Bundesliga strugglers Werder Bremen are expected to be without captain Clemens Fritz for the next six weeks after the defender tore a groin muscle in training.
"Things aren't looking so good," Fritz told Bremen newspaper the Weser Kurier.
"It has been determined that I have torn the tendon in the groin area at the base of the bone, so I will be out for a few weeks."
The injury happened in training and tests have shown the defender will only be able to return just before the Bundesliga's winter break begins in December.
Fritz's injury weakens a Bremen defence that has already conceded nearly two goals per game in the Bundesliga this season.
"He had been in good form in the last couple of weeks and really had some good performances," said Bremen coach Thomas Schaaf.
"He was really very valuable for the team, especially in the manner in which he played, but we have enough defensive players to take over his position and the responsibility."
Bremen have seven points after seven matches and are 12th in the league following last Friday's 3-1 defeat at Augsburg.