Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Michael Ballack faces a six-week on the sidelines after picking up a micro-fracture in his left shin.
Ballack suffered the injury after a challenge by Hannover’s Sergio Pinto had forced him to leave the pitch half an hour into his third Bundesliga fixture.
The Germany captain had only just recovered from an ankle injury which ruled him out of the World Cup and this latest injury setback hits his hopes of returning to the national team this year.
“I am really sorry for Michael that he has to deal with another injury setback,” commented Germany coach Joachim Low, who last week gave the 33-year-old his backing by confirming that he will be given the captain’s armband when he returns to full fitness. “Obviously I wish him a quick and good recovery.”
Ballack’s recent career has been hindered by injury in recent years and he almost missed Euro 2008 due to an injury he picked up immediately prior to the tournament.
“It is incredible what bad luck the lad has,” Leverkusen’s director of sport Rudi Voller told Bild. “We are all shocked.”