Two teams close in the Eredivisie standings, just a point apart in the lower half, will face off on Friday as Almere City hosts SBV Excelsior at the Yanmar Stadion.
Excelsior has recently overtaken their rivals, moving up to 11th place, while Almere is near the relegation zone due to the competitive nature of the division’s bottom half.
Almere City is looking to win again and increase their lead over the relegation zone after escaping the bottom three.
After moving up from the second tier, they found themselves in 16th place with 13 points after 15 games. However, they turned things around at the start of the year.
Alex Pastoor’s team impressed in their last 2023 Eredivisie match by beating Vitesse Arnhem 5-0. They continued their good form into mid-January with a 1-0 win at Volendam, thanks to an early goal from Thomas Robinet.
They then drew with Fortuna Sittard and recently lost 2-0 to PSV Eindhoven, ending their unbeaten run.
Despite the loss to PSV, who have been dominant this season, Almere City is hopeful to improve their position by winning on Friday.
Excelsior also aims to distance themselves from relegation after overcoming a poor run.
Last season, they finished 15th and had a good start this season but then struggled, leading to a winless streak that ended with a 3-0 victory over Heerenveen.
Following a draw with Utrecht, Excelsior is now 11th, six points clear of relegation, and aims for a third unbeaten game on Friday.
Almere City Eredivisie Form: L L W W D L
Almere City Form (All Competitions): W W W L D L
SBV Excelsior Eredivisie Form: D L D L W D
SBV Excelsior Form (All Competitions): D W L L W D
Almere City might not change much from their last game but will miss Sherel Floranus due to suspension and Faiz Mattoir due to injury.
Theo Barbet could replace Floranus, with Damian van Bruggen and Loic Mbe Soh in defense. Stije Resink and Peer Koopmeiners will likely control midfield.
Thomas Robinet, with seven goals this season, will lead the attack, supported by Jochem Ritmeester van de Kamp and Yoann Cathline on the wings.
Excelsior has several injuries but might keep the same lineup from their last game. If Lazaros Lamprou can’t play, Derensili Sanches Fernandes will join the attack with Troy Parrott upfront.
Kenzo Goudmijn and Julian Baas will be in midfield, with Redouan El Yaakoubi and Casper Widell in defense.
Possible Starting Lineups:
Almere City: (4-2-3-1)
Jacobs, Mbe Soh, Van Bruggen, Barbet;
Ritmeester van de Kamp, Pena, Cathline;
SBV Excelsior: (4-2-3-1)
Horemans, Widell, El Yaakoubi, Zagre;
Sanches Fernandes, Naujoks, Driouech;
Prediction: Almere City 1-1 SBV Excelsior
Expecting a closely matched game on Friday, both teams look set to share the points in what seems likely to end in a draw.