DAVID SMITH - Saturday, October 1, 2011
Chris Rolfe and Aalborg will look to end their slump with a visit to struggling Silkeborg while Michael Parkhurst and Conor O'Brien will square off as SønderjyskE visit the Wild Tigers.
Silkeborg IF - Aalborg BK
With the losses beginning to mount, Chris Rolfe and Aalborg need to quickly right the ship, and will look for a change in momentum on their trip to tenth-place Silkeborg on Saturday.
Aalborg's quick descent from a undefeated opening through the first seven games of the season to the middle of the pack was highlighted in last weekend's embarrassing loss to lowly Lyngby. They had taken a lead within ten minutes, but completely froze thereafter, allowing the second-worst team in the Superligaen to amazingly take all the points in front of a shocked home crowd.
The third straight loss on the bounce pushed them down to the middle of the standings, but as luck would have it they will have a second straight crack at one of the teams languishing near the bottom.
After a dismal run of seven winless games had left them flirting with the bottom two, Silkeborg have shown some signs of life in recent weeks. They have taken four points from their last two league games, most recently drawing even with Horsens, and will be eager to give some distance in the standings above the drop zone.
For Silkeborg, defender Simon Jakobsen along with forwards Jesper Bech and Lars Huldgaard are all injured.
Aalborg will be missing perpetually injured American forward Marcus Tracy, along with the sidelined defender Nicholas Gotfredsen and midfielders Anders Due and Louay Chanko.
Odense BK - HB Køge
After the euphoria of their midweek Danish Cup win, Brad Rusin and Køge will hope their success can serve as a springboard to give them a chance to escape the league's cellar.
Some hope will be provided in the fact that their Sunday-afternoon opponents Odense - usually one of the strongest teams in the league - is having a wholly lackluster season, and are mired in a four-game losing streak across all competitions.
Odense most recently fell victim English team Fulham FC in a Thursday-night Europa League loss, and prior to that have given up a quartet of goals in each of their last two league games, both also losses.
Conversely, Køge are on their best run so far of the season, albeit one that most teams would hardly consider notable; they are undefeated over their last two games, having first fought to a scoreless deadlock with SønderjyskE last weekend before beaten Esbjerg in overtime in Cup play on Wednesday.
Rusin returned to the field for Køge in the midweek game after missing several games to injury, and will be in line for a spot in the starting eleven on Sunday.
The only major contributor missing for Odense is injured midfielder Bashkim Kadrii, while Køge have nearly a full squad, with suspended defender Ronnie Bendtsen the only absence.
Brøndby IF - Lyngby BK
Clarence Goodson will lead the Brøndby defense on Sunday as they try to end a run of two straight league losses as Lyngby pay a visit.
Brøndby collapsed in disheartening fashion last weekend against neighboring Copenhagen, taking a surprising lead late in the first half only to see the game turn tragic as their visitors fought back and eventually scored a last-second winner.
That result only emphasized the near shambolic state of Brøndby this season, as they have won only twice through ten league games, both of those being against two of the three worst teams of the league.
They can complete the trifecta on Sunday as they are facing the third and last team which is currently occupying a spot below them in the standings, and will need to avoid any further embarrassment or their narrow two-point gap ahead of the drop zone could evaporate entirely.
Brøndby are reporting no absences to their available squad while Lyngby are likely without forward Uffe Manich Bech, defender Frederik Krabbe and keeper Nicklas Højlund, all due to injury.
FC Nordsjaelland - SønderjyskE
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will try to make a quick return to their previous winning ways when Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE come for a visit.
Nordsjaelland had flown as high as second place in the league after winning four straight, but a flaccid loss at Aarhus last weekend saw them plummet all the way down to fifth.
On the other side of the ball, SønderjyskE have struggled mightily after a strong opening few games of the current campaign.
The only point they have taken from their last three games was from a scoreless draw at home against last-place Køge, a result which should definitely raise some eyebrows considering their opponents had allowed nearly three goals per game in the nine games prior.
The only major injury for Nordsjaelland is starting keeper Jesper Hansen, who will miss the game with a mild concussion, putting 19 year-old Danish youth international David Jensen in the nets once more.
SønderjyskE have a full squad aside from injured defender Søren Mussmann.
Viborg FF defender Babajide Ogunbiyi is recovering from knee surgery and is not included in the squad which will travel to Hobro IK on Saturday.