Bayern Munich’s aspirations for a Champions League and Bundesliga double have bit hit by the news that striker Ivica Olic faces a lengthy period out of action with a knee problem.
Olic struck seven goals in ten appearances to help Bayern reach the Champions League final last season, where they were defeated 2-0 by Inter Milan.
The Germans are 14/1 to go one better under coach Louis van Gaal this season, but Olic has been ruled out for an indefinite period after picking up the injury on duty for Croatia against Slovakia.
Van Gaal said: “It’s a nasty diagnosis.
“The doctor has decided on a conservative course of treatment, so there won’t be an operation, but that always takes a long time.”
Meanwhile, Arjen Robben is not expected to feature until October because of a leg injury, leaving Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez to form a strike partnership.
Bayern did the Bundesliga and German Cup double last season and begin the defence of their league crown with a challenging home game at the Allianz Arena against Steve McLaren’s Wolfsburg.
They are also sweating over the fitness of captain Mark van Bommel who has been struggling with injury, with Danijel Pranjic in line to step in if the Dutchman fails to recover.
Bayern are 8/13 to kick the season off with a win, although Wolfsburg will look to keep in tight with new signings Simon Kjaer and Arne Friedrich in their backline.
They did the double over Wolfsburg last season and won the corresponding fixture on home soil 3-0 last August.
A repeat of that result is 10/1.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are among the favourites to win the Champions League, see the whole Champions League winners market.