Bayer Leverkusen captain Simon Rolfes has been forced to undergo further surgery on his worrying right knee injury.
The 28-year-old's World Cup dreams could now be in jeopardy as he is facing a further extended spell on the sidelines.
Rolfes recently spent three months recovering from an initial operation on his knee and attempted to make his comeback following the winter break.
The midfielder came off the bench against Mainz on 16th January and then for the final eight minutes of Sunday's 3-0 victory away to Hoffenheim.
But that outing caused his knee to flare up again and Rolfes went under the knife once again on Tuesday morning.
Rolfes was examined by the national team doctor, and Germany team manager Oliver Bierhoff admitted it was a concern while encouraging Rolfes to keep his spirits up.
"He should not give up too soon and our fingers are crossed for him that he can play again soon," he said.
Leverkusen's sporting director Rudi Voller added in Die Welt: "This is a big shock for us and really hurts, especially for Simon, who had big hopes for the World Cup."