BERLIN: Borussia Dortmund will be short on defenders and firepower in front of goal when they travel to Eintracht Frankfurt on Saturday, with their title chances suffering a blow after top scorer Erling Haaland was ruled out for weeks.
The 20-year-old Norwegian will be sidelined with a muscle injury until January after he was surprisingly omitted from their squad in Wednesday's Champions League 1-1 draw against Lazio.
Coach Lucien Favre later confirmed Haaland suffered a muscle injury in training and would return in January. He has netted 10 times in his eight league games this season and another six times in four Champions League matches.
Dortmund also saw centre back Mats Hummels being helped off the pitch late in Wednesday's game after a knock on his ankle.
They were already without defenders Thomas Meunier and Emre Can ahead of Saturday.
"I just came from the hospital and it looks as if it is not too bad," Hummels said late on Wednesday on social media.
"It could be that it is ok in a few days. We will check it again on Thursday and see."
Dortmund do not have the luxury of dropping any points at this stage, with their shock 2-1 loss to Cologne last week sending them to fourth place.
Four points off leaders Bayern Munich, the Ruhr valley club must bounce back following two matches without a win in the past six days, if they are to stay in touch with the top.
To do that they will somehow need to cover the gaping hole in attack left by Haaland's absence.
"Until 11 or 12 months ago we were also playing without him," Dortmund sports director Michael Zorc said. "But obviously this hurts us now."
"Now it is up to the others to deal with it. We now need to become a bit more flexible and compensate for his scoring ability," he said.
Champions Bayern Munich host second-placed RB Leipzig, who will leapfrog into first place with a win.
Bayern, on 22 points, are currently two ahead of Leipzig, who joined the Bavarians in the Champions League knockout stage after Tuesday's 4-3 win at Istanbul Basaksehir.
Third-placed Bayer Leverkusen, on 19, travel on Sunday to strugglers Schalke 04, who have gone 25 league games without a win.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)