Werder Bremen could be without top goalscorer Claudio Pizarro for the rest of the year after he was diagnosed with torn ligaments in his right knee.
The Peru international underwent a scan yesterday which confirmed the worst.
"Sadly, the scan showed something up,'' he told the Kreiszeitung Syke newspaper. "It's the inner ligaments of my knee. This is such bad timing, it's terrible.''
Pizarro has scored 11 goals in 12 games this season and holds the record for being the foreign player with the most number of goals in the Bundesliga.
However, he is unlikely to add to that tally until 2012.
"It could take a week, but it could take two or three or even four,'' Pizarro added.
Bremen travel to Stuttgart at the weekend before ending the calendar year with fixtures against Bayern Munich, Wolfsburg and Schalke.
"This injury comes at a bad time,'' Bremen's general manager Klaus Allofs admitted.
"But we have to ensure that we compensate for it. Sometimes it can be the case that when you have somebody playing so dominantly like Claudio then the others remain almost statuesque in the shadows. Now they have to emerge and try to take their chance.''