ANDY SCHREUR - Friday, January 18, 2013
Jozy Altidore and AZ Alkmaar look to start 2013 with a win against Vitesse to open the Eredivisie's second half while Charles Kazlauskas and Helmond Sport take on Almere City.
AZ Alkamaar - Vitesse
Altidore will look to keep his torrid scoring pace going in 2013 and has 11 goals in Eredivisie play so far this season. AZ, however, limped into the winter break by losing seven of eight in league play.
Vitesse will be without their league leading goal scorer Wilfried Bony, who is representing the Ivory Coast in the African Cup of Nations. It's a tough blow for Vitesse as Bony's scored 16 goals in just 18 matches so far this season.
Transfer rumors continue to swirl around AZ's young midfielder Adam Maher and PSV Eindhoven's bid of 6 was turned down this week. Maher is expected to play this weekend.
No injuries have been reported from either club coming out of the winter break.
Helmond Sport - Almere City
Kazlauskas and Helmond are currently in fourth place and just five points behind league leader's MVV. Almere City are currently in 11th and have struggled to defend, especially at home.
Belgian midfielder Emrullah Güvenç leads Helmond with 12 goals this season and was named the league's first half MVP. Kazlauskas has three goals thus far in the campaign. Fabian Serrarens currently leads Almere City with six goals thus far and is the only real threat to score goals up top.
Almere also welcome defender Bryan Ottenhoff on loan from Twente and is expected to play this Saturday. Additionally, attacker Gino van Kessel and defender Sven Nieuwpoort have arrived from Ajax on loan through the end of the season and are prepared to play this weekend.
No injuries have been reported by either team coming out of winter camp.