DAVID SMITH - Friday, August 3, 2012
Conor O'Brien and SønderjyskE will try to keep their undefeated start alive when they host Horsens while Clarence Goodson and Brøndby will try to make it two in a row when they travel to Aarhus.
Aalborg BK - FC Nordsjaelland
Michael Parkhurst should be starting in Nordsjaelland's defense on Saturday when they attempt to beat a ragged Aalborg squad.
The Wild Tigers could only manage to earn a draw last weekend after giving up a late equalizer to visiting Odense, however are still within reach of the league's upper echelons after three games played.
They are tops amidst a five-team pack sitting on four points, and could distance themselves should they inflict a similar beating on Aalborg like they were forced to endure in their last outing.
Having started the season with a win and a draw, Aalborg went to Copenhagen and were handed a demoralizing 3-0 loss, with Mostafa Abdellaoue's 92nd-minute goal simply adding insult to injury.
Nordsjaelland owned the series between the teams last season, winning all three by a combined 5-1 margin, and they will be hopeful of continuing the trend on Saturday.
For Aalborg, midfielder Nicolaj Thomsen and Brazilian forward Kayake are both out with knee problems, while Morten Nordstrand is the only question mark for Nordsjaelland as he recovers from a concussion from earlier in the season.
FC Midtjylland - Randers FC
Charlie Davies will likely be called upon once again as a second-half substitute on Sunday when Randers head to Midtjylland.
The Horses have recovered well from their opening-day jitters, winning their next two on the trot to claim third place in the Superliga standings.
They will have a tough task at the home of the Wolves, as Midtjylland have also recovered nicely from their week-one loss to Copenhagen to claim four points off of European-bound teams Nordsjaelland and AC Horsens.
Davies has featured in each of Randers' last two games as an option off the bench, and will likely continue in the same role on Sunday.
Midtjylland are not reporting any absences, while Randers could still be without midfielder Elmar Bjarnason and Oliver Feldballe, who are both recovering from injuries.
AGF Aarhus - Brøndby IF
Having finally stopped the bleeding with Monday's victory over Silkeborg, Clarence Goodson and Brøndby will try to build some momentum when they visit AGF Aarhus on Sunday.
Two losses in their first two games had the team looking headed for a long road to possible relegation, but they showed some signs of hope after hanging on to an early lead for their first win earlier in the week.
They will like their chances to once again come away victorious, as they are squared off against a poor Aarhus squad that has yet to win so far this season.
The Whites have already faced the busiest schedule of all teams in the Superliga, being forced to squeeze a pair of Europa League qualification games amidst the first three games of the season.
They have lost three of the five total, with the only results being draws against both Aalborg and Esbjerg. This leaves them next to the bottom of the standings, and needing a quick turnaround to avoid any further pain.
Brøndby could continue to be without injured star Dennis Rommedahl along with backup keeper Michael Falksgaard, and will additionally be missing suspended midfielder Jens Stryger Larsen.
Aarhus should have a full squad for the game.
SønderjyskE - AC Horsens
Conor O'Brien will be starting in SønderjyskE's midfield on Monday evening as the team hosts a mediocre AC Horsens team.
O'Brien and his teammates extended their undefeated streak to three games last weekend in dramatic fashion, with Bjorn Paulsen hitting an injury-time winner to give the team all three points at last-place Esbjerg.
While they could be disappointed that it took such heroics to beat a rather poor promoted team, they will likely hold the physical edge over Horsens, who could still be weary from their Thursday-night European encounter.
Horsens could only manage a 1-1 draw at home with Swedish neighbors Elfsborg in their first leg of third-round qualifying, and could already be looking ahead to next Thursday's tricky return leg in Sweden.
SønderjyskE are not reporting any injuries while Horsens should be missing midfielder Martin Retov, along with defenders Nabil Aslam and Anders Nøhr, all of whom were forced to sit out Thursday's Europa League game with injuries.
FC Fyn - HB Køge
Brad Rusin and Shawn Nicklaw should both be in Køge's starting lineup on Sunday afternoon when they visit FC Fyn.
The Swans started their 1. Division season with a draw against fellow promotion favorites Vejle, and while disappointed to not earn the win, can now look ahead to facing a just-promoted Fyn that are likely candidates to struggle at the bottom of the standings.
Rusin and Nicklaw both played the full game against Vejle, the latter making his professional debut, and the team will be confident of having a field day against a defense that gave up three in their opening-day loss to Lyngby.
Køge must begin life without captain Thomas Christensen, who was sold to Swedish club Hammarby during the week. Fyn are not reporting any absences.
Mike Jones will hope to see action on Friday evening when Hjørring host Hobro IK.