Bayern Munich have hit a major injury problem ahead of the resumption of the Bundesliga with striker Roque Santa Cruz ruled out for at least six weeks with knee ligament trouble.
Santa Cruz, 21, was injured in winter break training in Spain.
Coach Ottmar Hitzfeld said: “This is a major setback which we did not need. We have already had enough injury problems this season and we believe it is time for Santa Cruz to develop into one of our key players. We have great hopes for him.”
Bayern will also miss defensive midfielder Jens Jeremies when the German league restarts after its winter break in two weeks time.
Jeremies, 28, injured his left ankle during a 0-0 friendly draw in Spain on Friday against Galatasaray. Bosnian Hamid Salihamidzic has been ruled out for the entire season.
Hitzfeld said: “Jeremies has been our anchor in midfield this season but he badly needed the training and the games.”
By Keir Radnedge