Resurgent PEC Zwolle will go in search of a fifth straight win when they host Eredivisie table-toppers Ajax on Sunday.
Ron Jans’ side started the season in sensational fashion, winning their first four matches, and led the league for almost a month.
A run of one victory in 15 league matches saw Zwolle plummet down the table, but they appear to have been revitalised by the mid-season break and are back up to eighth.
Ajax have won the league for the last three seasons and hold a four-point advantage at the summit heading into the latest round of fixtures, but new Zwolle signing Thanasis Karagounis is confident his side can cause an upset.
The 22-year-old, who joined from Atromitos in December, believes Zwolle’s mid-season trip to South Africa has proved highly beneficial.
“It strikes me that everyone at PEC Zwolle is in a group working together,” Karagounis told the club’s official website.
“In Greece, the clubs do not go to (a) training camp in the winter, so it was a surprise for me.
“But I have the training camp in South Africa as a very positive experience. We worked hard and enjoyed it.”
Karagounis has played in all four of the club’s recent wins, the first of which came in the KNVB Beker.
Ajax will also enter the game in high spirits, having won nine matches during a 10-game unbeaten run in the league.
Heerenveen’s Alfred Finnbogason is the Eredivisie’s top scorer and will look to add to his haul of 20 in 19 matches when his fifth-placed side visit Groningen on Sunday.
Twente are four points behind Ajax, with a game in hand, and have not lost a league match since October 26.
Their title credentials will be tested on Saturday at PSV, who currently sit seventh after a patchy season.
Friday’s sole game sees third-placed Vitesse, without a league win in three, host rock-bottom ADO Den Haag.
Feyenoord host NEC in one of Saturday’s other fixtures, while NAC Breda battle Roda JC and Go Ahead Eagles take on AZ.
Heracles host Cambuur 24 hours later and RKC Waalwijk face Utrecht.
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