NICK LEYDEN - Thursday, April 7, 2011
This weekend Oguchi Onyewu's Twente welcome Roda JC to De Grolsch Veste in their first game since assuming the Eredivisie lead, while Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport visit Eerste Divisie leader Zwolle.
FC Twente – Roda JC
After playing the full 90 in Twente's 5-1 demolition at the hands of Villarreal in the Europa League, it remains to be seen whether Michel Preud'homme will name Onyewu to the starting lineup on short rest on Sunday.
The powerful Clemson product watched from the bench last week when Twente wrestled the league lead from PSV. But in the away leg of their quarterfinal matchup with the Spaniards, Preud'homme opted for a defensive lineup which utilized three centerbacks in Gooch, Douglas and Peter Wisgerhof.
Twente have no time to lick their wounds, however, as a tough Roda JC team is coming to town.
The seventh place visitors have lost just six times on the season, less than all Eredivisie teams except Twente, PSV and Ajax, and have a clear target set on a guaranteed Europa League spot of their own.
Dropping points is not an option for the defending champs as PSV, who are also coming off a sound Europa League beating against Benfica, sit just two points back with five games remaining.
FC Zwolle – Helmond Sport
In a game that will be more important to the hosts than it is to Helmond Sport, Charles Kazlauskas and crew will travel to FC Zwolle Stadion to headline Friday's Eerste Divisie action.
Sitting in third place, comfortably in the promotion playoffs, Helmond Sport will try to complicate Zwolle's title ambitions by inflicting what would only be the hosts' fourth defeat in 30 league games.
Zwolle currently lead the league with 63 points, though Waalwijk is just three back.
The hosts have a stellar defensive record recently, earning six consecutive shutouts, though Helmond Sport have reason to believe that there is an opportunity to snatch a positive result.
As merciless as Zwolle's defense has been, the offense has been nearly as impotent, failing to score in three straight games.
The two teams last met in September with the game ending in a 2-2 tie.
Kazlauskus played the full 90 in that matchup, though his role has changed since then, and he is likely to feature only as a substitute.