Galatasaray, Fenerbahçe to clash in ‘Intercontinental Derby’
Leader Galatasaray, based on the European side of Istanbul, will host Fenerbahçe, located on the Anatolian side, on Sept. 27 in the Turkish Süper Lig in a game that may set the pace for both sides early in the season.
The home side boosted morale ahead of the “Intercontinental Derby” with a 2-0 win in the Europa League on Sept. 24 against Hajduk Split to advance to the playoffs and wants to maintain its perfect run in the league competition.
Coach Fatih Terim made significant changes to his starting 11 against the Croatians, minding his side’s busy schedule of seven games in 24 days with a game against Glasgow Rangers on Oct. 1.
“We can only overcome this season in which we will play a total of 50-60 games in a shorter period if all our players will be ready,” Terim said after the game, in which Younes Belhanda and Ryan Babel scored for his team.
“If we don’t have [rotation], we may see performance drops or even injuries, we must distribute the [game] load evenly.”
Galatasaray, which has won its first two league games of the season, has mainly kept last season’s squad intact with a couple of new signings.
Its archrival Fenerbahçe, on the contrary, comes to the derby game still in efforts to shape its squad for the new season.
After finishing seventh last season, 12 players left Fenerbahçe, including Emre Belözoğlu, who took an administrative post in the club after retiring, while 13 new players joined.
The Istanbul club signed Nazım Sangare from Antalyaspor and Marcel Tisserand of Wolfsburg this week while Mbwana Samatta is also set to join the Yellow Canaries from Aston Villa.
With a renewed atmosphere in the dressing room, Fenerbahçe made a winning start to the season but last weekend’s goalless draw against nine-man Hatayspor rang the alarm bells for many fans.
Speaking after the draw, Fenerbahçe coach Erol Bulut, who still has not been able to shape an ideal starting 11, noted that the atmosphere in derby games are different even without the fans.
“A different kind of motivation kicks in for derby games,” said Bulut, who has firsthand knowledge of the situation from his days with Fenerbahçe as a player in the 1990s.
“We will prepare accordingly and see what happens.”
While Galatasaray advanced in the Europa League, two other Turkish teams bid farewell to the competition on Sept. 24.
Beşiktaş got knocked out by Portugal’s Rio Ave on penalties after being held to a 1-1 draw in regular time with a late goal while Alanyaspor lost 1-0 to Rosenborg of Norway.
Beşiktaş will visit Konyaspor in Week 3 of the Süper Lig on Sept. 27 and Alanyaspor travels to Rizespor.
Also, on Sept. 27, Sivasspor will host Ankaragücü.
In games scheduled for Sept. 26, Kayserispor will entertain Erzurumspor, newcomer Hatayspor will host Kasımpaşa, Göztepe will take on Gaziantep and Malatyaspor will visit Trabzonspor.
Defending champion Başakşehir visited Karagümrük late on Sept. 24, while Antalyaspor will play Denizlispor in the last game of the week on Sept. 28.
The Süper Lig games are taking place behind closed doors and under strict measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
With 21 teams in the league after the lifting of relegation last season, Gençlerbirliği will have a bye week.