PREVIEW: WEEKEND DUTCH ACTION
Jozy Altidore and AZ Alkmaar will look to expand their lead atop the Eredivisie standings on Sunday when they pay a visit to SC Heerenveen.
SC Heerenveen - AZ Alkmaar
Heading into a busy period which will see the team play a total of 6 games in 18 days, Jozy Altidore and Alkmaar will look to continue their dominant run through the league when they visit sixth-place Heerenveen on Sunday afternoon.
Even with a game in hand over the rest of the league, Alkmaar have already built a three-point lead atop the Eredivisie standings. In all competitions, they have not tasted defeat since mid-August, and are on an unbeaten streak that spans a remarkable 19 games.
They will certainly be tested against a hot Heerenveen team that is also in the midst of a strong run, having gone 13 games since their last defeat in a streak which stretches back to the end of August.
Thanks to a game which was called off two weeks ago due to fog and its subsequent makeup on Wednesday, along with a flurry of Cup and European matches, AZ will be facing both weekend and midweek games until the winter break begins in three weeks.
Should they win on Sunday and in Wednesday's makeup at Excelsior, they will have at least a six-point lead in the standings and be almost guaranteed of celebrating the new year in first place.
A trio of players are missing for Alkmaar; forward Roy Beerens left their midweek Europa League game early with a calf injury and is not expected to take part on Sunday. In addition, defender Niklas Moisander is sidelined with a hamstring injury and midfielder Maarten Martens is out for the time being with an ankle problem.
Heerenveen are missing Moroccan forward Oussama Assaidi as he recovers from lower back and groin problems.
Charles Kazlauskas is suspended after picking up a pair of yellow cards in Helmond Sport's previous outing, and did not participate in their 1-0 loss at home to FC Emmen on Friday evening.