Ballack injury worse than first feared

Bayer 04 Leverkusen will be without Michael Ballack for the rest of the UEFA Europa League group stage after his shin injury was found to be "much worse than originally thought".

Michael Ballack will be out of action until the new year
Michael Ballack will be out of action until the new year ©Getty Images

Michael Ballack has been ruled out for the rest of the year after breaking the upper surface of the tibia in his left leg. The Bayer 04 Leverkusen midfielder suffered the fracture, at the top of the shin bone, during the match against Hannover 96 on 11 September.

The injury had initially been considered minor, but scans have since shown that it was "much worse than originally thought", according to the Bundesliga club. Ballack's leg could be in plaster for six weeks, a situation coach Jupp Heynckes described as "regrettable". Heynckes added: "I hope Michael Ballack will return to the team at full strength for the second half of the season after his rehabilitation and preparation is complete."

Ballack missed the FIFA World Cup because of an ankle injury and since joining Leverkusen from Chelsea FC in the summer had featured in just two Bundesliga matches prior to the Hannover game. The break rules the Germany captain out of Leverkusen's UEFA Europa League group stage campaign as well as the 17 November friendly against Sweden which had been pencilled in as his return to the national side.