Lars Bender has been ruled out of Bayer 04 Leverkusen's Rhine derby with 1. FC Köln, but coach Roger Schmidt is hopeful Karim Bellarabi can play some part in Saturday's encounter.
Bender has not featured in the Bundesliga since the Matchday 8 win over FC Augsburg due to an ankle injury, and again misses out. Ömer Toprak could again deputise in the holding midfield role or Hakan Calhanoglu may be dropped deeper to play in front of the back four.
Bellarabi came off the bench at half-time in Leverkusen's midweek Champions League defeat at AS Roma only to be substituted himself with 73 minutes remaining at the Stadio Olimpico as a muscle problem he had already complained of following last weekend's defeat to VfL Wolfsburg flared up again.
"We're going to do everything to get him fit so that he can at least sit on the bench," Schmidt told the media.