Preview: Heerenveen vs. Almere City

Preview: Heerenveen vs. Almere City

Looking to record three successive victories for the first time this season, Heerenveen will welcome newly-promoted Almere City to Abe Lenstra Stadion on Friday night in the Eredivisie.

The hosts are hoping to achieve a top-half finish once again this term after back-to-back eighth-placed placements, while Almere are on a mission to maintain their top-tier status.

Heerenveen made it four wins from their last five in all competitions with a comfortable 3-0 home success over Fortuna Sittard last time out, as a brace of penalties from Thom Haye and a strike from substitute Ion Nicolaescu secured the hosts’ fifth win of the league term.

Since a woeful seven-match winless run which stretched from August to October, Friday night’s hosts have collected nine points from their last four Eredivisie matches, only losing to John van ‘t Schip’s slightly-resurgent Ajax side at the Johan Cruijff Arena on November 5.

Sitting seventh in the Dutch top flight after collecting a respectable 16 points from their opening 13 matches, Kees van Wonderen is guiding his side towards another comfortable finish in the Eredivisie, but Heerenveen only possess a four-point advantage over FC Utrecht in 16th.

Having joined the Dutch club in January from Norwegian outfit Valerenga, winger Osame Sahraoui is currently leading his team’s Golden Boot race with four goals in 12 Eredivisie appearances – a vast improvement on last season’s form which saw him net just once in 17 league games.

De Superfriezen recruited a wealth of young talent over the summer as they attempt to compete at the upper echelons of the division, and their transfer strategy partly revolved around a mini-raid of champions Feyenoord, with Denzel Hall and Patrik Walemark joining from the Rotterdam-based club.

After picking up just a single point from the first six matches in their Eredivisie history, many predicted that Almere City would be almost certain to return to the second tier after a year’s absence, but Alex Pastoor’s men are beginning to rock the apple cart significantly.

De Zwarte Schapen’s latest scalp in the top flight was Sparta Rotterdam prior to the international break courtesy of strikes from Thomas Robinet and Kornelius Hansen, although the Eredivisie newcomers’ last match ended in the joint-heaviest defeat of the season at Yanmar Stadion.

A hat-trick from 20-year-old striker Mohamed Sankoh and a brilliant brace from Abdenego Nankishi for second-tier champions Heracles sentenced Almere to a 5-0 hammering on home soil, representing the first time they had conceded five in a contest since the visit to champions Feyenoord on August 27.

Almere have actually fared better on their travels in Eredivisie so far, with eight of their 13 league points coming away from Yanmar Stadion, and Friday’s visitors currently sit 13th in the standings, with a very respectable five-point buffer between themselves and 17th-placed FC Volendam.

Heerenveen Eredivisie form:

Almere City Eredivisie form:

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