Werder Bremen defender Per Mertesacker admits the team are desperately short of players for the coming Bundesliga season.
Mertesacker, a Germany international, claims injuries in defence have left Bremen in urgent need of new recruits.
''We are totally understaffed, simply because we have too many injuries,'' Mertesacker, who has himself been suffering from a heel problem since May, said in the Bild newspaper.
Bremen returned to pre-season training on Wednesday, but defenders Mikael Silvestre and Lukas Schmitz, signed last month from Schalke, were also unable to take part.
''I would be pleased if we brought in fit players,'' added Mertesacker.
Bremen could only finish 13th in the Bundesliga last season, just five points above the bottom three.