DAVID SMITH - Friday, August 9, 2013
Aron Johannsson will hope to extend his scoring streak when AZ hosts Ajax while Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport look for their first win of the season against visiting FC Eindhoven.
AZ Alkmaar - Ajax Amsterdam
One week after notching a goal and assist in AZ's season-opening 4-2 loss at Heerenveen, Aron Johannsson should once again be the focal point of his team's attack when defending league champions Ajax come to Alkmaar.
AZ looked overwhelmed in last weekend's opener at Heerenveen, unable to even look close to mounting a comeback after their opponents were reduced to ten men on the field.
Johannsson was one of the few bright spots in the AZ roster for the game, looking dangerous in the limited chances he had on the ball, and ultimately having a hand in each of the team's goals.
The two teams faced off two weeks before in the Dutch Supercup, pitting last season's league champions Ajax against reigning cup winners AZ.
In that game, Johannsson looked to have scored what should have been the winner, giving AZ a 2-0 lead in the 68th minute, however the porous defense allowed their opponents to pull even in regulation and eventually win in overtime.
Ajax were their usual selves in last weekend's opener, surging past Roda in a 3-0 win.
The visitors will be missing Joël Veltman to a knee problem while AZ have a full squad for the game.
Helmond Sport - FC Eindhoven
Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond will hope that Saturday's home game against FC Eindhoven will give them their first win of the season.
Helmond carelessly gave away a halftime lead and were forced to settle for a draw in their opener at Excelsior Rotterdam in last weekend's opener, but will be hopeful of pulling off a win for the home opener on Saturday.
They are facing an Eindhoven team that, by all accounts, should have been relegated after last season, and survived only thanks to a pair of bankruptcies by former division competitors.
Eindhoven also drew their opening game, although they will be far more disappointed in the scoreless craw at home against VVV-Venlo.
The visitors are without injured forwards Soufiane Dadda and Josemar Makiavala, midfielder Jason Bourdouxhe and defender Sebastiaan de Wilde.
Helmond have a full squad for the game.