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Borussia Dortmund

Dortmund midfielder Witsel out for rest of year after fall at home

18:16 GMT 09/12/2019
Axel Witsel Borussia Dortmund 2019-20
The Belgian has been a regular for the club this season but will now miss at least four matches after undergoing facial surgery.

Borussia Dortmund midfielder Axel Witsel has been ruled out for the rest of the year after being hospitalised by an "awkward fall" at his home.

Witsel, who played a full part in Saturday's 5-0 Bundesliga win over Fortuna Dusseldorf, underwent oral and facial surgery at Klinikzentrum Nord Hospital over the weekend.

The Belgium international has been discharged from hospital but will miss at least four matches ahead of the mid-season break, starting with Tuesday's Champions League clash with Slavia Prague.

"Witsel will sadly be out for the rest of this year," BVB boss Lucien Favre confirmed at Monday's pre-match news conference.

"I was told about this yesterday morning. We could not speak to him. He was in hospital.

"But there is one positive thing - he's already back home. We can't change it now. It's a shame for him, a shame for us. He's one of the most important players for us."

Asked to provide more details on the injury, Dortmund media director Sascha Fligge said the midfielder "fell awkwardly at home”.

Witsel has scored three goals in 21 appearances for Dortmund this season.

Favre’s side take on Slavia Prague in the Champions League on Tuesday evening knowing they must better Inter’s result against Barcelona in order to qualify for the knockout stages.

They then face games against Mainz, RB Leipzig and Hoffenheim in the league before the Christmas break.

With Witsel out for the rest of the year, the earliest he can return is the clash with Augsburg when the Bundesliga resumes on January 18.

Dortmund are currently third in Bundesliga, five points behind leaders Borussia Monchengladbach.

Witsel has made 43 appearances in total for Dortmund since joining from Chinese Super League side Tianjin Quanjian in the summer of 2018.

Witsel’s career has also taken in spells with Russian side Zenit Saint Petersburg, Portuguese giants Benfica and Sporting Liege back in his native Belgium, where he began his career as a 17-year-old in 2006.

He has also earned 105 caps for the Belgian national team, representing his country at two World Cups and the 2016 European Championships.