BERLIN - Borussia Dortmund have dropped striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang for Friday's Bundesliga match away to Hertha Berlin, saying the Gabon striker did not have the correct mindset to play.
"Auba is training in Dortmund," said sporting director Michael Zorc. "At the moment we have the impression that he has other things on his mind and is therefore not fully focused.
"This led us to question whether he would be able to help us in Berlin."
Aubameyang, 28, was suspended by Dortmund for last weekend's goalless draw with Wolfsburg for missing a team meeting. It was his second internal ban of the season and third in around a year.
That sparked media speculation Dortmund could finally call time on their indulgent star and sell him on.
But initially it seemed as though Aubameyang would be given yet another chance to play his way back into good favour, with Dortmund fourth in the table and anxious not to miss out on the Champions League places.
"We had a good discussion on Monday," coach Peter Stoeger said at his pre-match press conference. "He has trained well and - provided nothing changes, which I am assuming will be the case - he is a contender for Friday."
Dortmund did not give specifics "but things changed over the course of the six hours between the press conference at lunchtime and the squad's departure to Berlin," which saw Aubameyang left out.
In addition to Aubameyang, Dortmund remain without forward Marco Reus and Erik Durm, who tore ankle ligaments last weekend. In contrast midfielder Christian Pulisic could return.
On Thursday Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger drew an angry reaction from Zorc for discussing Aubameyang as a potential transfer target at his own press conference.
"This kind of thing is better when it's secret and when you don't comment before announcing it when it's over the line," the veteran Premier League boss said.
"Would he fit in? Yes, because character can be a very positive note and negative - but overall you look at the achievement of a player over his career.
"When it's been positive the character has been used in a positive way."