PREVIEW: WEEKEND DUTCH ACTION
Oguchi Onyewu and Twente will hope to close the gap at the top of the Eredivisie standings with a home victory over VVV, while Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport will look to maintain their promotion challenge when Go Ahead Eagles comes to town.
FC Twente – VVV Venlo
Though he missed out on the midweek romp over Zenit St. Petersburg in the Europa League, Oguchi Onyewu has been a staple in Coach Michel Preud'homme's back four since his loan move from Milan and is expected to return to the starting eleven on Sunday.
Twente currently sit in second place, just three points behind PSV and two points ahead of Ajax. A victory, therefore, is critical to maintaining not only a title challenge, but also their grip on the second Champions League spot.
The statistics are in Twente's favor as Gooch and Co. have not lost an Eredivisie game at home since before Thanksgiving , while VVV have lost four consecutive away games by a combined score of 12-1.
In their first matchup of the season Twente took a 2-1 result in Venlo with Costa Rican international Bryan Ruiz notching the winner.
Helmond Sport – Go Ahead Eagles
Third place Helmond Sport will host sixth place Go Ahead Eagles on Friday evening, as both clubs fight to secure a spot in the promotion playoffs.
It remains to be seen how Milwaukee native Charles Kazlauskas will be used as he has played an inconsistent role in recent weeks, alternating between the starting lineup and substitute appearances.
Helmond Sport has won three of their previous four games, though Go Ahead Eagles may be on an even hotter streak. The visitors will enter Lavans Stadion having only lost once in their previous seven contests, a 3-1 away defeat to runaway leaders Zwolle.
In September Go Ahead Eagles earned a 2-0 victory at home over Helmond Sport, with Kaz playing the full 90 at fullback.
If the American is again called on by Coach Jurgen Streppel he will be tasked with slowing Go Ahead Eagles' leading scorer, Koen van der Biezen, who has 18 goals on the season, including one in that September matchup.