Germany defender Jens Nowotny’s career looks in jeoopardy after tests showed that the Bayer Leverkusencaptain had again torn right knee ligaments.

A spokesman for Bayer confirmed that the 29-year-old, who missed the World Cup finals with a similar injury, would not play again this season.

Nowotny made his comeback in the 3-0 defeat toEnergie Cottbus at the weekend after recovering from an injury sustained last April in the Champions League enconter with Manchester United. However, despite completing Sunday’s match, the defender was clearly struggling for the latter part of the match.

News of Nowotny’s latest setback was greeted with dismay by Rudi Voller, coach of the German national team.

“This is an awful blow for Jens, for his club and for the national team,” Voller told sports news agency SID.

“The fact that it has happened twice in a short time is tragic. But I’m sure Jens has the strength and the will to come back. We will all help him.”