DAVID SMITH - Thursday, May 13, 2010
Benny Feilhaber and Aarhus will pin their survival on a nervy 90 minutes in front of the home crowd while Jamil Fearrington and Roskilde look to put a damper on Fredericia's promotion hopes.
AGF Aarhus - Odense BK
Benny Feilhaber and Aarhus have seen their season come down to its last desperate gasps of air, and will hope that the likely unmotivated league silver medalists Odense will allow them to do their part to stay up.
As Aarhus currently sit two points in the standings behind the final safe spot, they will not only need a victory on Sunday, but will also be praying for Randers falling at home against Brøndby.
Should Randers draw even with Brøndby, Feilhaber and his teammates could still mathematically match them in points, however their inferior goal differential would require victory by a margin of four or greater, a highly unlikely scenario against the defensively-solid Odense.
While they technically could also catch ninth-place SønderjyskE, who they trail by three points, they would need to make up a five-goal differential between the two teams in doing so, likely giving the only one feasible route to safety.
Even though Aarhus has been increasingly weighted by their disastrous spring, coach Erik Rassmussen and his assistant Stig Tøfting, a former team legend brought in during the spring to inject some fight into the ranks, will surely have the team with one singular focus in mind - earning the most important win in recent team history.
Aarhus coach Erik Rassmussen will likely be without injured support striker Davit Devdriani for this vital tilt, as well as Kim Madsen and Ulrik Lindkvist, both of whom have missed the last few games with their respective injury struggles.
Odense could be without Rurik Gislason, who missed last weekend's loss to Randers with a minor injury.
Esbjerg fB - FC Nordsjælland
With Thursday's cup win fresh on their minds, Michael Parkhurst and the Wild Tigers will try to keep their focus as they close their season with a trip to Europa-hunting Esbjerg.
The 2-0 extra time win over Midtjylland will surely have been the high point for Nordsjælland's season, and the grueling 120-minute encounter could tip coach Morten Wieghorst's hand in giving several of his weary starters a well-deserved early finish to the season.
Esbjerg will have no complaints should the visiting squad be either worn down or largely second-choice, as they are still in the hunt for European qualification, which they can possibly wrap up with a solid win.
They hold the slightest edge for the spot over Brøndby, with whom they are tied on both points and goal differential but lead by overall goals scored.
Nordsjælland has a pair of players on the injury list, as backup keeper Nenad Novakovic will be missing as he recovers from a shoulder problem, and Canadian international midfielder Patrice Bernier is out with a knee injury suffered one week before in league play.
In addition, Nicolai Stockholm is suspended after picking up a pair of yellow cards in last weekend's league loss to Aarhus.
Esbjerg will be without injured defender Keven Conboy and the suspended forward Jesper Lange.
FC Roskilde - FC Fredericia
After barely slipping up last weekend against second-place Lyngby, Jamil Fearrington and Roskilde face another tough task as they welcome Fredericia, who currently sit third in the First Division standings and are gunning for promotion.
Roskilde will be looking to recapture some of the momentum that has carried them through much of the spring, taking them from the relegation zone to their current 12th place position, six free of the drop.
While Fredericia has drifted in and out of the league's second spot for the whole season, the first meeting between these two teams, a 2-0 road win for Roskilde, is one of their season's few low points.
Roskilde continue to be without long-term absences 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. Midfielder Stefan Schmidt also continues to struggle with a knee injury.
In addition, Toke Morsing will also miss the game due to a lengthy red card suspension.
Fredericia are currently reporting no injuries and will only be without Morten Friis, who is still under suspension for a red card.
Kolding FC - Viborg FF
Babajide Ogunbiyi will get the starting nod for Viborg as they try to snap their six-game winless streak on their trip to relegation strugglers Kolding on Sunday.
They were unfortunate to give up a last-gasp equalizer at home to Vestsjælland to see victory taken from their grip, and will be desperately hoping for an improved performance against a Kolding team which is barely holding on for dear life.
Viborg will likely continue to be without forwards Christian Muomaife and Christian Olsen, both of whom continue to struggle with injury, as well as Kevin Mensah who is still getting back into shape after a long absence due to a thigh injury.
Kolding are reporting no injuries or suspension prior to the game.
Neither Chris Rolfe nor Marcus Tracy, who are both injured, will suit up for Aalborg as the team tries to make one final push for Europea qualification in their final game against last-place Køge.
Euan Holden is recovering from surgery and will not participate on Sunday when Vejle host AB Copenhagen.