Elm brothers come face to face

The match is a crucial one for both teams, who are only three

points apart in the race for European football. Rasmus’ AZ

currently have the upper hand but have lost their last two games,

including a sobering 4-0 home defeat by PSV Eindhoven last weekend.

Heerenveen, meanwhile, ended a run of three games without a win by

beating NAC Breda, but Viktor admitted the mentality of the team is

not what it should be. The 25-year-old told NuSport: “We have good

footballers at Heerenveen but it seems that we do not have the

heart to win a match. It’s just a question of attitude. “The

players of our team are all beautiful to watch. Technically it’s

perfect. We can play well and we have quite a few times. Viktor,

who has recovered from a groin injury, added: “There is currently a

lot going on at the club. There are rumours and the atmosphere is

sometimes not good.” The two midfielders, whose older brother David

is also a professional footballer with Elfsborg in Sweden, have

faced each other on many occasions before. Rasmus, 22, insists

there will be no nasty tackles flying around on Saturday, although

he admitted that has not always been the case. “The first time we

had to play against each other was quite crazy,” he said. “You

could say we went into it not as brothers, only victory counted.

“Everyone was talking about. I did not like it. I would never

forgive myself if Viktor got injured.” Hosts Heerenveen will be

without Roy Beerens (ankle) and the suspended Mika Vayrynen while

Bas Dost is a doubt through illness. AZ, meanwhile, will have to

cope without coach Gertjan Verbeek on the touchline after he

accepted a one-match ban for criticising the officials in the match

against PSV. League leaders PSV are not in action until Sunday,

when they host midtable NAC Breda while defending champions FC

Twente, who are level on points with their Eindhoven rivals, meet

NEC. Third-place Ajax will hope to make up ground when they take on

struggling VVV Venlo, as will surprise package FC Groningen, who

face Roda JC. In other matches, bottom side Willem II travel to

Excelsior, ADO Den Haag host Feyenoord and Vitesse take on De

Graafschap. Tomorrow night’s game, meanwhile, sees Heracles, who

have not won away all season, travel to FC Utrecht. The Almelo

club’s focus has been off the pitch this week as they stepped up

their campaign to secure funding for a new stadium. The council are

due to rule on the matter on March 8, and fans showed their support

for the plans in a demonstration. Director Nico-Jan Hoogma told

www.heracles.nl: “It is yet more proof that this club is very alive

and that we all need a new stadium. “We hope to have convinced the

city council of the absolute necessity. I’ve said it before but,

without a new stadium, sooner or later we will be relegated from

the Eredivisie.”