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

:Headline: Preview: Vitesse vs. AZ Alkmaar - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Eredivisie clash between Vitesse and AZ Alkmaar, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Vitesse play host to AZ Alkmaar on Sunday evening, looking for the victory which will keep them in close proximity to fourth place in the Eredivisie standings.

Despite their recent improvements, AZ still sit down in 12th position, keeping the visitors under pressure ahead of a game against opponents who they will still consider as rivals for the European places.

Match preview

While Vitesse's priority this season is finishing in the top five of the Eredivisie, they have been given every reason to dream of a run in the Europa Conference League.

Their late comeback to claim a 3-3 draw with Rennes in midweek has heaped the pressure on Tottenham Hotspur, with Spurs realistically needing to beat the French outfit in two weeks' time to progress further in the competition.

Nevertheless, Vitesse will focus on their own exploits, and Thomas Letsch will be delighted with how his players responded to losing out 2-0 at PSV Eindhoven in the previous game.

Although Vitesse have only prevailed in two of their last six matches, Letsch will only feel encouraged ahead of trying to keep AZ down in the bottom half of the table.

Remarkably, just six different players have scored for Vitesse in the Dutch top flight, leading marksman Lois Openda not netting since the end of last month.

As far as AZ are concerned, they will view this contest as one of their most significant of the season as they bid to close the gap on the top five.

Victory at the GelreDome would move them to within three points of their hosts, as well as end a three-match run without success in the league.

AZ have needed to come from behind in their last two matches in all competitions, netting a last-minute equaliser against NEC Nijmegen before earning a share of the spoils at Jablonec in the Europa Conference League.

They remain with one of the worst away records in the Eredivisie, however, with five defeats coming from their seven fixtures on the road.

Vitesse Eredivisie form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L

Vitesse form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D

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

AZ Alkmaar form (all competitions):
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • D

Team News

Having made multiple changes for the European fixture in France, Letsch will likely revert back to much of the team which started at PSV.

Eli Basa and Nikolai Baden Frederiksen should return at right wing-back and in attack respectively, but Daan Huisman is pushing to keep his spot after impressing on Thursday.

Danilho Doekhi will also be restored to the defence after serving a suspension in Europe.

Pascal Jansen kept changes down to a minimum on Thursday, leaving him with a decision to make over whether to introduce fresh legs.

Yukinari Sugawara and Albert Gudmundsson should return to the AZ side, but Hakon Evjen will be expecting a chance after contributing to goals on his last two outings.

Vitesse possible starting lineup:
Schubert; Doekhi, Bazoer, Rasmussen; Dasa, Bero, Tronstad, Wittek; Frederiksen, Openda; Buitink

AZ Alkmaar possible starting lineup:
Vindahl; Sugawara, Hatzidiakos, Martins Indi, Wijndal; Midtsjo, Clasie; Gudmundsson, Wit, Karlsson; Pavlidis

We say: Vitesse 2-1 AZ Alkmaar

While AZ have improved of late, they are not doing enough to suggest that they can put together a consistent run in the future. With that in mind, we are backing the home side to edge a tight contest by the odd goal in three.

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