DAVID SMITH - Friday, May 10, 2013
Alejandro Bedoya and Helsingborg will try to extend their lead atop the Allsvenskan while Matt Pyzdrowski and Ängelholms will try to get back on the winning track at Varbergs.
Djurgardens IF - Malmö FF
Brian Span and Djurgarden are desperate for their first win of the season, but will have a hard time taking any points when they host second-place Mälmo FF on Sunday.
Through their first six games of the season, Djurgarden have been an utter disaster, scoring just two while allowing 16 opposing goals to take just a single point.
They are already six points deep in the relegation zone, and are looking as though they will need a miraculous turnaround to have any hope of avoiding a trip to the Superettan for next season.
In the midst of their troubles, Span has earned an increasing role with the team, earning his first start of the new season in last weekend's 5-1 loss, and will likely figure in once again on Sunday.
They could set up for another heavy defeat against the Swedish powerhouse Malmö, who are just one point off the league lead and have yet to lose this season.
Djurgarden continue to also have a crisis in the training room, with Erton Fejzullahu, Petter Gustafsson, Joel Riddez and Daniel Jarl all confirmed to be out, and question marks surrounding the participation of Marc Pedersen and Nahir Oyal.
Malmö are not reporting any missing players.
Helsingborgs IF - BK Häcken
Alejandro Bedoya and Helsingborg sit alone atop the Allsvenskan standings, and will look to solidify their lead when they host Häcken on Monday evening.
After going through a short dry spell triggered by last month's unexpected loss in the Swedish Cup quarterfinal, Helsingborg have bounced back to win their last four in commanding fashion and claim the top spot in the league.
Bedoya has been in the thick of it, scoring three in this span of games, including the lone goal in last weekend's 1-0 victory over Syrianska.
They will like their chances against sixth-place Häcken, who have been bouncing between wins and losses over the last month. With their last outing being a tight 1-0 win against IF Brommapojkarna, the current trend would point towards a loss for the Stockholm-based team.
Helsingborg must make do without Rachid Bouaouzan for the next three months after the Dutch defender underwent surgery, and Gustaf Jarl who will be recovering from a hamstring injury for the next six weeks. In addition, defender Jere Uronen is still working back to full fitness and midfielder Elias Andersson is absent while competing in the ongoing UEFA U17 championship.
Häcken have just one absence, although a crucial one, as team captain Mohammed Ali Khan will be missing from the defense after breaking his leg in last weekend's win.
Varbergs VOIS - Ängelholms FF
Matt Pyzdrowski and Ängelholms are on the edge of the bottom four, and will be hoping that a trip to last-place Varberg on Saturday will give them a boost in the standings.
Ängelholms were dealt a difficult home loss against Sunsdvall in their previous game one week ago, falling victim to a goal by their opponents in the opening seconds and eventually giving up another one in the final ten minutes.
Even though they have won only once this season, they must like their chances against a Varberg team that has been poor in four straight losses since an opening weekend win.
Pyzdrowski and his defense have been one of the better teams on defense outside of the upper-tier teams, and if they can capitalize on Varberg's porous defense they should have the tools to put together a strong win.
Neither team is reporting any absences.
Sam Petrone is out for the long-term with injury and will miss Mjällby's home game against Syrianska FC on Sunday.
Billy Schuler, Baggio Husidic and Hammarby head coach Gregg Berhalter got an early start on the weekend, beating Brage by a 2-0 score. Brage backup keeper Bryan Meredith and defender Tyler Ruthven were unused substitutes for the game.
Patrick Hopkins and Ljungskile will have to wait until Wednesday for their next game, when they hit the road against GAIS Göteborg. Ljungskile midfielder Charlie Campbell is out for the season after tearing his ACL.