BERLIN, Feb. 23 (Xinhua) -- Christian Heidel will step down as Schalke's sporting director by this summer, the club confirmed in an official statement on Saturday.
The 55-year-old will not fulfil his contract, stipulated until June 2020, as Heidel asked the supervisory board to void his contract this summer.
"In the Bundesliga, we are lagging behind our expectations for a variety of reasons. I naturally have the overall responsibility for this. I have always acted consistently in my life. That's why I informed supervisory board chairman Clemens Tonnies of my firm decision last Monday," Heidel said.
Heidel took the reins at Schalke in May 2016 and helped the club finish second in the Bundesliga and reach at least the quarterfinals in the German Cup and Europa League as well as the last 16 in the Champions League in the last three years.
However, the current performances in the Bundesliga leave much to be desired as the "Royal Blues" suffered a 3-0 loss to Mainz on Saturday to remain on the 14th position in the standings and 13 points away from the international business.
"His decision surprised us. We will make and introduce the succession plan in due course. This will happen quickly, but not hastily. We thank Christian Heidel very much for the work done. We will, of course, work together in a trusting and responsible manner until the transaction is handed over," Schalke CEO Clemens Tonnies said.
Schalke encounter newly-promoted Foruna Dusseldorf in the 24th round of the Bundesliga on March 2. Enditem