Philipp Lahm had to leave practice early on Tuesday after suffering an ankle fracture. The diagnosis from Dr. Heinz-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfarth came shortly after he left the field, and the club has revealed that he could miss three months.
Big blow for Philipp #Lahm: The captain has suffered a fractured ankle. He needs an operation and will be out for around 3 months!— FC Bayern English (@FCBayernEN) November 18, 2014
The club website reported that it was a non-contact injury, and Lahm was carted off immediately. He is the second fullback-turned-midfielder Guardiola has lost in the past two weeks after David Alaba tore his MCL against AS Roma, and is the eighth Bayern player currently shelved with an injury, joining Thiago Alcantara (knee), Holger Badstuber (thigh), Javi Martínez (knee), Claudio Pizarro (muscle strain), Pepe Reina (muscle strain), and Tom Starke (ankle).
Lahm has remained a constant for Bayern over the past eight years, participating in nearly every match for the club and rarely coming off for a substitute. His move from fullback to midfield has been a revelation under Pep Guardiola, so much so that his loss could shift the balance in the center of the park.
Cruel irony, how he pushed his country duties behind and is injured during an international break.
As with many of the holes Guardiola has had to plug during his time with Bayern, the loss of Lahm will not come with a simple solution. Fortunately for the manager, Bastian Schweinsteiger has trained regularly with the first team during the international break, much needed relief in light of recent events. As the vice captain, Schweinsteiger will also be the top choice to dawn the armband for the Bavarians.
Rafinha, already a top choice for the starting XI, will undoubtedly be the first choice right back for the time being. Sebastian Rode and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg will no longer be team sheet fodder as well. Whatever changes may come, Lahm's loss is a squad changing event, another tactical test for Guardiola.