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