Schalke goalkeeper Ralf Fährmann has been named as the new club captain for the 2017/18 season, with Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka vice captain.
Fährmann takes over as skipper from centre-back Benedikt Höwedes, who wore the armband for six years.
"It's not a decision that has been made against Benedikt," explained head coach Domenico Tedesco. "Benedikt always stands up when things aren't going so well but we don't want other players to hide behind him. We want to give the team a new impetus and share responsibility across a number of players. On top of that, we want Leon and Ralf to lead from the front. We're starting on a new path. Benedikt still has the right and the duty to speak up as he has until now, just as other players do."
Fährmann did not miss a minute of action for Schalke last season, playing from start in finish in all 34 league games, as well as the side's fixtures in the DFB Cup and UEFA Europa League. The 28-year-old has been at the club for almost his entire career after joining as a youth player in 2003. Between 2009 and 2011 he spent two seasons at Eintracht Frankfurt, where he made 18 of his 145 Bundesliga outings to date.
Goretzka was likewise a key player for the Royal Blues last term, and despite the team's disappointing tenth-place finish he was called up to the senior Germany squad for the Confederations Cup 2017. He was excellent at the tournament, scoring three goals to help Germany to the title.
Watch: Goretzka on Schalke hopes and future
Höwedes published a statement on his official Facebook account in reaction to the news:
"I was able to lead Schalke out onto the pitch as captain for six years. Then, as now, it was a role that filled me with pride. From going past the pictures of former captains such as Ernst Kuzorra and Berni Klodt on the way into the changing room, to kick-off and beyond.
The day before yesterday the coach informed me that he not only wants to change things up in terms of our training and tactics, but also in terms of the captaincy of the team. Although I don't agree with the decision, I must accept it. As long as I'm a Schalke player I'll give my all both on and off the pitch for the club, its employees, the team and the fans. As a world champion, a Germany international, a friend and a grafter.
I wish Ralf Fährmann every success in the role, both as a friend and as a player. Together we want to lead Schalke back to where the club belong: in European competition. Good luck!"