An ankle injury picked up a preseason friendly will sideline Bayern Munich goal machine Mario Gomez for six weeks, the German international set for surgery that will cost him the start of his season. Bayern’s scheduled to play in the German Super Cup on Aug. 12 before opening their Bundesliga campaign on Aug. 25, with Gomez expected to be sidelined for both.
The 27-year-old striker, who has scored 54 goals over the last two Bundesliga campaigns, limped off against Werder Bremen on Saturday, playing only 42 minutes. He was later diagnosed with “loose fragments” in his ankle, and although six weeks is the generally reported timeframe for Gomez’s return from surgery, Bayern’s director of sport says the club remains in wait-and-see mode:
“He is not very well,” sporting director Matthias Sammer said. “He needs an operation. Then we will see how long he will be missing.”
Bayern’s second choices? Claudio Pizzaro (who moved from Werder Bremen this summer), Mario Mandzukic (bought at an hefty price from Wolfsburg), and Thomas Müller, who usually fills in as a utility man at other places in the attack.
Those are more options than Bayern had last year, when they only had Müller and the injured Ivica Olic, who has since moved to Wolfsburg. Set to play Fürth, Stuttgart and Mainz to open the Bundesliga season, Bayern should be fine ahead of a their Sept. 22 trip to Schalke.
The injury also has the fortunate side effect of curbing some minor squabbling around FCB regarding Gomez’s value. Bayern general manager and president Uli Hoeness recently went out of his way to call Gomez a good, not great player. Even if that’s true, it’s not something you want a club official to be saying about a star player, possibly the reason Sammer recently offered the player his public support. Nothing like a tiff between colleagues over the merits of a 28-goal scorer.
If there is a silver lining to the injury, it’s the likely silencing of Hoeness, though the Bayern legend’s unlikely to be quiet for long.