Czech Republic striker Patrik Schick will miss the World Cup playoff game in Sweden on March 24 over a calf injury, the Czech national team said in a statement on Monday.
The high-scoring 26-year-old Leverkusen forward has been grappling with a torn calf muscle since late February.
“He started training a week ago, but he will only resume full training with the team now. It’s a big loss for us,” said national team coach Jaroslav Silhavy.
The winner of the game played in Solna will next face Poland, who were given a bye for this playoff.
Poland were due to play Russia who had been kicked out of the competition following the invasion of Ukraine.
Silhavy said Schick may rejoin the team ahead of the potential Poland game on March 29.
“We’ll get in touch and discuss Patrik’s condition before the Poland game,” he added.
Schick levelled Cristiano Ronaldo as the top scorer at last year’s Euro tournament with five goals including a 50-metre stunner against Scotland in the group phase.
He is the second best Bundesliga striker so far this season with 20 goals from as many games, trailing only Bayern’s Robert Lewandowski with 31 goals from 27 appearances.
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