Borussia Dortmund captain Sebastian Kehl is facing six weeks on the sidelines with an ankle injury picked up in training.
The midfielder sustained an avulsion fracture on Sunday, with Dortmund club doctor Markus Braun confirming via the club's official website after a scan on Monday that the 33-year-old will be out until November.
Kehl has only started one Bundesliga game so far this season as he closes in on his 250th league appearance for the club. To date, he has featured in 238 league games for Dortmund since signing for them in 2002.
With Germany international Ilkay Gundogan also currently sidelined, Kehl’s injury limits Dortmund coach Jurgen Klopp’s options in the base of midfield to two players -- Nuri Sahin and Sven Bender.
There are several players in the squad who could potentially be drafted in to cover the position if needed -- including right-back Kevin Grosskreutz, winger Jakub Blaszczykowski, central midfielder Henrikh Mkhytarian, reserve player Oliver Kirch and centre-back duo Sokratis and Mats Hummels -- but any of those six players would necessitate a drastic change in the line-up.
On Wednesday, Borussia Dortmund face a difficult task in Champions League, when they kick off their campaign against the Serie A leaders Napoli at the Stadio San Paolo.