Hannover have been hit by the news that goalkeeper Robert Enke could be sidelined for up to 12 weeks after suffering a hand injury while on duty with the German national team.
The 31-year-old has returned to his club for surgery, after picking up the injury while saving a shot from Philipp Lahm in the build-up to Saturday's World Cup qualifier against Russia.
Enke, who was finally set to enjoy a run as his country's number one following the recent retirements of Jens Lehmann and Oliver Kahn, is now highly unlikely to return to action before the end of January.
"The joint will be secured with a so-called Herbert screw," said team doctor Wego Kregehr, referring to the treatment for a scaphoid fracture.
"Robert will be out in all probability for 12 weeks."
Another man currently on the sidelines, Bayern Munich midfielder Hamit Altintop, is refusing to put a timescale on his comeback despite returning to training this week.
Altintop, 25, has been pencilled in for a January return following foot surgery, but the Turkey international is 'taking each week as it comes'.
He underwent surgery after suffering a recurrence of the long-standing injury during Bayern's first game of the new Bundesliga season.
"I'm in great shape and it's all going according to plan," he told the club's official website.
"I'm already in a position to work on my legs and upper body, so that once it comes to running again I won't be too far behind. It's getting better and I'm on the right track."
Meanwhile, Altintop's club have been backed to overcome a dismal start to the season under new head coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
Former Bayern chief Ottmar Hitzfeld commented: "They have made a bad start, but the season is still long.
"Not too much has happened and a real team has yet to be formed, but I am still convinced that Bayern have a good chance of being German champions."
If Bayern are to challenge for honours then it looks increasingly likely that they will do so without the influence of Tottenham Hotspur target Lukas Podolski.
The German international's attitude was recently questioned by club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge and the 23-year-old forward has admitted he will consider his future at the Allianz Arena during the January transfer window.Reuse content