Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen side are expecting to be without Victor Boniface until April after the forward sustained an injury while on international duty with Nigeria.
However, the striker sustained a groin injury in training with his country in Dubai and returned to Germany ahead of schedule. An MRI scan in Cologne on Tuesday revealed the extent of the injury, meaning he will require corrective surgery and is expected to be out of action until April.
Boniface has hit the ground running since his summer transfer from Belgian side Union Saint-Gilloise, registering 10 goals and seven assists in just 16 Bundesliga appearances for Alonso's high-flying Werkself outfit, playing a leading role in their ascent to the Bundesliga summit.
The 6'3" attacker has also added four goals in the UEFA Europa League and another two in the DFB Cup as Leverkusen continue to pursue silverware in three competitions.
Watch: The best of Victor Boniface
His absence means that Patrik Schick is likely to shoulder greater responsibility up front, having only recently regained full fitness following a serious injury of his own. The Czech forward hit a hat-trick in Leverkusen's 4-0 win over Bochum in their final game before the winter break.
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