DAVID SMITH - Saturday, October 29, 2011
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will try to keep their momentum running strong against struggling Lyngby while Chris Rolfe and Clarence Goodson square off when Aalborg visits Brøndby.
AGF Aarhus - HB Køge
Having put in one of their stronger performances of the season during the week, albeit in Danish Cup play, Brad Rusin and Køge will be looking to go for a second straight when they visit Aarhus on Sunday.
Køge put in a pair of overtime goals on Thursday at First Division team Roskilde to advance to the quarterfinals of the Cup, and received a bit of luck in Friday's draw with a favorable matchup against Vejle-Kolding which could give them a leg-up to reach the semifinals.
This stands as one of the lone bright spots in a difficult season, where they have struggled on the defensive side of the ball to be rooted firmly in the league's cellar.
They have shown some signs of improvement in recent weeks, coming back from a first-half deficit to draw even with a strong Midtjylland team in their last league outing, but have a tough task ahead of them against fellow promoted team Aarhus.
Their hosts are in the midst of a strong run in league play, where their run of nine undefeated games has pulled them up to fourth in the standings, and Wednesday's cup loss to Vejle-Kolding will likely do little to halt their momentum.
After taking a hard knock to his head in the final minutes of Thursday's game, Rusin should be available to play on Sunday, whether it be in the defense or up top in the attack where he started last weekend against Midtjylland. Otherwise, Køge are only missing defender Andreas Sørensen as he recovers from a broken foot.
Aarhus are missing several key players, most notably team talisman Peter Graulund who will be out for the rest of the year after rupturing his Achilles tendon in their Cup loss. Otherwise, the team is also missing defender Mark Howard, midfielder Kasper Povlsen and attacker Davit Devdariani.
FC Nordsjaelland - Lyngby BK
Michael Parkhurst and Nordsjaelland will be confident of extending their hot streak when they host troubled team Lyngby on Sunday.
The Wild Tigers have been perhaps the strongest team in Denmark over the last two months, winning eight of nine in all competitions to rise to second in the league.
They defeated third-place Midtjylland on Thursday night to reach the quarterfinals of the Cup, however their most impressive performance was three days before, when they thoroughly dominated first-place Copenhagen to score an eye-popping 3-1 road victory.
On paper, they should have little trouble to ease past a Lyngby team which looks headed for relegation, having won just twice through 13 games in league play and already facing a four-point deficit to safety.
Nordsjaelland backup keeper David Jensen is expected to be out of training for four to six weeks after suffering a knee injury, and defender Henrik Kildentoft is unlikely after falling ill with pneumonia.
In addition, both midfielders Mikkel Beckmann and Nicolai Stockholm are out on yellow card accumulation.
Lyngby will likely be missing defender Frederik Krabbe and the forward trio of Peter Madsen, Bajram Fetai and Uffe Maniche Bech, all to injury.
Brøndby IF - Aalborg BK
Clarence Goodson and Brøndby will be looking to avoid falling deeper towards the drop zone when they host Chris Rolfe and Aalborg on Sunday.
Brøndby's 3-0 loss on Thursday night in the Danish Cup to Copenhagen was likely not entirely unexpected, however it simply served to extend a troubling run which has left them on the edge of being sucked into a relegation battle they are hoping to avoid.
They have only won three times during the entire season as compared to seven losses, and at this point can only hope to hang on until the winter break, when they can regroup and bring in reinforcements to try to save their season in the springtime.
They could be in luck against Aalborg who, prior last weekend's win over Odense, had failed to win in five straight.
Rolfe was the hero in last weekend's victory, scoring both of the team's goals in the 2-1 win, and will undoubtedly cause problems for the Brøndby defense which has consistently given up untimely goals to turn leads into draws or losses.
Aalborg will be missing suspended defender Kenneth Emil Petersen along with injured players Jeppe Curth and Patrick Kristensen.
Brøndby should have a full team available for the trip.
FC Midtjylland - SønderjyskE
After putting in a strong performance in a substitute role in SønderjyskE's Wednesday-night cup win over Hobro, Conor O'Brien will likely see time on Monday evening when the team heads to third-place Midtjylland.
SønderjyskE battled Hobro to a scoreless result after 90 minutes, however a pair of goals in overtime saw them through to the quarterfinals. They are odds-on favorites to reach the semifinals as they drew relative minnows Næsby, however will face a tougher opponent in their immediate future in the Wolves.
Midtjylland had been on a tear through the league in the last two months, although they were temporarily halted in drawing even with Køge last weekend and losing on Thursday night in the Cup to Nordsjaelland.
Monday's game will be a chance for them to return to their winning ways, and with SønderjyskE having blown hot and cold in recent weeks, it could be a tough go for O'Brien and his teammates.
Midtjylland should have an injury- and suspension-free team available for the game while SønderjyskE could be without forward Kenneth Fabricius and defender Jarl Andre Storbæk, both of whom missed Wednesday's game due to injury.
Babajide Ogunbiyi is recovering from knee surgery and did not take part in Viborg's 2-1 loss at home to Esbjerg on Friday.