Bundesliga giants Schalke 04 will be without goalkeeper Ralf Faehrmann for the rest of the year after he suffered a major knee injury which is expected to keep him out for up to three months.
The 23-year-old, who replaced Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the Schalke goal after his departure to Bayern Munich, badly damaged knee ligaments in the 2-1 home defeat to Kaiserslautern last Saturday.
He has torn his medial ligament and damaged the cruciate ligament in his left knee and the Royal Blues are waiting to hear if he will undergo surgery.
"Ralf will be out for at least three months," Schalke general manager Horst Heldt told German daily Bild.
As the Bundesliga takes a winter break at the end of December, Faehrmann is not expected to play again in until January 21 2012 at the earliest.
Faehrmann's injury opens the way for ex-Germany goalkeeper Timo Hildebrand -- currently without a club -- to return to the Bundesliga with the Gelsenkirchen club.
He last played competitively more than a year ago for Sporting Lisbon.
"I speak with Timo on the phone regularly, we have known each other for a long time," said Heldt.
Hildebrand has said nothing is concrete yet and his agent was staying tight-lipped on the matter.
"I am assuming nothing more will happen this week," he told SID, an AFP subsidiary.
"If Timo joins a club, he wants to make sure that he will play regularly."
Hildebrand, 32, has been training with second division Eintracht Frankfurt to stay fit.
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