Towering German defender Georg Niedermeier is the surprise name missing from Melbourne Victory's Asian Champions League squad for their campaign beginning next month.
The A-League champions enter the competition determined to progress past the group stage, but will do so without their 32-year-old stopper.
Niedermeier was overlooked in favour of Kosta Barbarouses, Raul Baena and Ola Toivonen to fill the three foreigner spaces allowed by the Asian Football Confederation.
Keisuke Honda, the club's star marquee midfielder, has also been included as Victory utilise the vacant slot for an Asian player for the first time.
The annual restriction on foreign players has always been a tricky call, with Brazilian midfielder Gui Finkler suffering a falling out with coach Kevin Muscat after he was axed from a previous campaign.
"Unfortunately, one had to be omitted and Georg is unlucky to be that player," Muscat said.
"He has displayed nothing but professionalism since arriving and is a popular member of the team. Georg has a vital role to play during the Champions League period, where fixtures come thick and fast at home as the A-League season overlays."
Niedermeier has struggled to stay on the pitch since joining the club in the off-season, suffering two concussions and a calf injury.
Melbourne Victory will face Guangzhou Evergrande (China) and Daegu FC (South Korea) and the winner of next week's playoff between Sanfrecce Hiroshima (Japan) and Chiangrai United (Thailand).