Philipp Lahm on Friday warned his Bayern Munich team-mates not to use the absence of French winger Franck Ribery as an excuse for poor performances over the coming weeks.
"We already showed last season that we could play well and win without Franck and Arjen Robben," said Lahm ahead of his side's match at home to surprise Bundesliga leaders Mainz on Saturday. "That has to be our objective once again in the new few weeks."
Ribery is expected to be out for at least four weeks after injuring his ankle, while Dutch winger Robben remains sidelined with a thigh muscle problem that he sustained prior to the FIFA World Cup. Bayern are currently eighth in the German standings with eight points after an underwhelming start to the campaign.
Lahm says Bayern cannot afford to drop more points, especially as their forthcoming fixtures - against Mainz, Borussia Dortmund, Hanover and Hamburg - pit them against the form teams of the season so far
"We're already wasted too many points," said Lahm, who captained Germany to a third-place finish at the FIFA World Cup. "We have to beat Mainz, otherwise the gap to the top will be simply too big."
Bayern coach Louis van Gaal warned his side that the game against the leaders, who have won all five of their opening games to top the Bundesliga for the first time in their history, would be "difficult to win".
"They have great confidence in themselves, they don't hold anything back. But being the leader in September doesn't mean anything," said the Dutch coach, who is also missing left-back Diego Contento through injury.