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Forward Sidney Sam left out of Leverkusen squad for match against future team Schalke

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LEVERKUSEN, Germany - Bayer Leverkusen coach Sami Hyypia has dropped Sidney Sam for the match against Schalke on Saturday because the forward is set to join the Bundesliga rival next season.

Hyypia says he wants "to protect both Sam and ourselves" by not letting him play against "a direct competitor" for a place in the Champions League.

Leverkusen is second in the Bundesliga, six points ahead of Schalke in fourth.

Sam has seven goals and seven assists this season. Hyypia says the decision to leave Sam out "has nothing to do with his performance."

Schalke manager Horst Heldt also says Sam is not in "a simple situation."

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