DAVID SMITH - Saturday, April 7, 2012
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will try to solidify their Champions League place at fourth-place Midtjylland while Babajide Ogunbiyi and Viborg will be looking to take all three points in Roskilde.
FC Midtjylland - FC Nordsjaelland
FC Nordsjaelland can take one more step towards securing Champions League qualification on Sunday afternoon when they head to fourth-place Midtjylland, in a game which could essentially knock the Wolves out of contention or close the gap for a late run at second place.
The Wild Tigers suffered their second defeat of 2012 in midweek action, falling by a lone goal at SønderjyskE. They are forced to hit the road for a second straight time, and need to avoid defeat or they could open the door for the teams chasing behind to overtake their spot at second.
With Horsens currently trailing by just four points and set to host bottom feeders Lyngby on Monday, anything short of a victory by Parkhurst and his compatriots could see their hold on second shrink to less than a single game.
Midtjylland are not reporting any injuries, while the Wild Tigers are missing midfielder Mikkel Beckmann, forward Joe Sise and backup keeper David Jensen who are not yet ready to return from their knocks, along with Andreas Bjelland, who is out for the next four weeks with a thigh problem.
Odense BK - SønderjyskE
With three straight wins likely ending any threat of relegation, SønderjyskE will be looking to climb closer to the top half of the standings on Monday when they visit still-threatened Odense BK.
Conor O'Brien has become a regular fixture in head coach Lars Søndergaard's starting lineups, and should once again be in the team's central midfield from the get-go.
SønderjyskE scored a crucial win in midweek action against Nordsjaelland, putting nine points between them and the relegation places, a difference which likely spells their safe return for yet another top-flight campaign next season.
Their opponents Odense might not be so lucky, with a five-game losing streak leaving them just five points ahead of current second-bottom team Lyngby, looking possible to continue their freefall all the way to the 1. Division.
SønderjyskE coach Lars Søndergaard is without defender Thomas Hansen and midfielder Jacob Tjørnelund both due to injury along with suspended midfielder Henrik Bødker.
Odense are likely still without injured forward Rasmus Falk, and suspended defender Anders Møller Christensen.
Brøndby IF - HB Køge
Clarence Goodson and Brøndby face their second straight local opponent, however following Thursday's heavy loss to Copenhagen, should have a far easier time dealing with last-place Køge.
Brad Rusin has been a regular contributor as a late substitute for the visitors, and will likely reprise that role on Monday.
Even with the only uncertainty surrounding Køge's relegation being the question of which team will join them, they have shown some signs of life in the spring games, picking up half of their 14 points since games resumed in early-March.
They did, however, revert back to old habits in losing a terrible 4-1 game at home to Lyngby on Thursday, and will hope to redeem themselves against metropolitan-area rivals Brøndby.
Goodson has done a fine job of leading Brøndby out of the doldrums near the drop zone and to a likely safe position in the league in recent weeks.
Even with Thursday's heavy 3-1 loss to Copenhagen leaving a seven-point gap below the final Europa League qualification spot, they can still entertain distant hopes of a top-four finish, and a win over Køge could bring them back into the arleady-crowded picture.
Neither team is reporting any injuries or suspensions.
RC Roskilde - Viborg FF
After scoring a dramatic two-goal come-from-behind draw in their 2012 opener on Thursday, Babajide Ogunbiyi should be back in the Viborg central defense on Monday afternoon on their visit to FC Roskilde.
Viborg are on the outside looking in concerning the current promotion picture in the 1. Division, needing to make up nine points on second-place Randers over the final 11 games to have any hope of making the jump.
They could start the task against a Roskilde team that is having their usual struggles against relegation, with Thursday's win over Blokhus the only thing keeping them separated from the bottom three.
Roskilde will see the return of Nikolaj Hansen and Jeppe Kjær after both went off their Thursday game with minor injuries, and will also have Anders Quist back from suspension.
Viborg are still fretting the health of defender Mathias Nielsen and midfielder Kevin Mensah, both of whom were forced out of their last game with injuries.
Chris Rolfe is serving the second of a two-game red-card suspension and will be a spectator in the stands on Sunday when Aalborg host Silkeborg.