin and FC Schalke 04 in Berlin on February 13, 2021. (Photo by ANNEGRET HILSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Schalke’s German defender Shkodran Mustafi reacts during the German first division Bundesliga football match between 1 FC Union Berlin and FC Schalke 04 in Berlin on February 13, 2021. (Photo by ANNEGRET HILSE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

When FC Schalke named their squad to face Bayer Leverkusen on Saturday, Shkodran Mustafi was absent from both the starting lineup and the bench.

It didn’t take long to find out why, with Schalke confirming on their Twitter account that Mustafi was not in the squad for “sporting reasons”. They did add that the defender would “have the chance to impress again in training next week”.

This isn’t hugely surprising, considering the team’s recent results. Schalke have conceded 13 goals in their last four games, with Mustafi starting all four of them and scoring one of those goals himself.

Schalke sit rooted to the bottom of the table with little left to lose. If they think Mustafi is holding them back, they have no reason to pander to him.

The only positive for Mustafi is that he only has a contract until the end of the season. If everything goes wrong for him at Schalke, he can just move on. He’s just going to find it more difficult to convince new clubs to sign him.

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