PREVIEW: WEEKEND NORWEGIAN ACTION
DAVID SMITH - Saturday, August 27, 2011
Josh Gatt and Molde will try to extend their lead atop the Norwegian Tippeligaen when they visit Aalesunds FK while Jonathan Borrajo and Ham-Kam face a tough Adeccoligaen battle with second place Ranheim.

Viking Stavanger - Stabaek IF

Mikkel Diskerud will be in Stabaek's midfield on Sunday from the get-go when they pay a visit to Viking Stavanger, with the aim of solidifying their place in the league's European qualification spots.

Stabaek perhaps caught a lucky break in their home game against Brann last weekend, pulling back to earn a draw thanks to a second-half handball error by their visitors.

The draw kept them in the thick of the race for Europe, currently occupying the second of Norway's two Europa League spots, although they have much ground to make up if they hope to have any shot at qualifying for the Champions League over their last 11 games.

Stabaek have no injuries or suspensions to report, although they could be without Gilles Mbang Ondo after the forward was suspended for a red carded two games before.

Viking could still be without injured forward Bengt Sæternes, although midfielder André Danielsen will likely return after missing their last game with illness.

Aalesunds FK - Molde FK

Josh Gatt will likely be in Molde's starting lineup on Sunday when they face an Aalesunds team which is surely still shell-shocked from their midweek Europa League blowout.

Sean Cunningham will most likely be on the bench for Molde, but is still awaiting his first appearance for the team in league play.

Aalesund were thoroughly embarrassed just three days earlier on their journey to Alkmaar, giving up a shocking six goals to Jozy Altidore and his Dutch teammates to be jettisoned from the Europa League.

They will have had little time to recover and must now face Norway's best team, who are just a few wins away from running away with the league title.

A tight win over Lillestrøm last weekend gave Molde a six-point advantage atop the Tippeligaen, and a second straight win would almost certainly bring them one step closer to their first-ever championship.

Molde have a virtually injury-free squad with only long-term absence Børre missing from the defensive options.

While tired from Thursday's beat-down, Aalesunds have no injuries or suspensions to report.

Alta IF - Hønefoss BK

Steve Clark will be in goal for Hønefoss on Sunday as they try to move into one of the Adeccoligaen's two automatic promotion spots on their visit to Alta IF, while Hønefoss forward Kenneth Di Vita Jensen will look for minutes off the bench.

Hønefoss did themselves a huge favor by beating second-place Ranheim last weekend, as they now are just one point out of second place and one of the division's two automatic promotion spots.

They have a good chance to keep the ball rolling on Sunday on their visit to struggling Alta, who have only won once in their last four, and are inching ever-closer to relegation.

The hosts are without long-term injured defender Børge Josefsen and his suspended backline mate Aleksandar Vasilev, while Hønefoss are not listing any absences for the game.

Ranheim IL - Ham-Kam

Jonathan Borrajo and Ham-Kam will be well rested after their week off, and will be looking to take all three points and make a move towards promotion when they visit fellow challengers Ranheim IL on Sunday.

Ham-Kam finally broken free of their long winless streak with a resounding 3-0 win on the road over Bryne two weeks ago, which kept them within reach of the upper reaches of the league.

They will hope that the momentum hasn't stalled during their week off from Adecooligaen play, as they face a tough visit to Ranheimm on Sunday afternoon which is shaping up to be a vital six-pointer in the promotion race.

A win at second-place Ranheim would do wonders to shake up the upper reaches of the standings, which sees places two through eight separated by a mere six points with just ten games on the schedule.

Neither teams have any players suspended, Ranheim have no major absences to their squad, and Ham-Kam are also reporting no injuries.

Notes

Joseph Bendik will be on Sogndal's bench on Sunday as backup keeper when the team visits Lillestrøm SK.

Colin Burns will be holding down backup keeper duties on Sunday for Sandefjord's trip to Løv-Ham.

Kyle Helton could see substitute minutes for Mjøndalen IF on Sunday on their visit to Nybergsund IL.