BRENDAN WIMBERLY - Thursday, August 29, 2013
Bizarre circumstances in the Europa League this week will see Aron Johannsson and AZ working on short rest, while Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond aim to avoid falling in the Eerste Divisie
AZ Alkmaar - Vitesse
Aron Johannsson and AZ will hope for a return to normalcy Sunday when they host Vitesse. A fire broke out in the stands during the second half of their Europa League qualifier on Thursday, and they will be forced to play the rest of the game Friday afternoon.
The interruption seems fitting seeing as Johannsson started the season about as hot as any striker in Europe. The American forward bagged a goal in each of AZ's first five games before failing to score against Utrecht last weekend. "The Iceman" is currently tied for third in the Eredivisie with three goals.
Although the Eredivisie season is still in it's infancy, both Vitesse and AZ will be looking for all three points as they currently stand neck and neck at 8th and 9th place, respectively. A win for either team would assure they end the day on top of their opponent in the Eredivisie standings.
Defender Denni Advic is still rehabbing a ligament tear from last season and will not be available for AZ. Vitesse will be missing a couple of key contributors to their attack as Chelsea loanee Gael Kakuta is injured, while incident prone forward Giorgi Chanturia is suspended until the end of October.
Achilles '29 - Helmond Sport
Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond face off against Achilles on Friday in a battle between the two teams at the bottom of the Eerste Divisie standings.
Kalauskas has once again been a rock for Helmond this season. The Milwaukee native has played all 360 minutes for the team to this point. The versatile Kazlauskas was deployed at defensive midfielder for Helmond's first game, but has been bumped to right back in their last three games.
Helmond look to reverse their second half woe's this weekend. Although they have held halftime leads in three of their four games, they have only managed to collect two points so far. Achilles are similarly prone to losing leads, as they have scored the first goal in three of their four games this season, but they only have one point to show for it.
Neither team have any injuries or suspensions to deal with.