Schalke’s nightmare start to the season has taken a turn for the worst as record signing Breel Embolo will miss significant time after suffering a broken ankle in the club’s 1-1 draw with Augsburg.
The 19-year-old, signed over the summer for $27 million from Basel, had just begun to hit his stride at his new club, hitting a brace before the international break that led the club to a 4-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach, its first victory – and first points – of the league season. He returned from the break following a pair of wins with the Swiss national team, but a 24th-minute challenge by former Championship player Konstantinos Stafylidis left Embolo in a heap on the field, needing to be stretchered off.
Schalke soon confirmed the worst of fears, stating Embolo would miss 4-6 months with a broken ankle.
Augsburg manager Dirk Schuster threw Stafylidis under the bus, saying he “got himself into a stupid situation.” The 22-year-old Greek full-back is no stranger to the crunching tackle. With Championship club Fulham last season, Stafylidis was carded six times, including a sending-off against Leeds towards the end of the year that saw him lose his place in the team down the stretch.
The blow to Embolo is the second serious injury suffered by an important Schalke player early this season. Spanish defender Coke, signed from Sevilla over the summer, tore his ACL in his club debut back in early August.
Schalke has struggled mightily to start the season, with five straight defeats to open the campaign leaving them currently in 16th position with just four points.