Damallsvenskan Week 11 Preview: Relegation battle comes to life

It's possible that there will be two new sides in the relegation places, with the highlight being the match between Umeå IK FF and Kristianstads DFF.

Damallsvenskan Week 11 Preview: Relegation battle comes to life
Can FC Rosengård keep up with Linköpings FC, or even nick top spot from them? (Photo: svenskfotboll.se)

While the title race is where most of the quality in the Damallsvenskan resides, it's not where all the action is.

This week, the relegation battle will take centre stage as some crucial fixtures are played out that could shape the season for many of the strugglers.

Piteå vs Eskilstuna United

Piteå IF host Eskilstuna United on Thursday, with the two sides separated by just one point.

Piteå's win last week saw them close the gap to third place Eskilstuna, and with the top two looking unbeatable at the moment, it maybe that third place is what these two sides are fighting for at the end of the season.

And whilst Piteå have drawn and won their last two matches, Eskilstuna have lost both of theirs, including a shock defeat to Mallbackens IF.

Piteå need to win to end the week in third place, but if they lose, they could drop down one place to sixth. Eskilstuna must win to remain third.

Mallbackens vs KIF Örebro

On Saturday, Mallbackens host KIF Örebro as they look to move out of the relegation zone.

Mallbackens had moved out of the relegation zone two weeks ago, after their shock win over Eskilstuna. But last week, the fell back into the relegation places after losing to Kristianstads DFF.

Their opponents Örebro have picked up four points from their past two matches as they just about avoid being dragged into the bottom two. They are only two points ahead of their opponents, and will be overtaken if Mallbacken win.

But if Örebro win, they could move up one place to sixth.

Rosengård - Kvarnsvedens IK

Second-placed FC Rosengård takes on ninth-placed Kvarnsvedens IK.

Rosengård continue to match the results of Linköpings FC and only sit behind the leaders having scored four goals less. Since drawing with Linköping, they have gone three games without conceding a single goal, winning all three. Playing a day ahead of their title rivals, they will know the importance of picking up a win here to maintain the pressure.

On the other hand, Kvarnsvedens will be looking for a win as they could end the day in the relegation zone. They are only one point ahead of Mallbackens and have lost their last two games without scoring.

But if Kvarnsvedens can win, they could climb up to seventh.

Göteborg - Vittsjö GIK

Göteborg FC take on Vittsjö GIK, with a chance of ending the day in third place. Whether this is possible will depend on whether Piteå take points off of Eskilstuna United. If Eskilstuna win, Göteborg can not move higher up than their current position of fourth.

Last week's defeat to Linköpings ended Göteborg's run that saw them pick up seven points out of a possible nine.

Vittsjö are wanting to return to form after two defeats in a row, including a particularly painful 8-0 loss to leaders Linköping. A series of results could see Vittsjö drop into the relegation places, as they only sit two points ahead of the danger at the moment.

If Vittsjö win, they could find themselves in sixth place.

Umeå vs Kristianstads

In the round's most crucial affair, Umeå IK take on Kristianstads DFF knowing that the winner will end the weekend out of the relegation places.

Last weekend, Umeå ended a six-game losing run as they beat Djuargårdens IF 3-1. That was their first win of the season and their first points since drawing their opening three games. That win means they can now escape the relegation places if they win this Sunday.

Kristianstads also picked up a crucial win in their last game as they defeated Mallbackens 1-0 to move just outside the relegation places in tenth. After winning their past two matches, they sit two points ahead of Umeå.

If Umeå win, they could move up to tenth while if Kristianstads win, they could find themselves in seventh.

Djuargårdens vs Linköping

Also on Sunday, sixth-placed Djuargården host the leaders Linköping.

Having lost to the bottom-side Umeå, Djuargården now have the tough task of trying to beat the league leaders who look unbeatable at the moment. To make things worse, they have only won one out of their past four matches and currently sit in sixth place.

Linköping, on the other hand, will most likely have to win to remain in first place, and will be looking for a slightly easier game than their last – where they scored an 86th-minute winner against Göteborg.

It is possible that Djuargårdens could end up in third if they defy the odds and win, however.

Stina Blackstenius scores a crucial winner for Linköpings. Photo: http://svenskfotboll.se/damallsvenskan
Stina Blackstenius celebrates as she scores a crucial winner for Linköpings. (Photo: svenskfotboll.se)