Beşiktaş hopes for morale at Gençlerbirliği
Spor Toto Super League’s opening game in the Week 8 competition brings together the defending champion and the cellar dweller, as Beşiktaş wants to return to its winning ways at Gençlerbirliği on Oct. 13.
Beşiktaş failed to win its last two league games, losing 2-1 at Fenerbahçe and being held to a 1-1 draw at home by Trabzonspor, and fell five points behind leader Galatasaray. Its success on the European stage, with two wins in as many games, has helped the team stand tall, and the team wants to boost morale with a league victory ahead of a Champions League group stage game at Monaco on Oct. 17.
Gençlerbirliği, on the other hand, has made its worst season start in the club’s history and sits at the bottom of the league table with four points in seven games.
Coach Ümit Özat, who took helm of the club last season, was replaced with veteran Mesut Bakkal after Gençlerbirliği had one draw and two losses in three games, but the change did not do much good for the team.
A surprise 1-0 win on Sept. 29 against last season’s runner-up Başakşehir did not help much to stop Gençlerbirliği’s slump, as the club has the league’s worst goal difference with seven goals scored and 16 conceded.
Coach Bakkal is cautious ahead of the Beşiktaş game.
“If I had been offered a draw for the Başakşehir game, I would have accepted, but we won,” Bakkal said mid-week.
“Now we will play Beşiktaş, maybe they will score, maybe we will. We must put on a fight worthy of our team’s quality, we must run. Beşiktaş is ahead of us when comparing the quality of the squads, but no game is won before the kickoff,” the experienced coach added.
The Istanbul club won only once in the last six league games at Gençlerbirliği, while the home side won two and three ended in draw.
Leader Galatasaray, meanwhile, will travel to Konyaspor on Oct. 14 for a game to be played behind closed doors.
Unbeaten in the first seven weeks, Igor Tudor’s men have won their last three games and have the best goal difference in the league after scoring 18 goals and conceding only six. The team will extend its stay atop the standings regardless of the weekend’s results, but a victory will sure help it intimidate its rivals.
Also on Oct. 14, Kayserispor, in third-place, travels to Karabükspor, newcomer Göztepe wants to continue its good run at Antalyaspor and Başakşehir hosts Alanyaspor in Istanbul.
Fenerbahçe hosts Malatyaspor on Oct. 15, while Trabzonspor entertains Akhisarspor at home and Sivasspor visits Kasımpaşa.
Bursaspor takes on Osmanlıspor at home on Oct. 16 in the last game of the Week 8 competition.