Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Michael Ballack faces a six-week injury lay-off after picking up a micro-fracture in his left shin on Saturday.
Ballack lasted only half an hour of Leverkusen's 2-2 draw with Hannover after injuring his leg in a challenge with Sergio Pinto. He appeared confident when he said the injury was nothing dramatic, but tests this morning have confirmed he has picked up a micro-fracture at the upper end of his left shin and that he will need a break of up to six weeks to recover.
The injury comes just as the 33-year-old was returning to full fitness after an ankle injury had ruled him out of the World Cup. As a result, he will miss Germany's next World Cup qualifiers against Turkey and Kazakhstan next month and he is a doubt for the national team's final fixture of 2010 against Sweden on November 17.
Germany coach Joachim Low last week confirmed that Ballack would only return to the national team, and be restored as captain, when he had proven his form and fitness.