German defender Christoph Metzelder has admitted that he will not be fit to represent Germany in the EURO 2004 finals.

The Borussia Dortmund defender has not played since March 2003 after two operations on his Achilles tendon and concedes that time has run out for him with regard to this summer’s finals in Portugal.

“The European championships is no longer realistic for me,” the 23-year-old told the Kolner Express.

“I have been out too long and there is a chance of the injury flaring up again.

“Rudi Voller has to take the best 23 players to Portugal and gambling on me would be too dangerous.”

Metzelder was one of Germany’s mainstays in their march to the 2002 World Cup final and his absence is a big blow for Voller.