Trio to be unleashed in AFC Champions League

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick will unleash star attacking triumvirate Archie Thompson, Robbie Kruse and Danny Allsopp in Tuesday night's AFC Champions League opener against Gamba Osaka.

Melbourne Victory coach Ernie Merrick will unleash star attacking triumvirate Archie Thompson, Robbie Kruse and Danny Allsopp in Tuesday night's AFC Champions League opener against Gamba Osaka.

Speaking from Japan on the eve of the match, Merrick revealed the three capped Socceroos will all feature in the same starting line-up for the first time.

"Unless Archie comes up sore tomorrow morning, he'll definitely be starting," Merrick said.

"The combination up front looked pretty good in training, Danny Allsopp also looked good as did Robbie Kruse. It's a huge asset to have when you-ve got a team with that quality of goalscorers."

"They've got an attacking job to do and a role to play in the formation. Robbie's fitness now is so very high that he can cope with the extra work and Dan Allsopp always has."

Gamba traditionally plays a 4-4-2 formation, headlined by Japanese star Yasuhito Endo, which may result in a change of shape for the Victory line-up.

The experienced Tom Pondeljak will retain his place in the starting 11 while Matthew Kemp and Thailand international Surat Sukha are vying for the left-back role.

Victory has also been boosted by the return of Kevin Muscat, who will retire following the club-s ACL campaign and Merrick couldn't be happier with the condition of the veteran defender ahead of his swansong campaign.

"Kevin certainly looked terrific in training this morning," Merrick said.

"His training program has been very rigorous, sometimes you're more motivated than ever when you have a break, coming back from injury of suspension."

Victory will also have depth on the bench with Merrick impressed by the form of recent signing Isaka Cernak alongside rising stars Petar Franjic, Matthew Foschini and goalkeeper Tando Velaphi.

"Isaka has been the surprise package, in the session this morning he looked outstanding and he's looking like he'll slot straight into our team (down the track)," Merrick said.

Victory are without influential midfielder Grant Brebner and Costa Rican playmaker Carlos Hernandez through injury.

Gamba will unveil major off-season signing Adriano, a Brazilian striker, who was one of the J-League's top scorers last season when playing for crosstown rivals Cerezo Osaka.

Kick-off at the Expo 70 Commemorative Stadium is at 9pm (AEDT).