MATHEW WAGNER - Friday, July 13, 2012
Steve Clark and Honefoss are in prime position to move into the top of the Norwegian table when they visit Viking while Stabaek aim to bounce back after being eliminated from the Europa League.
Vålerenga Oslo - Molde FK
Molde will look to rediscover its scoring touch when it travels to Oslo Saturday.
Last weekend, Molde wasted opportunity after opportunity in its 1-0 loss to Rosenborg. Many of those chances were wasted by Davy Claude Angan, who has turned out to be a streaky player for the reigning champions.
The loss dropped the team to four points behind league leaders Strømsgodset, and now Molde cannot afford another slipup heading into Champions League qualifying.
American winger Josh Gatt should start for Molde, but the defending champions will be without Emmanuel Ekpo and Børre Stenslid and could be without midfielder Magne Hoseth.
Vålerenga could be without forwards Veigar Pall Gunnarsson and Yssouf Kone, while Fegor Ogude will be out with a broken leg.
Viking - Honefoss
After ending their three game winless streak last weekend in the Eliteserien with a win over Brann, Honefoss will aim to climb as high as fourth place if they can defeat Viking on the road on Sunday.
American Steve Clark has been a mainstay in goal for Honefoss this season and he should start. Meanwhile, American forward Kenneth Di Vita Jensen will hope to make the bench after being left out last weekend.
As the Norwegian season reaches its halfway point, Honefoss has been one of the surprising teams and are in contention to finish towards the top of the team despite only being promoted last season.
On the other hand, Viking have struggled this year and sit in 13th place, only three points clear of the drop zone. They are also in the middle of a slump after earning just one point over their last three league games.
Hønefoss' Rune Bolseth will miss the game because of yellow card accumulation, while the team could be without Vegard Gjermundstad. Viking will be without King Osei Gyan, Henri Anier and Erik Nevland.
Sogndal - Stabaek
It's been a difficult season for Stabaek and this week saw yet another disappointment as they were eliminated from the Europa League by JJK of Finland in the very first qualifying round. Now they aiming to pick up valuable points when they face a struggling Sogndal on Sunday.
Central defender Sean Cunningham and midfielder Ricardo Clarke are expected to start for Stabaek, but Mikkel Diskerud remains on-loan to Belgium's Gent until August 1.
In their last game on Thursday, Stabaek defeated JJK 3-2 in the second leg of their series but that was not enough to overcome the 2-0 deficit from the first game. Last weekend, Stabaek played well in defeat in a 2-1 loss to league leaders Stromgodset.
Still, the club's financial difficulties have not allowed them to field a competitive squad this season and they have just seven points on the year in Eliteserien and are in last place. They sit another seven points away from safety.
Sogndal will enter the game also playing very poor soccer as they have not won in since April, 28. During that eight game winless streak, they have picked up just three points. They have 15 points on the season and are three clear of the relegation zone.
Stabæk will be without Torstein Andersen Aase. Sogndal will be without Elvind Daniel Røed, Thomas Næss, Joakim Rudolfsen, Per Egil Flo and Ahyee Aye Elvis.
Ranheim - Mjøndalen
After defeating Kongsvinger last weekend at home, Mjøndalen will hope to put a dent in Ranheim's promotional hopes when the two teams face off on Sunday at Ranheim's DnB NOR Arena .
American Rhett Bernstein is set to start yet again in defense for Mjøndalen.
Mjøndalen currently sit in the ninth place in the 1.Division but the middle of the table remains very tight as they are only six points away from a promotional spot. Last weekend's win snapped a three game winless skid and if they can put together more successful performances, they can contend for promotion.
While it is a big game for Mjøndalen, it holds even more importance for Ranheim who are only two points away from second place. In the 1.Division, the top two teams get promoted to the Eliteserien. A win on Sunday could vault them as high as first place.
Mjøndalen will be without Lars Granaas, Fredrik Gulsvik, Marius Boldt, Benjamin Stokke, Wmil Fossum and Bjarne Kortgaard Ingebretsen. Ranheim will be without Osei Oviasu and Michael Stilson.
Strømmen - Baerum
While almost surely to be relegated into the 2.Division next year, last weekend was a monumental weekend for Baerum who picked up their first win of the season with a resounding 6-0 win over Notodden. They will now be looking for another three points when they visit Strømmen on Sunday.
American right back Sebastian Troupe went a full 90 last week in the win and he should start again for Baerum.
Baerum's win last weekend put them at five points on the year and they sit in last place in the 1.Division where the last four teams are all relegated. If they are to have any hope in avoiding relegation, they will have to begin winning multiple games to make up the eight point deficit that currently separates them from safety.
Strømmen on the other hand sit safely in the middle of the table in eighth place with 18 points. A win could put them into promotional contention at the top of the table. They have not lost in their last four games.
Bærum should be without Rozhat Shaswari, Magnus Ask Mikkelsen, Marius Lundemo and Thomas Larsen, while Erblin Llullaku is questionable. Strømmen will be without Francois Yabre and Steinar Strømnes due to injury and yellow card accumulation, respectively.