Bayern Munich have revealed that Franck Ribery is making steady progress in his recovery from injury.
The France international is currently sidelined with a persistent knee problem, which has been hindering him since the summer.
Initial fears suggested the talismanic playmaker may require surgery in an effort to bring about an end to the ongoing problem.
Going under the knife would have ruled Ribery out until March, but Bayern's club doctor believes an operation will not be necessary and feels the 26-year-old could be back in action by the end of the year.
"Franck is doing a lot better," Hans-Wilhelm Muller-Wohlfahrt told L'Equipe.
"We will follow his progress for a month and then re-evaluate.
"We cannot definitely exclude an operation, but I currently favour a more conventional treatment.
"It is certainly foreseeable for him to return before the end of the year."
Ribery's absence has coincided with a poor run of form for Bayern which has left them fifth in the Bundesliga standings.
A number of lacklustre showings have piled pressure on Dutch coach Louis van Gaal, who only joined the club from AZ Alkmaar over the summer.
Van Gaal does, however, maintain the support of his players, with club captain Mark van Bommel keen to see his countryman given more time to get things right.
"We have the right manager," he told Deutsche Presseagentur.
"There is no discussion regarding the manager from inside the club and I personally have a much better feeling about the campaign than I had last year.
"If people are prepared to hand the manager the necessary amount of time, everything will be fine and we will be successful."