PREVIEW: WEEKEND DUTCH ACTION
Oguchi Onyewu and Twente will hope a victory over AZ boosts their title hopes, while Charles Kazlauskas and Co. will fight to keep Helmond Sport in the promotion race when Sparta Rotterdam comes to town.
AZ Alkmaar – FC Twente
Fresh off a 2-2 tie with Rubin Kazan in the Europa League, which guaranteed their passage to the round of 16, Twente will return to Eredivisie action with a tough matchup on the road at fifth place AZ.
Twente have not lost in six consecutive Eredivisie games, and currently find themselves only two points behind league leading PSV.
Coach Michel Preud'homme is expected to once again call upon loanee Oguchi Onyewu to patrol the backline, where he will hope to leverage his physicality to negate the threat of Kolbein Sigthorsson.
AZ's Icelandic striker has ten goals on the season, including five in a single game against VVV Venlo in January.
Helmond Sport – Sparta Rotterdam
Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport will welcome Sparta Rotterdam to the Lavans Stadion on Friday night.
Both teams will be looking to stabilize their position in the Eerste Divisie as inconsistency has plagued them in the new year.
Third place Helmond Sport has alternated wins and losses in their previous six games, while the visitors have won just twice in their previous eight contests.
It remains to be seen what role Kazlauskas will play. The Wisconsin native has been a stalwart in the Helmond Sport midfield for the better part of two seasons, but Coach Jurgen Streppel has preferred to utilize him a substitute in five of the past six games.