DAVID SMITH - Friday, August 20, 2010
Michael Parkhurst and will try to get their act back together on a tough visit to Midtjylland while Benny Feilhaber and Jamil Fearrington square off as Aarhus visit Roskilde in 1. Division action.
FC Midtjylland - FC Nordsjælland
After a promising opening to the season, a string of three losses in their subsequent four league games has Michael Parkhurst and the Wild Tigers desperately needing any points they can muster on their trip to second-place Midtjylland on Monday evening.
The team had barely any chance in last weekend's 2-0 loss to neighbors Copenhagen, and can only count themselves lucky that the heroic play of keeper Jesper Hansen prevented the score from being even more lopsided.
Monday's game begins a tough six-day stretch which will see them play three games in less than a week, with their opening Danish Cup game against Vanløse IF sandwiched between a pair of league games, with all three being of utmost importance even at this early stage.
Nordsjælland coach Morten Wieghorst could still be without star forward Nicki Bille Nielsen and starting central defender Andreas Bjelland, putting added pressure on the squad as they go up against the league's best defense and second-best attack.
Midtjylland have flown through the new season with four wins in five tries, and will undoubtedly see the game as a prime opportunity to exact a bit of revenge for last season's Danish Cup final loss to the Wild Tigers.
Head coach Allan Kuhn will be without a pair of defenders; Martin Albrechtsen is suspended after picking up a red card in Monday's outing while Kristian Bak is still working his way back from injury.
FC Roskilde - AGF Aarhus
Jamil Fearrington and Roskilde are still looking for their first points of the season, and will have their work cut out for them should they hope to avoid a third straight defeat when Benny Feilhaber and Aarhus come to town on Friday.
Aarhus finally got their act together last weekend with a 3-1 win over promoted Brønshøj and will without any doubt be one of the toughest teams in the division as they push for a quick promotion back to the Superligaen.
While they have lost star midfielder Jakob Poulsen, they have amazingly retained almost all of their squad otherwise, putting them head and shoulders above the rest of the division on paper.
Roskilde have faltered so far in the first two weeks of the season, losing games against Vestsjælland and Hjørring to immediately land in the bottom three, and look to already have a tough road ahead to reach their goal of a mid-standings finish.
Aside from the continue absence of Morten Avnskjold who is still recovering from long-term injuries, Roskilde has a full squad. Aarhus is also reporting no absences, aside from the departure of Poulsen for Midtjylland.
Viborg FF - Skive IK
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg have started the season off in less than spectacular fashion with just one point in two games, and will be looking to break loose for their first win of the season when they host Skive on Friday evening.
Viborg went into the season as one of the teams expected to push for a top-two finish and a spot in the Danish top flight, but their continued anemic showing on the attacking end has seen them only able to pick up one point.
Friday's match-up against first-place Skive could either offer them a well-needed confidence boost or yet another kick in the backside depending on the outcome, making a disciplined and tight performance in the back by Ogunbiyi and his fellow defenders a definite must.
Neither team is reporting any injuries or suspensions for the game.
Both Marcus Tracy and Chris Rolfe are still recovering from injury, and will watch from the stands on Saturday afternoon when struggling Aalborg host last-place Esbjerg.