Liverpool loanee Sepp van den Berg‘s time in Germany ended in disappointment as he was relegated from the Bundesliga with Schalke.
After 18 months on loan at Preston, Van den Berg departed for the Bundesliga last summer and spent the entirety of this season at Schalke.
It has been turbulent campaign, with injury meaning the youngster missed six months of the season before returning in April.
Since his reintroduction, he has started Schalke’s last four matches but it hasn’t been enough to save them from a shock relegation to the 2. Bundesliga for a second time in three years.
With Van den Berg in the middle of the back four, one win, one draw and a 6-0 defeat to Bayern Munich left Schalke needing to win and Stuttgart to drop points on the final day.
This would have seen them finish in 17th place, which would have sent them to a relegation play-off.
Stuttgart did draw their match against Hoffenheim but Schalke couldn’t uphold their end of the bargain, losing 4-2 to RB Leipzig.
It is a disappointing end to Van den Berg’s time by the Rhine, but he is far from at fault for the club’s relegation.
He was a permanent feature of manager Thomas Reis’ team when fit and was trusted enough to play in some of the club’s most crucial fixtures in modern times.
The Dutchman is set to return to Liverpool but did recently say: “If Schalke want to keep me, I’m definitely open to staying.”
This sentiment was echoed by the club with Schalke’s head of licensing, Gerald Asamoah, stating: “Ultimately we have to see how the situation is after the season.
“We all hope to stay in. Then maybe there’s a chance to persuade Sepp to stay.”
However, whether that man is Van den Berg – who will be eligible as a homegrown player from next season – remains to be seen.