VfB Stuttgart could be without three key midfielders when they visit SL Benfica next Thursday after injuries to Christian Gentner, Timo Gebhart and Arthur Boka.
Of that trio, Boka's injury looks the most serious after he returned from international duty with Ivory Coast with what Stuttgart believe to be a torn knee ligament. The 27-year-old is to undergo a scan but the German club fear he will be out for several week, meaning he would miss both legs of the UEFA Europa League round of 32 tie with Benfica on 17 and 24 February.
Struggling to make at least the first game in Portugal is Christian Gentner, who has torn a collateral ligament in his ankle and definitely sits out Saturday's Bundesliga home match against 1. FC Nürnberg. He is joined on the sidelines by Timo Gebhart after a setback in his recovery from an ankle problem sustained at the end of 2010.
At best, coach Bruno Labbadia will only have Gentner and Gebhart back in training next week and he said: "This is quite upsetting but we can't change it. We need to deal with these setbacks."
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