Bayern Munich's Franck Ribery will miss the next four weeks - including France's FIFA World Cup™ play-off matches against Republic of Ireland - to enable him to recover from a persistent knee injury.

The 26-year-old has struggled all season and Bayern coach Louis van Gaal insists the French playmaker needs an extended break to put the injury behind him. "We have made the decision that we want to allow him time for the injury to heal properly," said the Dutchman.

Ribery is set to miss France's two-legged play-off qualifiers against Ireland on 14 and 18 November. And he also looks set to miss Bayern's forthcoming important Bundesliga games, including trips to Stuttgart and home to Schalke as well as Leverkusen.

The right knee tendon injury, which hindered Ribery's pre-season preparations, flared up again on 3 October in the 0-0 draw with Cologne and the Frenchman has not played since. Van Gaal admitted they missed the midfielder during Wednesday night's 2-1 UEFA Champions League defeat in Bordeaux. "Without Ribery we have lost our creativeness," he said.

France's assistant-coach Alain Boghossian admits that he is all but resigned to losing Ribery for the showdowns with the Irish. "Bayern do want him to have an operation," he said. "They are mulling it over... but for me, Frank is all but out for the play-offs."