Bayern Munich could be without defender Holger Badstuber for the whole of next season after a fourth knee operation.
Badstuber has already been out since December after he tore his cruciate ligaments in Bayern's 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund.
The 24-year-old had surgery in an attempt to recover from the injury but complications meant a second operation was needed. After suffering a relapse on his road to recovery, surgery for the third time was required.
He has now been told that a further operation will be required once his wounds are healed again, with the earliest date for that being October.
There is then another six month recovery period, so even if everything goes well it looks like the German will be out until April at the earliest.
The defender has made 149 appearances for Bayern Munich scoring one goal, after he stepped up following 55 appearances for Munich's reserve side.
He has also played for his country on 30 occasions, scoring his only international goal against Azerbaijan in 2010.
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