DAVID SMITH - Friday, August 19, 2011
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will try to momentarily forget their Europa League qualification campaign when they visit Midtjylland while Clarence Goodson and Brøndby need to help their cause with a win at Aarhus.
FC Midtjylland - FC Nordsjaelland
After successfully shutting down Portuguese team Sporting in midweek Europa League play, Michael Parkhurst and the Nordsjaelland defense will hope to do the same to Midtjylland when these teams meet on Sunday.
Parkhurst once again featured on the left side of the defense for the Wild Tigers, as they went toe-to-toe with Sporting on Thursday, and head coach Kasper Hjulmand could keep the same back-four in place for a third straight game after the unit was also responsible for shutting out Køge in last weekend's league win.
Despite getting off to a slow start to the new Superliga season in July, Nordsjaelland have been on fire as of late, winning their last two in league play prior to holding Sporting in continental play on Thursday.
This has pulled them just inside the upper half of the standings, now one point ahead of their Sunday opponents Midtjylland, who themselves are coming off of a tough 2-0 loss to Copenhagen last weekend, and have dropped three of their last four in all competitions.
The Wolves shipped striker Ken Fagerberg to Viborg on loan during the week, and will additionally be without defender Kristian Ipsa and midfielder Adigun Salami as both recover from injuries.
Nordsjaelland have a suspension- and injury-free squad to choose from for the game.
AGF Aarhus - Brøndby IF
Clarence Goodson and Brøndby will try to regroup from their recent downturn on Sunday when they pay a visit to similarly struggling AGF Aarhus.
The Brøndby first team has been literally gutted during the current summer transfer period, with the most recent departure being starting keeper Stephan Andersen, who was officially sold to French team Evian during the week.
He was already held out of the team's last game - a 2-2 draw against SønderjyskE - and his presence was sorely missed in a game which they by all means could have won with more experience in goal.
Brøndby's three-game run in league play without taking full points has left them hovering just one point above the relegation zone, and they will be keen to steal all three points from Aarhus, who have perhaps had even worse problems as of late.
The newly-promoted team is finding their return to the Danish top flight a tough one, as they have failed to register a win in their last four, and are also hovering around the drop zone, equal on points with Brøndby and leading only by goal differential.
Brøndby continue to be without defender Max von Schlebrügge due to a minor knee problem, and will also be missing young defender Daniel Norouzi after he picked up a knee injury during the week.
Aarhus are reporting no injuries to their squad.
SønderjyskE - Aalborg BK
Conor O'Brien is in line to see substitute minutes for SønderjyskE while Chris Rolfe will be in the starting lineup for the visitors on Monday evening when the teams meet in Haderslev Fodboldstadion.
SønderjyskE are coming off of an emotional draw with Brøndby last weekend, a game which saw them waste an early lead, then fight back for an 85th-minute equalizer.
Their relative success through the first five games of the season has left them a surprising fifth in the standings, however they will be heavily tested by Rolfe and his Aalborg teammates, who have looked to be possibly the second-best team in the league.
Aalborg have won thee of their first five games with the other two being draws, and made a huge statement to the league last weekend with a convincing 2-1 victory over Odense, putting their stamp on the race for the league's second Champions League spot.
Finally having moved past his earlier injury woes, Rolfe has done well to meet if not exceed expectations which accompanied his arrival in January, 2010, and positioning himself to be a key player in what is looking to be one of the top teams in the country for the new season.
Aalborg are without American forward Marcus Tracy, who is in the final stages of recovering from knee problems, along with midfielders Kasper Kusk and Denis Dedovic, and defender Kasper Bøgelund, all due to injury.
The only question mark for SønderjyskE is forward Tommy Bechmann, who missed last weekend's game with a knee injury.
Brad Rusin is suspended due to yellow card accumulation and will not suit up for Køge on Sunday as they look for their first win of the season when Silkeborg pay a visit.
Babajide Ogunbiyi is in long-term recovery from knee surgery and will not take part on Friday when Viborg FF visit AB Copenhagen.