DAVID SMITH - Friday, August 5, 2011
Clarence Goodson and Brøndby will be desperate to stop their three-game slide as they visit Odense while Brad Rusin and Køge will have a hard time to stop the bleeding when they visit their rowdy neighbors FC Copenhagen.
AC Horsens - Aalborg BK
Chris Rolfe will be in Aalborg's starting lineup on Saturday as they battle against AC Horsens for Danish Superliga supremacy.
With two wins and a draw through their first three games, Aalborg look to have put the near-disaster of last season behind them. They are currently deadlocked with both Copenhagen and Horsens atop the Superliga, trailing both teams only by goal differential.
Last weekend's 1-0 win over Midtjylland was their best defensive performance of the young season, which may come at the right time as they are set to face the league's surprise offensive juggernaut Horsens on Saturday.
A team which few expected to do any better than struggle against relegation, Horsens have currently leading the league both in goals scored and fewest allowed.
Last weekend's 4-1 blowout win over Brøndby was already their second lopsided scoreline of the young season, putting the onus on Aalborg to maintain a tight back line.
Aalborg will be missing American forward Marcus Tracy, who is still working his way back from long-term knee injury. Also out due to injury are defender Kasper Bøgelund and midfielder Denis Dedovic.
Horsens are without injured defender Mads Agesen and midfielder Troels Kløve.
HB Køge - FC Copenhagen
Brad Rusin and Køge are winless through their first three games of the season, and it will take a near miracle for them to end their streak as three-time league champions FC Copenhagen come for a visit.
Køge have fared about as well as predicted by many experts, with their nine goals allowed through three games the league's worst by a longshot.
A visit from Danish powerhouse and local rivals Copenhagen will do little to help their cause, as the three-time champions are flying high, having won all five of their outings across league and European play so far this season.
Their 2-0 win in the midweek over Shamrock Rovers put them into the final play-off qualification round of the competition, and yet another appearance in the group stage is widely expected.
Køge will be missing only defender Stefan Hansen due to suspension, while Copenhagen are reporting no absences.
FC Nordsjaelland - Silkeborg IF
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will try to earn their first win of the season on Sunday when the host Silkeborg IF.
The Wild Tigers will have a hard time shaking the feeling that they are trapped in a film with Bill Murray, after their second straight appearance in the Europa League due to a second consecutive Danish Cup win has given them a second meeting with Portuguese team Sporting CP.
While the rematch will certainly be in the backs of their minds, the team will need to find a way to concentrate on a Superliga season which has so far been little to laugh about.
Through three games they have amassed only a single point, putting them just inside the relegation zone, and one point off of the bottom spot.
With the season in danger of already becoming a painful fight against the drop, they will be looking to put the hurt on their visitors Silkeborg and gain a win which would likely have them barely floating above the surface.
Neither team is reporting any injuries or suspensions.
Odense BK - Brøndby IF
Brøndby captain Clarence Goodson will lead his troops into battle on Sunday, as the team does their best to shake off Thursday night's Europa League disappointment on their visit to Odense BK.
Brøndby started out their season well enough with four points from their first two games, but have seen everything go downhill with three straight poor results.
They were knocked out of the Europa League in heartbreaking fashion on Thursday after giving up a pair of late goals to Austrian team SV Ried, and sandwiched between those two games is an embarrassing 4-1 loss at home to AC Horsens.
With both the collapse against Ried and the shambolic loss to Horsens both having taken place in their home stadium, it is perhaps for the best that they will be playing at Odense on Sunday, thus giving themselves one chance to redeem themselves before coming under the surely critical scrutiny of the home crowd.
Odense are flying high so far in their young season, going undefeated through three league games to sit fourth, and beating Greek team Panathinaikos Athen over two legs to reach the play-off round of the Champions League.
The only question marks for Odense are forward Morten Skoubo and midfielder Rurik Gislason, both of whom missed the midweek win over Panathinaikos due to injury.
Brøndby are likely only missing defender Max von Schlebrügge due to a minor knee problem.
After watching last weekend's game from the bench, SønderjyskE attacking midfielder Conor O'Brien will hope for his competitive debut with the team on Saturday as they welcome AGF Aarhus.