Galatasaray aims for third spot in Champions League group
With Porto already through as Group D winner, the attention in Istanbul will focus on whether Galatasaray, on a run of four games without a goal, can rescue its European campaign by claiming a place in the UEFA Europa League.
The Portuguese side has 13 points, three of them coming from a 1-0 home win against Galatasaray on matchday two, five clear of second-placed Schalke, which is also through.
Galatasaray is third on four points, one ahead Lokomotiv Moscow, and will finish third and transfer to the Europa League round of 32if it wins or if Lokomotiv does not gain victory at Schalke.
So far, Galatasaray has played 276 matches in UEFA competitions, winning 99 games and losing 105.
Coach Mauricio Pochettino must somehow find a way past Lionel Messi’s Barcelona to reach the knockout stages but he remains positive ahead of the daunting trip to the Camp Nou to face the five-time European champion.
“It will be a massive game. They have qualified for the next stage but in the Champions League no one is going to give a present,” said the Argentine, who left Harry Kane out of the starting line-up for the 2-0 Premier League win away to Leicester on Dec. 8.
“We need to win and deserve to win. The mentality is going to be 200 percent to try to win. We are going to arrive in the best condition, Barcelona are one of the best teams in Europe.”
Tottenham took just one point from its first three games in Group B, losing to Inter Milan and Barcelona and drawing with PSV.
But it beat PSV at home and then scored late through Christian Eriksen to beat Inter 1-0 at Wembley, leaving the club in second place on seven points, the same as the Italians.
With Barcelona already guaranteed to top the group, Spurs must match Inter’s result to guarantee progress.