Germany defender Per Mertesacker will miss Saturday's World Cup third place play-off match against Portugal.
The Hannover stopper suffered an inflammation of the bursa on his heel and requires an operation.
"Mertesacker has left the World Cup base in Berlin and will undergo heel surgery," explained German football federation spokesman Harald Stenger.
The news comes as a blow to German boss Jurgen Klinsmann as he is forced to reshuffle his defence ahead of the third-place showdown in Stuttgart.
Middlesbrough-bound Robert Huth now looks most likely to partner Christoph Metzelder against Portugal on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Germany's top scorer Miroslav Klose has also revealed that he is doubtful for the match.
The Werder Bremen star is suffering from calf problems and says he is not prepared to take any risks.
Klose is gunning for the accolade of this summer's top scorer, but that is now in doubt if he fails to recover in time.
"I want to play, but if there is no point then I'll have to pass," he commented.
"We'll have to see how it is on match day."