Germany captain Michael Ballack suffered a further set-back on his return from injury when he was forced to limp out of Bayer Leverkusen's 2-2 draw at 10-man Hanover today.
The 33-year-old came off after just 30 minutes following a heavy tackle on his left knee. "His knee was twisted in the tackle and hyper-extended, we don't think it is anything serious, but we will have to see," said Leverkusen Jupp Heynckes. "He told me he couldn't play on, so we took him off."
Ballack missed the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ after tearing a ligament in his right ankle and on only his third Bundesliga game back, he injured his left knee and despite trying to play on, was substituted soon after.
Having seen his free-kick attempt saved, his first real chance to score in three German league games, Ballack was powerless as Hanover's Côte d'Ivoire striker Didier Ya Konan had earlier scored his second goal in three games. The 26-year-old capitalised on a rare mistake in Leverkusen's defence and slotted his shot past Germany goalkeeper Rene Adler on 20 minutes.
Hanover were reduced to 10 men after just 36 minutes when Austrian defender Emanuel Pogatetz was shown a second yellow card and the subsequent red when he sent Leverkusen's Arturo Vidal flying with a dangerous tackle.
The hosts scored their second goal when Norway striker Mohammed Abdellaoue was left unmarked at a corner and headed home on 50 minutes. Leverkusen's Swiss striker Eren Derdiyok scored on 62 minutes, just two minutes after coming off the bench before Patrick Helmes scored from a free-kick in the 89th minute as Leverkusen fought back.
The result leaves Leverkusen in mid-table and Hanover third behind leaders Hoffenheim.
Elsewhere, Hamburg drew 1-1 at home to Nuremberg, a result which leaves them second in the table. Stuttgart lost 2-1 at Freiburg, their third defeat of the season while Eintracht Frankfurt routed 'Gladbach 4-0.
Ex-England manager Steve McClaren is still looking for his first win of the season as his Wolfsburg side lost 2-0 at Dortmund whose Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa scored his first Bundesliga goal.
Defending champions Bayern Munich host Werder Bremen later today.
Last night, Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer conceded a late own goal as Hoffenheim kept up their dream start to the season to claim their third-straight victory with a 2-0 win over Schalke.
This was Schalke's third defeat in three games and their Germany defender Christoph Metzelder face a race against time to be fit for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League clash with Lyon after picking up a groin strain.