Fenerbahçe aims for top group spot in Europe
The Istanbul club has gathered four points in its two group games so far to occupy the top spot in its group, while the visiting side has three points thanks to a win over Dynamo Kiev and sits in the third place.
Fenerbahçe has been on a good form under coach Jorge Jesus this season, despite being knocked out of the Champions League in the qualifiers by group rival Dynamo Kiev, losing only one of its 15 competitive games inside 90 minutes.
Since coming from two goals down to collect a precious point in France against Rennes, Fenerbahçe has hammered Alanyaspor 5-0 in the Turkish Süper Lig, while a derby encounter against Beşiktaş at the weekend ended in a goalless draw.
The home side will be without the services of Luan Peres, Mert Hakan Yandaş and Joshua King due to injury issues.
After returning from injury to play the entirety of Oct. 2’s derby against Beşiktaş, Serdar Aziz is expected to retain his position in the Fenerbahçe backline.
Turkish league champion Trabzonspor will also be in action in the Europa League on Oct. 6, traveling to Monaco for a Group H game.
The Black Sea side has won one and lost the other of its two group games so far.
In the UEFA Conference League, Sivasspor will host Kosovar club Ballkani and Başakşehir will travel to Riga to play RFS.
Elsewhere in the Europa League, more big guns will be firing as Roma welcomes Real Betis, both sides having made positive starts in their respective domestic leagues.
The results of their back-to-back meetings will likely have a major bearing on the outcome of Group C, but much of the pre-match talk will focus on the supposed rivalry between their respective coaches, Jose Mourinho and Manuel Pellegrini.
Mourinho replaced the Chilean as Real Madrid boss in 2010, and the two famously squared up to each other in England from 2013-2015, when Mourinho‘s Chelsea and Pellegrini’s Manchester City were title rivals; City won the 2013/14 Premier League and Chelsea the 2014/15 edition.
Talk of personal animosity between the coaches has been rather overstated but will add a little more spice to this latest encounter.
In Group E, having played its maiden game in Moldova on Sept. 15, Manchester United is set for another new experience as it travels to Greek Cyprus for the first time for a competitive game to play Omonoia in Nicosia.
However, if the circumstances are new, at least one face will be familiar: Omonoia is coached by one-time Manchester City man Neil Lennon, who faced United many times with Celtic and Leicester.
“British football is so big out here,” he said after the Europa League draw. “You could sell out [our stadium] three times over I’d imagine.”