Bayern Munich and Germany defender Niklas Suele will be out for several months after tearing a knee ligament, the club said Sunday.
Suele suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage in his left knee during Saturday's 2-2 draw with Augsburg. The 24-year-old limped off the field and later left the stadium on crutches.
He will undergo surgery later on Sunday, Bayern said in a statement.
Germany coach Joachim Loew described the injury as "a real blow" that "certainly affects the ongoing development of our young team."
"Niklas is one of the faces of this new generation and was no doubt a central figure in our planning," Loew told the website of the German Football Federation.
"I'm confident that he will work his way back into the team, but we won't be putting any pressure on him whatsoever and will support him as best we can."
Suele's pace, strength and ability to time tackles to perfection has led to him replacing the likes of Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels as first-choice centre-back for both club and country in recent months.
But the player dubbed "Germany's Virgil Van Dijk" has himself said he still lacks the assertiveness needed on the pitch to be considered a real defensive leader.
Suele tore a cruciate ligament in the same knee when he was 19 and playing for Hoffenheim.
Frankfurt am Main, Germany | AFP