DAVID SMITH - Friday, March 29, 2013
Jozy Altidore and AZ will look to distance themselves from the bottom three at Heracles while Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond need a win against Eindhoven to keep up with the Eerste Divisie's elite.
Heracles Almelo - AZ Alkmaar
Now winless in their last seven Eredivisie games, Jozy Altidore and AZ Alkmaar need to stop the bleeding on their trip to Almelo or risk falling into the relegation places.
Altidore has been effective as practically the lone consistent attacking force for Alkmaar in recent weeks, and could have a field day against one of the poorer defenses in the division.
Heracles has allowed 53 goals through 27 games, the worst amongst all teams not currently in the relegation places.
They have been more effective in recent weeks, however, shutting out their last two opponents to effectively assure that there is no chance whatsoever that even a severe downturn through the remainder of the season will put them in danger.
AZ are still locked in a battle just above the surface, although their one-point cushion could very well disappear if they can't break their current run of seven games without a victory in league play.
Alkmaar coach Gertjan Verbeek will continue to be without Maarten Martens who is recovering from a knee injury and likely Willy Overtoom who has been out for the last month with a thigh injury.
Heracles are missing the suspended Kwame Quansah and Christian Dorda, and could still be without Dario Vujicevic and Bart Schenkeveld, who are out with respective hamstring and ankle injuries.
Helmond Sport - FC Eindhoven
Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond have slipped mightily since the turn of the new year, and are in desperate need of the full three points against a poor FC Eindhoven team if they expect to maintain any hope of stealing the division's lone automatic promotion spot.
Helmond are currently in fourth place and sit four points off leaders Sparta, however are at an inherent disadvantage having played one more game than all the teams ahead of them.
They should by all means have no problems to roll over Eindhoven, who have been utterly atrocious all season long, and have not experienced a win since last fall. Fortunately for Eindhoven, the bankruptcy of Apeldoorn has saved them from what would be a likely relegation to the third level.
Helmond won the first meeting between the teams in back in mid-September, twice coming back from a deficit to take a wild 4-3 victory.
Neither team is reporting any absences.