DAVID SMITH - Saturday, November 19, 2011
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will look to hang onto their lofty league standing against Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE while Brad Rusin and Køge face Lyngby in a relegation six-pointer.
FC Nordsjaelland - SønderjyskE
Having entered the international break with a head of steam, Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will hope to have kept momentum on their side when they square off against SønderjyskE on Sunday.
Conor O'Brien has seen regular substitute action for the visitors, and will likely take the field at some point during the proceedings.
Nordsjaelland returned to their winning ways in the final outing before the international break, putting a pair past last-place Køge to jump past Midtjylland and back into second place.
With what looks to be a highly competitive race just below Copenhagen amongst multiple teams vying for the various European qualification spots, they will need to get the job done against ninth-place SønderjyskE in order to minimize any chance of losing their current grip on the division's second Champions League spot.
SønderjyskE have bounced back as of late from a spell marked by high levels of inconsistency, following up a Danish Cup win in late-October with a pair of draw against two of the better teams in the division immediately before the pause.
SønderjyskE have a full squad free of both injury and suspension for the game, while the Wild Tigers are missing backup keeper David Jensen to a knee injury and forward Mads Thomsen to a groin problem.
Lyngby BK - HB Køge
Brad Rusin and Køge are seeing any chance of survival slowly disappearing, but can give a thin ray of hope should they manage to beat fellow relegation strugglers Lyngby on Sunday.
Køge's 2-0 defeat at the hands of Nordsjaelland before the pause left them a full nine points adrift of safety with not even half of the season played.
While it will take a near miracle turnaround to claw out of the bottom two, there are still 18 games left to be played in the always-unpredictable Danish season and has past history has shown, surprises can always lurk around the corner.
This puts added importance on Sunday's trip to Lyngby - the other team currently occupying the relegation zone - as any hope they have of rising in the standings will depend on them beating the other teams near the bottom.
Lyngby have been poor all season long, and were victims of a 3-0 beating by league leaders Copenhagen prior to the break. They are just three points adrift heading into the weekend, but a highly anemic attack looks as though it could very well be their downfall when the final curtain fall on the season in several months.
For Køge, backupe keeper Frederik Due is out through the rest of the year with a leg injury, and striker Fabinho along with twin defenders Andrew and Thomas Sorensen are questionable after missing time prior to the break with injury.
Lyngby will most notably be without injured forward Kim Aabech, and both defender Frederik Krabbe and forward Uffe Manich Bech continue to be sidelined with knocks.
FC Midtjylland - Aalborg BK
Chris Rolfe and Aalborg will try to run their unbeaten streak to four games on Sunday when they visit third-place Midtjylland.
After finally breaking free of a long cold spell, Aalborg racked up an impressive seven points in their last three games before the break, beating Horsens and Odense while drawing even with Brøndby in the game in between.
While Midtjylland are positioned in third place, the task of trying to steal a result on the road couldn't have come at a better time, as the Wolves have failed to win in their last four outings, with their most recent disappointment being a 4-1 embarrassment at Silkeborg.
Aalborg will have to make do without the suspended Kjetil Wæhler and injured Kasper Bøgelund in the defense, and could be without forward Henrik Dalsgaard, whose participation will be a gameday decision.
Midtjylland are not reporting any absences to their available team.
Brøndby IF - FC Copenhagen
Clarence Goodson and Brøndby will have a tough time to break their long winless streak on Sunday when they welcome local rivals and runaway league leaders Copenhagen.
Brøndby's struggles are slowly turning into crisis, with the team now having gone four straight in league play without a victory.
They are now a mere three points above the relegation zone, and while even the most unfavorable results this weekend will still likely see them out of the bottom two on goal differential, they are nevertheless in a very precarious position.
They are facing a Copenhagen team which spent their time before the break sharpening their claws on hapless Lyngby, and will be eager to extend their current seven-point lead atop the league standings as they run towards a fourth straight league title.
For Copenhagen, the only absence is César Santin, who is suspended for the game, while Brøndby are not reporting any absences.