Galatasaray faces former club hero in league game

Galatasaray faces former club hero in league game

Galatasaray faces former club hero in league game

Galatasaray enjoyed a 4-2 victory over Samsunspor in a Spor Toto Super League game last week. The comeback victory was Galatasaray’s eighth league win in a row. AA photo

Leader Galatasaray will face a club legend when it hosts troubled Kardemir Karabük on Jan. 14 in the 20th match day of the Spor Toto Super League. The Lions, who are comfortably sitting on top of the standings with a four-point advantage over their closest rival, welcome a relegation-battling Karabük side coached by Bülent Korkmaz.

Having spent his whole career under the yellow and red flag, Korkmaz has been with the club through its best periods, including lifting the UEFA Cup and European Super Cup in 2000. Korkmaz was the captain of the Galatasaray side, which won seven titles in 10 years from 1993 to 2002, including an unmatched four-year winning run between 1996 and 2000.

Along with Hakan Şükür, a star striker from the same team, he is the most decorated player in Turkish football history, but coach Korkmaz is yet to match the heights he has reached as a player.

Apart from his disappointing stint at Galatasaray in 2009, he had short-lived spells in several Super League teams, including Gençlerbirliği, Bursaspor and Erciyesspor and Azerbaijan team FK Baku. After carrying Karabük to only two wins in nine games, Korkmaz ought to deliver results as soon as possible, since his team is four points behind Orduspor, the first team out of the relegation zone.

Fatih Terim coached Korkmaz during that golden era, while his assistants Hasan Şaş and Ümit Davala were teammates with the colossal defender. While problems mount at Korkmaz’s side, Galatasaray is on a perfect run of nine wins in a row in all competitions, a streak capped with a comfortable 4-1 win over Adana Demirspor in a Ziraat Turkish Cup game on Jan. 10.

In its last league game, Galatasaray enjoyed a comeback from two goals to beat Samsunspor 4-2 last week.

Earlier on Jan. 14, Gençlerbirliği will host Eskişehirspor in a game between two of the top performers in the league.

Eskişehirspor is fourth and has lost only once in its last eight league games, while sixth-place Gençlerbirliği was beaten once in its last six games.

The big game on Jan. 15 will be the meeting between Beşiktaş and Bursaspor, two sides of a heated rivalry. Although not sharing a local rivalry such as Istanbul neighbors Beşiktaş, Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe do, the two teams’ recent meetings staged violent clashes between the two sides’ fans.
The clashes date back to the 2004 season, when Bursaspor was relegated. The Crocs’ fans blamed Beşiktaş for allegedly intentional poor performances against their relegation rivals, causing their team to be demoted. Last year’s match in Bursa was canceled just hours before kickoff due to violent clashes on the streets of the northwestern province.

Earlier that day, it is Trabzonspor vs. Samsunspor, Mersin İdman Yurdu vs. Antalyaspor, Sivasspor vs. Ankaragücü and Orduspor vs. Istanbul BB.

Turkey, Super Toto League, Bilent Korkmaz,