Ex-Germany international and Bayern Munich captain Stefan Effenberg doubts veteran French winger Franck Ribery can return to fitness from the ankle injury which has sidelined him since March.
"If he comes back and manages to get 100 percent fit, then Bayern will need him," Sky expert Effenberg said of the 32-year-old Ribery.
"I hope , from the bottom of my heart, that he will come back, but I doubt it.
"Although I am sure Bayern will support him 100 percent."
Ribery has described the injury to his right ankle, which is still painful, as a "catastrophe" with no date set for his return despite constant treatment.
In the Frenchman's absence, Brazil forward Douglas Costa has made himself a shoo-in on Bayern's left wing after scoring on his Bundesliga debut and has provided a string of deadly crosses from the flanks.
On Sunday, the Bavarian giants also signed fleet-footed France Under-21 forward Kingsley Coman, who can play on either wing, on a two-year loan from Juventus.
"Douglas Costa is also loved by Bayern's fans, but Franck Ribery has the highest regard," said Effenberg.
Bayern's director of sport Matthias Sammer said they are fully behind getting Ribery back to fitness, but needed to sign Coman, who can also replace Netherlands captain Arjen Robben, 31, as cover.
"Franck has our full support. I hope he will come back as soon as possible, but we also need alternatives and are delighted a young player (Coman), has decided to join us," said Sammer.