Bayer Leverkusen general manager Rudi Voller expects injured midfielder Michael Ballack to return before the end of the year.
The Germany international, who arrived at Leverkusen on a free transfer from Chelsea in the summer, fractured his left shin during a Bundesliga clash at Hannover at the beginning of last month.
Ballack, who also missed this year's World Cup finals due to an ankle ligament problem, had featured in all three of Leverkusen's opening league matches.
Voller is eagerly anticipating the 34-year-old's return, and says he could make his comeback in December.
"I am hopeful, I am looking forward to him recovering well from the injury he is going through," Voller told Deutsche Presseagentur.
"At the moment there is some hope we might be able to see him return to action in December.
"Then he might be playing a few matches again, right before the winter break."