Podolski injury worse than first feared

November 23, 2006

BERLIN, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Lukas Podolski's injured ankle has not healed as quickly as expected and the Germany striker will be out for a prolonged spell, Bayern Munich coach Felix Magath said on Thursday.

Podolski, 21, suffered the injury in training four weeks ago in a challenge with team mate Mark van Bommel.

He was expected to be out for three weeks but has only just been able to start light running and it is unclear when he will resume full training with his team mates.

'His recovery isn't making progress the way we had hoped,' Magath said. Podolski's target was to return for Bayern against VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga on Nov. 18.

Podolski, who was named the best young player at this year's World Cup, moved from Cologne to Bayern before the season and after a poor start his form has been steadily improving.

Champions Bayern have been hit hard by injuries this season. Their England midfielder Owen Hargreaves and centre back Valerien Ismael are also on the long-term casualty list.