DAVID SMITH - Friday, April 2, 2010
The Danish Leagues continue their busy spring schedule as a full slate of weekend action sees a number of Americans taking the field.
AGF Aarhus - Randers FC
On the heel of their midweek blowout over Esbjerg, Benny Feilhaber will look to take the field once again for Aarhus on Sunday as they try to avenge a recent loss to a resurgent Randers squad.
A run of five straight games without a win to open the spring schedule had Aarhus slipping down the standings amidst a slight injury crisis, but Wednesday night's 4-0 win showed the magic which they had displayed during happier points earlier in the season.
While their opponents Randers themselves began the season in apocalyptic fashion, waiting until their 18th game to notch up the season's first league win, they have been on-fire throughout 2010 running off six straight without a loss to give slim hope of pulling off a miraculous escape from relegation.
Aarhus are still without two of their biggest stars, with midfielder Jakob Poulsen out until April with an ankle injury and Peter Graulund out possibly through the remainder of the season.
Randers have a nearly full squad after a rash of suspensions hampered them in recent weeks, with the injured defender Issah Ahmed the only absence.
Silkeborg IF - Aalborg BK
Chris Rolfe should feature for Aalborg as they try to make a jump towards the upper reaches of the league when they head to third-place Silkeborg on Monday evening.
Aalborg have quietly put together a strong run since returning to action from the winter break, steadily climbing from the bottom half of the standings to looking like strong candidates to nab the final Europa League spot at season's end.
With leading front-man Jeppe Curth back in the lineup after missing several games with an ankle injury, they are perhaps the favorites in what looks to be a five-team race for that all-important third-place spot.
Aalborg are missing several player to injury including Kaspar Bøgelund, Daniel Fredheim Holm and Daniel Christensen. In addition, American forward Marcus Tracy has been ruled out for the rest of the season with persistent patellar tendinitis.
Silkeborg will be without Jim Larsen and Thorbjørn Holst Rasmussen due to yellow card suspensions, and will likely continue to see Simon Azoulay Pedersen and Christian Thyboe-Thomsen continue to be sidelined with injury.
FC Nordsjælland - FC Copenhagen
After going the distance in Nordsjælland's midweek loss to Midtjylland, Michael Parkhurst will hope to see the field again for the Wild Tigers on Monday as they face Copenhagen, with coach Morten Wieghorst possibly opting to shuffle the lineup three days before their Danish Cup quarterfinal.
Despite sitting in the lower reaches of the standings in eighth, Nordsjælland have had the good fortune of already having beaten the league leaders twice so far this season, both time by a 2-0 score.
Pulling off a third win would be a huge boost in morale as they prepare for Thursday's Cup showdown at Silkeborg, even if they hold little chance of climbing too far upwards in the league in the final nine games.
Copenhagen have had mixed fortunes so far in 2010, starting off the year by being easily knocked out of the Europa League round of 32 by Marseille, but still managing to hold on to the league lead by winning four of their first six.
Nordsjælland will see central defender Benjamin Kibebe once again available after serving a one-game card suspension, likely pushing Parkhurst to the bench or an outside back position where he spent much of the fall.
Copenhagen have a healthy squad, and will probably only be without defender Ulrik Laursen, who has missed the last few games with injury.
FC Roskilde - Vejle BK
Jamil Fearrington and Roskilde will look to put further distance between themselves and the relegation zone on Monday, while Vejle's Euan Holden could miss out due to a slight knock picked up in mid-week training.
Roskilde's win over bottom-feeders Brabrand on Thursday lifted them out of the bottom three and momentarily on safe footing, but eighth-place Vejle should offer a more stern test as to whether they were able to pull themselves together in the off-season for a survival fight.
The visitors have been less than spectacular in their first three games of 2010, posting two losses against one win, and looking destined for a lackluster mid-standings finish to the season.
Roskilde will be without midfielder Morten Avnskjold, who suffered catastrophic leg injury during last summer's pre-season preparations and forward Tobias Perch-Nielsen, who recently underwent surgery on his meniscus.
Vejle will likely continue to be missing midfielder Azer Busuladzic, forward Henrik Andersen and midfielder Joseph Akinola Folahan to injury, as well as forward Brian Nielsen who is serving a red card suspension. Holden's status is questionable after missing Thursday's loss with a slight injury.
Naestved BK - Viborg FF
Babajide Ogunbiyi will take up his usual spot in Viborg's central defense as they look to continue their unbeaten start to 2010 on their trip to Naestved BK on Monday
While still sitting only in sixth place, Viborg are still well within reach of second place and promotion to the Superliga, and a win over fellow fighters Naestved will go a long way to help their cause.
Ogunbiyi has been a rock in central defense for the team since joining over the winter, and has been able to use his height to trouble the opposition on set pieces as well.
Viborg will likely be without forward Christian Muomaife and Christian Olsen, midfielder Kevin Mensah and defender Simion Bulgaru, all of whom sat out the team's midweek game with injuries.
Naestved defenders Morten Roholte and Joakim Normann will also watch from the stands as they recover from injury.