MX23RW : Monday, June 21 02:03:45| >> :600:2869398:2869398:
May 13, 2021 at 1.30pm UK at Euroborg
GroningenGroningen
0-0
AZAZ Alkmaar

Itakura (68'), te Wierik (72'), van Hintum (80')
FT

Svensson (70')

Preview: Groningen vs. AZ Alkmaar - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Eredivisie clash between Groningen and AZ Alkmaar, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

AZ Alkmaar will look to continue their push for second spot in the Eredivisie table on Thursday, as they travel to Euroborg to take on Groningen.

With two games of the season left to play, the visitors sit one point behind PSV Eindhoven in second place, while their hosts can still achieve a top-six finish with a positive end to the campaign.


Match preview

AZ Alkmaar's Albert Guomundsson celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates in October 2020© Reuters

Groningen returned to winning ways last time out, as they travelled to take on a rejuvenated FC Emmen side on Sunday.

Bart van Hintum opened the scoring on the half-hour mark, before an Alessio Da Cruz brace and a late Paulos Abraham goal sealed a dominant 4-0 victory for Danny Buijs's side.

That put an end to a three-game losing run in the Eredivisie for The Green-White Army, as they fell to Heerenveen, PSV Eindhoven and Sparta Rotterdam.

That run dealt a huge blow to their chances of finishing in the top six of the Eredivisie for the first time since 2014, although Buijs's men do still stand an outside chance of breaking back into the top six if they can end the season in a strong manner.

Groningen currently occupy seventh spot, sitting just two points behind sixth-placed FC Utrecht with six points left to play for.

As a result, The Green-White Army will be desperate to win their last two league games to boost their chances of a top-six finish at the end of the season.

Their visitors come into this game in a similar situation, as they battle for a victory to try to break into second spot.

AZ Alkmaar's Teun Koopmeiners pictured in February 2020© Reuters

A recent 2-0 defeat to champions Ajax saw AZ Alkmaar drop to third spot, moving out of pole position to reach the Champions League qualifiers for next season.

However, they quickly bounced back with consecutive wins coming into this game, firstly defeating strugglers RKC Waalwijk 3-1 away from home.

The hosts took an early lead through Thijs Oosting, but Albert Gudmundsson quickly equalised before Myron Boadu and Calvin Stengs found the net in the second half to seal three crucial points for Pascal Jansen's side.

They then followed that up with a 1-0 victory at home to Fortuna Sittard, as Gudmundsson again got on the scoresheet with a penalty, and the Cheeseheads would go on to see out the narrow victory with 10 men after Ramon Leeuwin was sent off in the 49th minute.

That means Jansen's men have now won six of their last seven outings in the Dutch top flight, however PSV Eindhoven have managed to cling on to second spot with a strong run of form of their own.

As a result, the place is out of the Cheeseheads' hands, meaning all they can do is focus on winning the last two league games to give themselves the best possible chance of reaching the Champions League qualifying stage next season.

Groningen Eredivisie form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • W

AZ Alkmaar Eredivisie form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W



Team News

AZ Alkmaar players look dejected against Real Sociedad on November 5, 2020© Reuters

Alessio Da Cruz will lead the Groningen line with confidence, having netted a brace in the 4-0 victory over Emmen last time out.

Winger Arjen Robben recorded two assists in that game upon his return from a spell out with injury, and he should get his second start of the season on Thursday.

They will remain without left-back Gabriel Gudmundsson and midfielder Sam Schreck through injury, with Bart van Hintum expected to continue at left-back after his goal in their recent win.

AZ Alkmaar will be without centre-back Ramon Leeuwin, who will serve a suspension after he was sent off in the victory over Fortuna Sittard.

Worryingly for Jansen, Leeuwin came on as a substitute in that game as fellow centre-back Timo Letschert was forced off through injury after just 10 minutes, and he could also miss out on Thursday's game.

Richard Sedlacek and Pantelis Chatzidiakos are also expected to remain out through injury, while key midfielder Teun Koopmeiners could continue his spell out of contention through illness.

The club captain has led his side with 15 goals and five assists in Eredivisie action this season from a deep midfield role, and Jordy Clasie could deputise again in his absence.

Groningen possible starting lineup:
Padt; Dankerlui, Te Wierik, Itakura, Van Hintum; Lundqvist, Matusiwa; Robben, Joosten, Abraham; Da Cruz

AZ Alkmaar possible starting lineup:
Bizot; Svensson, Sugawara, Martins Indi, Wijndal; Clasie, Midtsjo; Stengs, Gudmundsson, Karlsson; Boadu


SM words green background

We say: Groningen 1-2 AZ Alkmaar

With AZ Alkmaar compromised at the back due to several unavailable centre-backs, Groningen could definitely cause the visitors problems on Thursday, but we see Jansen's men escaping with all three points.

Even without Koopmeiners, the Cheeseheads have looked strong in their last two outings, and they will be hopeful of recording a third consecutive victory as they desperately aim to break into the top two.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data


ID:446976:1false2false3false:QQ:: from db desktop :LenBod:collect11041:

How you voted: Groningen vs AZ

Groningen
20.0%
Draw
20.0%
AZ Alkmaar
60.0%
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Ajax00000000
2AZ AlkmaarAZ00000000
3Groningen00000000
4FC Twente00000000
5FC UtrechtUtrecht00000000
6Feyenoord00000000
7Fortuna SittardSittard00000000
8Go Ahead Eagles00000000
9Heracles00000000
10NEC00000000
11PEC Zwolle00000000
12PSV EindhovenPSV00000000
13RKC WaalwijkRKC Waalwijk00000000
14Cambuur00000000
15Heerenveen00000000
16Sparta RotterdamSparta00000000
17Vitesse00000000
18Willem II00000000

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