Injury blow for Bayern Munich as Martinez ruled out for six weeks

The Spain midfielder has added to the German champions’ mounting injury problems ahead of the winter break

Javi Martinez is set to be absent until February after suffering a “bad muscular injury” in Bayern Munich’s 2-0 win over Wolfsburg on Saturday.

Bayern ultimately ended 2019 with a crucial win as late goals from substitute Joshua Zirkzee, who has now come off the bench to score in each of his first two Bundesliga appearances, and Serge Gnabry broke Wolfsburg’s resistance at the Allianz Arena.

However, the reigning champions’ success was marred by another injury blow, with Martinez forced to limp off clutching his thigh at the end of the first half.

Interim head coach Hansi Flick said: “He will be out for a while. He suffered a bad muscular injury and will be sidelined for six weeks.”

Martinez has made more than 200 appearances for the club since joining from Athletic Bilbao in the summer of 2012.

The win means Bayern are now up to third in the table, with just four points separating them from leaders RB Leipzig going into the Bundesliga winter break

The Bavarian giants resume their Bundesliga campaign against Hertha Berlin on January 19.

Flick was already facing a shortage of bodies prior to the Wolfsburg game, with Thiago Alcantara suspended and a host of first-team players injured.

Yet Zirkzee again seized a brief opportunity to make an impact, the teenager scoring just two minutes and 28 seconds after he had replaced Philippe Coutinho.

“I’m just proud of the team,” said Flick. “We believed in the victory until the very end.

“It makes me proud to see the team coming together and showing that on the pitch.”

As well as collecting three points, it was also an historic afternoon for Bayern’s Thomas Muller.

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The 30-year-old World Cup-winner set up Zirkzee for Bayern’s opening goal for his 11th assist of the season, the first player ever to collect that many assists during the first 17 games of a Bundesliga campaign.

It means caretaker boss Flick has won eight of his ten games in charge in all competitions since succeeding Niko Kovac, who was sacked at the start of last month after a 5-1 thrashing at Eintracht Frankfurt.

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