BRENDAN WIMBERLY - Saturday, December 21, 2013
After netting two goals against Heerenveen in a midweek KNVB Cup face off, Aron Johannsson and AZ Alkmaar play host to De Superfriezen again on Saturday.
Johannsson scored both goals for his team as AZ went on to beat Heerenveen in penalty kicks to advance in the domestic cup.
While the win was important for AZ, the goals were equally important for Johannsson. After scoring 10 goals in his first 14 Eredivisie games this season, Johannsson has failed to find the back of the net in the three consecutive league games. Operating as the center forward in head coach Dick Advocaat's 4-3-3 system, Johannsson has been forced to bear the brunt of the attacking weight for his team this year,
scoring 10 of his teams 28 goals in the league this year.
Heerenveen prevailed over AZ in the team's first Eredivisie meeting this year, beating Johannsson and crew 4-2 at home on August 3rd.
With only two points seperating fifth place Heerenveen and seventh place AZ, a win could see both teams crawl closer to a spot in the Champions League qualifying spot.
Dirk Marcellis is injured and Jan Wuytens is serving a red card suspension for AZ, while Heerenveen will miss Kenneth Otigba due to a red card suspension as well.
De Graafschap - Helmond Sport
Having drawn points from their last three games, Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport will look for more of the same Saturday against De Graafschap.
It has been a season filled with peaks and valleys for Helmond so far. Before their current streak, Helmond had endured a three game losing streak which was preceded by a five game unbeaten streak.
Through it all, they've floated in the upper middle half of the Eerste Divisie standings, laying at ninth place out of 20 teams currently. As has been the case since signing for Helmond four years ago, Kazlauskas has been a consistent presence for the team, co-leading the team in games played with Serhat Koc at 21.
De Graafschap are three points and four spots above Helmond at the moment. The fifth place team out of Doetinchem are coming off a disappointing 5-3 loss to Den Bosch at home. Piotr Parzyszek is the man to watch for the hosts. The Polish striker's 16 goals are the most in the Eerste Divisie so far this year.
The two teams have already met this season, with De Graafschap grabbing an 88th minute equalizer at Lavans Stadium in Helmond on August 16th.
Neither team are reporting any omissions from their lineups for Saturday's game.1