DAVID SMITH - Friday, May 6, 2011
Chris Rolfe should be good to go when Aalborg try to distance themselves from relegation threat while Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg face a tough battle against Vejle as they worry about their own survival.
Aalborg BK - Lyngby BK
Having finally escaped Superligaen's drop zone, Chris Rolfe and Aalborg will try to continue the momentum on Friday afternoon when they welcome Lyngby to the Energi Nord Arena.
Aalborg forward Marcus Tracy is out for the remainder of the season with knee problems.
Aalborg put on one of their most impressive showings on both sides of the ball in recent memory for their shut-out win over Midtjylland last weekend.
The result pulled them two points clear of the league's bottom two, and if their current five-game unbeaten run is anything to go by, they will have no problems to maintain their standing, with a possible push into the upper half of the league a possibility.
Rolfe was pulled early from the game with a slight injury to his leg, however has been able to practice through the week and should have no problems keeping his place in Aalborg's starting lineup on Friday.
Lyngby are a team headed in the opposite direction. They did manage a lucky win against Cup-distracted Nordsjaelland in their last outing, but have been fairly dismal otherwise, winning only one other time in 2011.
Aalborg continue to miss forwards Kayke, Henrik Dalsgaard and Marcus Tracy, as well as defender Jakob Ahlmann.
Lyngby will only be without injured forward Ayoub Sørensen.
Esbjerg fB - FC Nordsjaelland
With their place in the Danish Cup final now secured, Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will now look to guarantee their spot in the top flight for next season when they visit last-place Esbjerg on Sunday.
The team's scoreless draw on Wednesday evening at Randers was enough to give them the 1-0 aggregate win in the Danish Cup semifinal, setting up a rematch of last year's final against Midtjylland to lift the crown later this month.
Their quest for a second straight Cup triumph will have to be put on the back burner for the time being, as they are locked in an intense struggle with several other teams to avoid a drop to the second tier of Danish soccer.
With five games left, the Wild Tigers are just two points above the surface, and are in the midst of a group of five teams separated by three points trying to avoid the drop.
Fortunately for Parkhurst and his teammates, they are facing the league's worst team in Esbjerg, who look done and dusted with a five point gap to safety.
Parkhurst returned to Nordsjaelland's bench on Wednesday after more than a month on the sidelines thanks to a leg injury, and should be ready to go should coach Morten Wieghorst choose to call upon his services in the defense.
Nordsjaelland will be missing midfielder Patrice Bernier along with forwards Morten Nordstrand, Emil Lyng, Masd Thomsen and Andreas Granskov while Esbjerg are reporting no absences.
Brøndby IF - FC Copenhagen
Clarence Goodson gets his first real taste of intense Danish derby action when Brøndby hosts city rivals Copenhagen on Sunday.
Brøndby have begun rolling at the ideal time, with a string of over 330 minutes of play since they have last conceded a goal to an opposing team.
Their inability to put any in the net themselves did hurt the team in their scoreless draw against Horsens last week, and they will need to maximize their points haul over their last five games should they hope to catch up to second-place Odense in the race for Champions League qualification.
Copenhagen should be their toughest test of the season, as the team has rolled over the league with a total of 23 wins and only one loss in 28 games played so far.
They have already long-since been confirmed as league champions with a current 26-point advantage over second place, and are riding a five-game winning streak headed into Sunday's game.
Only midfielder Jens Stryger Larsen and forward Martin Bernburg continue to be out with injury for Brøndby while Copenhagen appear to have a full squad ready to go.
Viborg FF - Vejle BK
Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg are nearing the point of desperation and need a result on Friday when they host third-place Vejle.
The Greens have been unable to maintain any consistency in their race for 1. Division survival, with every with in recent months being followed by a disappointing poor result.
They were handily beaten by promotion-bound Køge last weekend to remain the the drop zone, and while they can still escape from the one-point deficit to safety over the final five games of the season, it will require them to buckle down and get a few tough results.
While Vejle have practically fallen out of the promotion race after looking set for a return to the top flight for much of the season, they will still be a tough opponent for Viborg as they enter the game on a five-game unbeaten run, most recently shutting out Roskilde by a 2-0 score.
Defender Sune Killerich returns to the Viborg squad from a two-game suspension for a red card, however he is replaced in the stands by defender Timmi Johansen, who is out for the first of his two-game suspension.
Vejle will be missing midfielders Martin Borre and Valentino Lai as well as forward Rune Ertsås, while midfielder Mikael Rynell is still questionable for the encounter.
FC Hjørring - AGF Aarhus
Euan Holden will hope to keep his place in Hjørring's starting lineup on Sunday when the team faces a tough test against already-promoted Aarhus.
Hjørring were destroyed at the hands of Køge in midweek action, and need to quickly regroup or risk falling into the division's bottom three and back down to the third tier.
They are currently out of danger by only a single point, and could find themselves firmly entrenched in the drop zone at the end of the weekend should other results around the league go against their favor.
Taking anything off of Aarhus will be a tough task, as their visitors from the coastline have yet to be beaten in 2011 and come in on a six-game winning streak during which they have outscored their opposition by a 19-4 advantage.
Both teams are reporting full squads for the game.