Beşiktaş returns to Super League campaign with crunch Istanbul derby
A crucial game in the race for the Spor Toto Super League trophy will be played this weekend, as Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe clash in a crunch Istanbul derby.
Beşiktaş, which suffered a bruising 5-0 defeat in the Champions League against Bayern Munich in mid-week, desperately needs a victory at home on Feb. 25 against archrival Fenerbahçe to remain among the four contenders for the league title.
Having won just five of its last 11 league games, the European campaign was what kept defending league champion Beşiktaş supporters hopeful, but the Feb. 20 loss in Germany was the end of the dream for the Istanbul club.
A loss against Fenerbahçe will leave the home side six points behind its archrival, and potentially eight points adrift the leader.
An unbeaten run in 10 home games this season boosts Beşiktaş’s hopes for the derby match, though Fenerbahçe’s away form has also been impressive. With only one loss so far, the club is the league’s second-best away performer behind leader Başakşehir.
Fenerbahçe also has an impressive record in Istanbul derbies - and against Beşiktaş in particular. The club has not lost against its archrivals Galatasaray and Beşiktaş in nine games played over the past two seasons, winning four of them and scoring nine goals against three conceded.
Fenerbahçe has not also lost against Beşiktaş in their last five official encounters.
A major problem for Beşiktaş will be the absence of in-form Brazilian midfielder Talisca, whose appeal for a yellow card received in last week’s game at Konyaspor has been dismissed by the federation’s disciplinary board. The player will be on the stands, serving an automatic one-match ban for receiving yellow cards in two consecutive games.
With its rivals clashing in the derby, Galatasaray was due to host Bursaspor late on Feb. 23 at the Türk Telekom Arena, where the Lions have won 10 of their 11 games this season and never lost.
League leader Başakşehir, on the other hand, will play Gençlerbirlği at home on Feb. 26 in the closing game of the week.
Gençlerbirlği has managed climbed out of the relegation zone with a nine-game unbeaten run and will try to continue the streak at Başakşehir, which has won 10 games and lost once at home this season.
On Feb. 24, Kayserispor entertains Kasımpaşa at home, while Trabzonspor wants to end its six-game winless streak at Alanyaspor.
In the Feb. 25 games Osmanlıspor hosts Antalyaspor, cellar-dweller Karabükspor travels to Malatyaspor, and Göztepe takes on Sivasspor at home.