Fenebahçe seeks first win on European stage
Two Turkish clubs in the Europa League, Fenebhaçe and Galatasaray, will be on the pitch on Oct. 21 with different targets.
Fenerbahçe will aim for its first European win of the season when it hosts Antwerp, while Galatasaray hopes to extend its stay atop its group in an away game at Lokomotiv Moscow.
After losing 2-1 to Olympiakos and 1-0 to Eintracht Frankfurt in its first two group games, Fenerbahçe plays another team with no points.
Already struggling on the European stage, a 3-1 loss at Trabzonspor over the weekend cost Fenerbahçe the top spot in the Turkish Süper Lig standings, and coach Vitor Pereira is aware that his side should refocus.
“We worked hard to win, unfortunately, it was not possible,” the Portuguese coach said after Oct. 17’s loss.
“But we will continue fighting; we will make up for the lost points. This match is in the past; we can’t change anything. Now we have to look ahead and focus on the European match ahead of us,” he added.
Galatasaray, on the other hand, has been enjoying a good run in Europe despite inconsistent results in the league competition.
The club currently sits atop Group E with four points, and a 1-0 win against Konyaspor on Oct. 17 boosted the team’s morale ahead of the trip to Russia.
Coach Fatih Terim’s biggest concern is to be able to keep his players healthy and fit in a busy schedule.
“We have played 17 games this season, normally, that would have made half a league season,” he said after the Konyaspor game. “But we are only halfway to the mid-season.”
Terim’s man will be at Beşiktaş away following the match in Moscow, and the experienced coach is aware that it will be a crucial week.
“We are going to Moscow as the group leader, and we want to remain the leader,” he said.
“We are used to traveling now. Our health committee, athletic performance committee and technical team take the necessary measures accordingly. We need to finish the week very well, and hopefully, we will finish well. I believe in my players,” he added.
Elsewhere in the Europa League, Serie A leader Napoli will seek its first win of the season in Warsaw against leaders Legia.
Other heavyweights that are winless in the Europa League include Rangers, Marseille and Real Sociedad.
Rangers is already six points behind Group A leader Lyon but can make up ground as it hosts fellow struggler Brondby.
Real Sociedad is in a tough Group B with Monaco and PSV, and after drawing with those two, it can push itself into contention by beating pointless Sturm Graz.
Group C leader Roma travels beyond the Arctic Circle to face second place Bodo/Glimt.
Even though Bodo is the Norwegian champion and started the season in the Champions League, coach Kjetil Knutsen played the underdog card when he talked of Roma boss Jose Mourinho.
“He’s a flesh and blood man like the rest of us,” Knutsen said, adding his team “can achieve the most incredible things.”