Berlin: Hamburg have been dealt a blow in their battle to escape the Bundesliga`s bottom three with the news that Germany defender Heiko Westermann has been ruled out until 2015.
The 31-year-old centre-back tore the medial ligament in his left knee during Hamburg`s 3-1 defeat to Augsburg on Saturday and will not play until after January`s winter break, the club has confirmed.
The defeat saw Hamburg drop to 17th in the table, second from bottom, and Westermann`s injury has robbed them of one of their best defenders for their last four games of the year.
"This is obviously bitter news for us, we have lost one of our most stable players," said coach Josef Zinnbauer, whose side have lost five of his ten games since taking charge in September after Mirko Slomka was sacked.
Westermann won the last of his 27 caps for Germany in the 1-0 friendly win over England in November 2013 and had played 12 of Hamburg`s 13 league matches this season.