Bitter blow for Leverkusen's Helmes
Bayer Leverkusen striker Patrick Helmes is facing a lengthy spell on the sidelines after tearing cruciate knee ligaments during his holiday.
The Germany international picked up the injury while keeping himself fit during the summer break and underwent surgery today in Cologne.
He is set to miss up to six months, effectively ruling him out of the first half of the 2009/10 season.
Helmes was Leverkusen's top goalscorer last term with 21 goals in his first year with the club after joining from Cologne.
"This is very bitter for Patrick and we are certainly going to miss him," said new Leverkusen coach Jupp Heynckes.
With a year to go before the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, Germany coach Joachim Loew said he had sympathy for the striker who has 12 caps and scored in the 2-1 friendly defeat to England last November.
"That is unfortunate for Patrick that he picked up an injury in the summer holiday," said Loew.
"Whether it sets him back for the World Cup, it is really too early to say.
"Philipp Lahm had a similar situation in 2006 and he was back in time and scored the opening goal," he said.