Schalke players and staff have been attacked with eggs by their own fans following their first relegation from the Bundesliga in 33 years.
The club suffered their 21st league defeat of the season in a 1-0 loss at Arminia Bielefeld on Tuesday.
Returning to Schalke’s stadium early on Wednesday, the players were met by up to 600 of the club’s fans.
Gelsenkirchen police said fans had already started lighting fireworks and flares near the ground after the game.
“Once the team arrived and stepped off the bus there were severe protests,” police said in a statement. “Eggs were thrown at the players, who were also verbally attacked.”
In response to the incident, Schalke said some “unidentified individuals clearly stepped over lines that are non-negotiable”.
“While there is understandable frustration and anger for the relegation, the club will never accept it when the physical integrity of its players and staff is put in danger,” Schalke said.
The 2018 Bundesliga runners-up are one of the most well-supported clubs in Germany, typically drawing more than 60,000 fans to home games.