Leverkusen captain Lars Bender has been ruled out for the rest of the year after he underwent ankle surgery in Basel on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old went under the knife in an attempt to rectify a persistent ankle problem which has seen him sidelined since Leverkusen's 6-0 DFB-Pokal thrashing of Viktoria Koln on October 28.
“Lars Bender has successfully undergone surgery on his right ankle in a hospital in Basel on Tuesday,” a club statement said. “The Leverkusen captain will remain in Switzerland for a week and then start his recovery in Leverkusen.
“An operation had become necessary due to his ongoing problems. Bender will be unavailable for the remainder of 2015.”
Leverkusen have endured a mediocre run of form in Bender's absence, having won two games, drawn two and lost two in all competitions.
Roger Schmidt's side currently sit in sixth place on the Bundesliga standings and their next assignment is an away trip to Hertha Berlin, who sit one spot above them, on Saturday.