DAVID SMITH - Thursday, March 28, 2013
Denmark's traditional pre-Easter round of games takes place on Thursday and Friday, giving Conor O'Brien and Nordsjaelland a tough home matchup against fellow European hopefuls Aarhus.
FC Nordsjaelland - AGF Aarhus
Conor O'Brien and the Wild Tigers will hope their extra week of rest will have reinvigorated their drive towards second place, as they host Aarhus on Friday in a game crucial to the European hopes of both teams.
Nordsjaelland were spared 72 minutes of work in their last outing two weeks before, after their game in Aalborg was called off due to heavy snowfall. With the international break immediately following the cancellation, this means the Wild Tigers have had close to three weeks since their last 90-minute shift.
In the race for Denmark's second Champions League spot, they trail Randers by one point, although they do have one more make-up game to play, which will take place on Thursday, April 4.
Their opponents Aarhus have blown hot and cold in their last few games, beating Odense on a late goal immediately prior to the break, although losing both of the previous games to teams near the relegation zone.
Picking up a win on Friday is crucial to their Europa League qualification hopes, as they are currently one point behind Aalborg in the final spot, with one game more already played.
Both teams are coming into the game with relatively few staffing concerns. For the hosts, Kaspar Lorentzen is continuing his ongoing recovery from knee surgery.
For Aarhus, their only question marks are Petri Pasanen, Søren Larsen and Atle Roar Håland, who all missed their previous game, but are likely to be once again available on Friday.
Esbjerg fB - Brøndby IF
After being a late scratch from Jürgen Klinsmann's lineup for the USA's World Cup qualifying game in Mexico City on Tuesday, Clarence Goodson will hope to be healthy enough to take the field for Brøndby on Friday when they visit Esbjerg.
A slight injury kept Goodson off the field in the USA's 0-0 draw in Mexico City on Tuesday night, although the fact that he was listed in the available substitutes indicates that he will likely not be forced miss any time after his return to Denmark.
His presence will be important to a Brøndby team that is finally showing signs that it might be able to escape relegation after looking dead in the water for much of the first half of the season.
Since returning from the winter break, they have picked up a win and two draws in their four outings, enough to pull them just ahead of both SønderjyskE and Silkeborg on goal differential, and leave them trailing ninth-place Esbjerg by two points.
This round of games on Thursday and Friday will be a crucial one for the race to avoid the drop, with all four of the teams at the bottom of the standings going head-to-head. Depending on how the results pan out, this could leave Brøndby as low as last place or as high as ninth with a two-point cushion.
Esbjerg appear to have a full roster available for the game, while Brøndby are without suspended forward Simon Christoffersen. Additionally, Michael Tørnes and Mikkel Thygesen are questionable due to previous injuries.
Lyngby BK - Skive IK
After contributing to a spring-opening shut-out in his Danish debut, Skive defender RJ Allen will hope the team can put in a similar defensive performance on Thursday when they visit Lyngby.
The late extension of the Danish winter snow into the usual springtime continues wreaked havoc on teams' plans, in this case forcing Lyngby to relocate the game from their home stadium to the nearby village Virum, where they can play on the artificial turf of the local stadium.
The game will be the spring opener for Lyngby, who had last weekend's game at Fredericia postponed due to unplayable conditions.
Skive opened the second half of their season with a goalless tie at home against relegation candidates AB Copenhagen on Saturday, and will hope to gain at least one point from this trip to further distance themselves from the bottom two.
Lyngby has two lingering suspensions from prior to the winter break, meaning they will be without Jeppe Brandrup and Fanol Perdedaj.
Skive have a full squad available, and will likely see the debut of American-born Dustin Corea, who returned to the team after earning his first senior international start with El Salvador in their 5-0 friendly loss against Ecuador.
Charlie Davies will likely be a late substitute for Randers on Thursday when they pay a visit to Odense BK.
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Hjørring had their regularly-schedule Thursday evening game against Viborg moved forward by four days due to weather-related shake-ups. The game was played last Sunday, with both teams earning a point in the scoreless draw.