Ruled out of Round 1's meeting with Melbourne City with what was described as ‘a persistent hamstring injury’, Kruse’s health had been deemed a week-to-week proposition by Victory’s medical staff.

Victory failed to officially find the back of the net in the absence of the 31-year-old last Saturday, after Elvis Kamsoba’s potential winner was disallowed after VAR detected that the Burundi international had been offside in the build-up.

The result was a somewhat dour 0-0 draw in front of 33,523 fans at Marvel Stadium.

Kruse had been expected to serve as one head of a fearsome attacking Cerberus for Victory this coming season, slotting in alongside Ola Toivonen and Andrew Nabbout in one of the most-pedigreed attacking lineups in the competition’s history.

All three men started for their respective nations at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. 

But the hemming and hawing over Kruse’s health will likely give Vuck fans unwelcome flashbacks to the 2018/19 season, in which persistent and frequent injuries to key stars hampered their side’s ability to create a cohesive, fluid attack.

Speaking to media as he prepared to lead his group into their second-straight home fixture against Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night, Kurz said that his injured attacker wouldn’t be risked.

“At the moment, he is not available,” Kurz said.

“We are on the way to setting him up to make him strong, to be sure that he is strong enough to be a competitive player for us. 

“At the moment, he is in rehab. He’s still training one-on-one with the physio or with our strength coach. 

“[A return date is] only speculation, I cannot say. Hopefully, it will be quick as we can get him - I will be happy - but on the other side we must be careful because we need him for the long term, not the short term. 

“It’s not fair to set up a timeline because maybe he comes back earlier and we are happy, but injuries need time and you don’t know what’s going to happen the next day.

"We must be fair, when he is ready to come back to team training, he is fit enough, he’s back."

Further complicating life for Victory’s new gaffer is the injury suffered by German defender Tim Hoogland.

Occurring with what Kurz described as “the last kick of the last training session” ahead of last week’s derby, a media release from Victory on Wednesday morning revealed that the former Schalke, Mainz and Fulham man had suffered a quad strain that will sideline him for up to six weeks.