BRENDAN WIMBERLY - Friday, August 23, 2013
Aron Johannsson and AZ look to continue their ascent to the top of the Eredivisie, while Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond hope to get out of the Eerste Divisie cellar.
Utrecht vs. AZ Alkmaar
Aron Johannsson looks to extend his goal streak to 6 games for his club as he and his AZ teammates travel to take on FC Utrecht this Sunday.
Johannsson has scored a goal in every competitive game for AZ this season, including three Eredivisie matches, a Europa League qualifier, as well as their loss to Ajax in the Dutch Super Cup. Johannsson's momentum has helped propel AZ to seven points so far in the league.
Despite finishing in fifth place last season, Utrecht have managaed only one point in their first three games, being outscored by eight goals in the process.
Part of Utrecht's struggles can be attributed to the extended absences of midfield mainstays Adam Sarota and Edouard Duplan, neither of whom figure to be ready this weekend. Joining them on the injured list are starting goalkeeper Robin Ruiter, striker Cedric van der Gun and left Back Kenny Teijsse. Dirk Marcellis is the sole absence for AZ on the weekend.
VV Venlo vs. Helmond Sport
Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport will be looking for a little more consistency this Friday when they visit VV Venlo.
Kazlauskas and crew have allowed the opposing team to steal results by way of second half goals in each of their matches this season, leaving them with just two points of the seven they've had in hand.
Venlo are faring slightly better than their counterparts, having four points through their first three matches.
Aart Verberne is still missing for Helmond after tearing a knee ligament last season, while Aaron Gielen and Roy Heesen will be unavailable for Venlo.