DAVID SMITH - Saturday, August 27, 2011
Brad Rusin returns from suspension for Køge's battle with still-undefeated Aalborg BK and Chris Rolfe, while Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will try to wipe their Europa League tears on lowly Lyngby.
HB Køge - Aalborg BK
After finally picking up their first win of the season last weekend, Brad Rusin and Køge will have a hard time to make it two straight as second-place Aalborg BK come to visit on Saturday.
For Aalborg, Chris Rolfe will maintain his starting spot in the right side of the midfield, however Marcus Tracy is still not yet ready to return to action from long-term knee problems.
Køge finally put the breaks on their freefall back to the First division by beating Silkeborg by a 3-0 margin last weekend, looking very little like the same team which had been a punching bag for opposing teams through their first five games of the season.
While the win will have certainly lifted their spirits, there is still much to do as they are two points deep in the relegation zone, and have the Superliga's second-best team awaiting them on Saturday afternoon.
Aalborg are one of the two remaining undefeated teams in the league along with leaders FC Copenhagen, however they have done it in a far less impressive fashion.
Their three wins and three draws is enough for second place, however leaves them already four points back of the reigning champions, likely leaving them to duke it out with Odense for the "other title", namely the honor of claiming the Champions League berth awaiting the second place finishers.
Køge have no suspensions and are not reporting any injured players.
In addition to Tracy, Aalborg defender Kenneth Emil Petersen is still a question mark, although he has returned to practice with the team.
Odense BK - SønderjyskE
Conor O'Brien will likely take part as a substitute on Sunday when SønderjyskE hit the road to take on a potentially weary Odense BK team still feeling the sting from their midweek Champions League qualification failure.
O'Brien again saw extended second-half action in SønderjyskE's Monday-night game, entering the scoreless draw against Aalborg just before the hour mark
They were fortunate to escape that game with a point, however face perhaps an equally tough test on Sunday as they must visit their closest neighbors Odense, who are consistently one of the league's toughest teams.
Odense will be both tired and somewhat downtrodden after their 3-0 midweek loss at Villarreal knocked them out of the Champions League, and could fall victim to a tough SønderjyskE team that has quietly gone undefeated since its opening day loss to Copenhagen in mid-July.
The only question mark for SønderjyskE is forward Tommy Bechmann, who missed last weekend's game with a knee injury.
Odense will likely still be without injured players Nicklas Højlund, Mikkel Bischoff, Frederik Krabbe, Peter Madsen and Mathias Tauber.
FC Nordsjaelland - Lyngby BK
After falling out of the Europa League on Thursday at the hands of Portuguese team Sporting, Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will turn their focus towards domestic play when they host relegation-threatened Lyngby on Sunday.
The team had drawn hope by holding the Portuguese giants to a scoreless draw in the first leg in Farum, however Sporting were the far superior team in the 2-1 return game win, knocking Parkhurst and his teammates out of the competition at the same stage for two years running.
With European play no longer in the horizon, they can focus on domestic matters, namely steadying their play in league play, where they have far from dominant.
Their 2-1 loss at Midtjylland last weekend dropped them into the lower half of the standings, and a win at home against second-bottom Lyngby is a near-must to avoid falling into an early trap that could signal a rough season to come.
Lyngby have gone three straight without a win, and with only a single victory on the season, are currently looking to be likely candidates to suffer relegation from the top flight.
Both teams are fortunate to have injury- and suspension-free squads for the game, and Lyngby will have the added bonus of new signing Patrice Bernier, after the Canadian international reinforced the team during the week.
FC Midtjylland - Brøndby IF
Clarence Goodson will be in the central defense for Brøndby on Sunday when they try to break their current three-game winless run with a tough trip to Midtjylland.
While the attack stuttered on their trip to Aarhus last weekend, Goodson and his fellow defenders put on a fine performance to preserved the scoreless draw.
The end of the transfer window can't come soon enough for the players on the field, as the squad has been decimated by the team's upper brass in their attempts to cut salaries and raise much-needed revenue.
They are hovering just two points above the drop zone with only a single win on the season, and will have a tough time earning a second victory against a Midtjylland team that has not lost at home since the league's opening weekend.
The Wolves will be without defender Kristian Ipsa and midfielder Adigun Salami as both recover from injuries.
Brøndby continue to be without defender Max von Schlebrügge due to a minor knee problem, and could also be missing young defender Daniel Norouzi after he missed last weekend's game with a knee injury.
Making matters worse in the defense, Mikael Nilsson is suspended for three games after a scuffle with a referee in the closing moments of last weekend's game, and midfielder Michael Krohn-Dehli is questionable for the game with a minor knock.
Babajide Ogunbiyi is currently sidelined for the long-haul recovering from knee surgery, and will not take part on Sunday when Viborg host FC Roskilde.