Left-back Sebastian Boenisch will miss the remainder of SV Werder Bremen's UEFA Champions League Group A campaign after cartilage damage was discovered during keyhole surgery to his right knee.
The 23-year-old, capped twice by Poland, is not expected to play again in 2010, with team doctor Götz Dimanski explaining: "Sebastian will start a recovery programme to bring him back to training as soon as possible. We will do everything to help him but it will take four to six months."
"The diagnosis was a punch in the face for me," said Boenisch, who has featured in a German Cup game and two UEFA Champions League fixtures this season. "The doctor told me the procedure was necessary and that everything will get better again. This injury will not kill me and I will give my all to return stronger than before."
Boenisch's absence increases the pressure on Bremen, who are already without central defenders Per Mertesacker (broken eye socket) and Naldo (knee), with left-back Petri Pasanen being forced into a central role. It is hoped that Mertesacker and Naldo might be available for Saturday's Bundesliga derby against Hamburger SV.