Toppserien - Matchday 16 Preview: Full programme returns after Avaldsnes' Champions League exploits
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Toppserien - Matchday 16 Preview: Full programme returns after Avaldsnes' Champions League exploits

It's back to business for week 16 in the top division in Norway.

Jonathan Walsh

With Avaldsnes now back from their UEFA Women's Champions League qualification, which they successfully negotiated, the Toppserien returns to six games this weekend.

The draw didn't go to plan, per say, as Avaldsnes and LSK Kvinner ended up with the two biggest teams in France, Paris-Saint Germain and Olympique Lyonnais, respectively.

Nevertheless, both will resume their battle for domestic dominance this weekend. Elsewhere, Stabæk and Kolbotn continue their pursuit of the top two.

Avaldsnes confident against Trondheims-Ørn

It is almost two months since Avaldsnes were in league action but after breezing through their Champions League qualifying group with three wins, 19 goals and just one conceded, they will be confident of getting back to winning ways in the Norwegian top flight.

Their last league game was that heavy loss to LSK that severely dented their title hopes, but Kent Michael Bøe's side do have two games in hand to eat away at that 10 point gap. With Cecilie Pedersen, Hege HansenHólmfrídur Magnúsdóttir and Elise Thorsnes all in good form, it Trondheims-Ørn will find it tough going.

Above Vålerenga only on goal difference, Trondheim may hoping to keep that in tact after the devastating displays of their opponents in Europe.

LSK take on Medkila

In terms of dominant performances across a league campaign, the current table-toppers in Norway are putting in a display anyone would be proud of. Having been behind for a combined 66 minutes this term, scored the most - claiming three of the top four goalscorers - and conceded the least, there is little that hasn't been said about LSK.

Albeit for just seven minutes, Medkila were one of just two sides to claim a lead against the imperious Lillestrøm. Things haven't gone to plan for them, having picked up just five points all season, but may well take heart from their early season performance.

However, after Lene Mykjåland made her decision to retire public and Medkila losing key players, LSK will be out to give her one last league title to add to an amazing career.

Stabæk hoping to sort out topsy-turvy form

With a less than convincing last five games behind them, Stabæk's potential challenge on the top two has faltered massively and has dragged them into a battle with Kolbotn in a battle for 'best of the rest'. Defeats to Røa and Avaldsnes are nothing to be too worried about but a draw to Urædd - their only point this season - raised eyebrows.

The loss to Røa didn't reassure fans that the loss of four players over the break wouldn't be felt, and this could be the prime opportunity for Vålerenga to pick up some much needed points. With just three points separating themselves and Sandviken in sixth - goal difference aside - they have hopes of finishing in the top half.

However, Stabæk's defence is one of the meanest in the division and that's always a solid platform to build on to get back into form.

Mykjaland in action. | Image credit: Stoett Norsk Kvinnefotball
Mykjaland in action. | Image credit: Stoett Norsk Kvinnefotball

Kolbotn and Klepp meet with both in indifferent patches

Unlike their main rivals for third, Kolbotn managed to hold their squad together over the break. However, their form has also been less than promising. Winless in their last three, they too have missed chances to keep pace at the very top but can still look back on this season fondly; a cup semi-final is still to come for the club.

Klepp have been on an odd run themselves and lost prodigious talent Andrea Norheim to Lyon this summer, yet are comfortably the most goal-friendly side in the bottom half. Having scored nine more goals than anyone else below them, they'll hope to break down the stubborn Kolbton defence.

Røa want to get back to winning ways at Sandviken

Despite a heavy defeat to LSK and having played a game more than everyone else, Røa are still the form team in the hunt for third and have every chance of pipping the two teams above them. With Elen Botten, Sunniva Wiencke, Inger Katrine Bjerke and Andrea Frøshaug all heading to the US, last week's game was always going to be tough.

Sandviken have hauled themselves out of trouble with seven points from their last four games and could fancy their chances of taking advantage of any more slip-ups Røa may have. Even though they're beside each other in the table, Røa are seve points clear for a reason and will be favourites heading into this one.

Urædd's days nearly numbered, with a win over Arna-Bjørnar needed

With just five goals to their name and a single point, wins for Trondheims-Ørn and Vålerenga would almost confirm - apart from a miracle turnaround on goal difference - Urædd's spot in the bottom two. That draw against Stabæk would have given them massive confidence, and with games still to come against the bottom sides there is still hope.

Arna-Bjørnar have a game in hand over the teams around them, though a win here and a Medkila defeat would leave them needing just a single point from their last seven games to be sure of survival. Unlike most sides towards the bottom, they have the ability to run most reasonably close and will fancy their chances of getting the win they need.