Bayern Munich right-back Rafinha looks set for a lengthy spell on the sidelines after tearing a ligament in his left ankle during training on Saturday.
The club's Twitter feed confirmed the injury but gave little indication as to how long the 28-year-old Brazilian would be out for:
.@R13_official suffered a lateral ligament tear in his left ankle yesterday. The defender is unable to train for the time being.— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) August 10, 2014
The player's own devastated response to the injury suggests he could be out of action for some time, per UEFA: "Of course I am very disappointed. I was having a really good preparation until now. I am very, very sad."
Bayern play Borussia Dortmund in the DFL Supercup on Wednesday, while the defence of their Bundesliga title begins against Wolfsburg on Aug. 22.
Rafinha looks set to miss these encounters, a big blow for Bayern considering his importance to the side, illustrated by his 28 league appearances in last term's winning campaign.
In Rafinha's absence, Bayern boss Pep Guardiola may be forced to move Philipp Lahm back to his original right-back role, having played him predominantly as a central midfielder last season.
However, there may be some who see this as a blessing in disguise considering Lahm's fine performances in the position as Germany won the World Cup in Brazil, per football writer Graham Ruthven:
Watching O'Neill's analysis of Lahm. Undoubtedly the best right-back in the game, yet has played the last year in centre mid. D'oh!— Graham Ruthven (@grahamruthven) July 13, 2014
Rafinha's absence is certainly a blow for Bayern. He provides solidity on the right flank, and Guardiola will likely be reluctant to move Lahm to right-back.
The Dortmund encounter will be a good gauge of where Bayern stand ahead of the new league campaign for which the Bavarian outfit will once again be heavy favourites.
Despite losing most recently in preseason to the MLS All-Stars, Bayern's strength is such that they should challenge not just for the Bundesliga but for the Champions League also.
However, Rafinha's injury will force Guardiola to change his plans somewhat until the defender can return.