Galatasaray seeking morale boost ahead of Champions League clash

Galatasaray seeking morale boost ahead of Champions League clash

Galatasaray seeking morale boost ahead of Champions League clash

Galatasaray coach Fatih Terim speaks to his players during a trining session. Terim will be in the stands against Gençlerbiliği serving a three-game sideline ban for arguing with a referee. AA Photo

Defending champion Galatasaray wants to cement its place atop the Spor Toto Super League and boost morale ahead of a crucial Champions League clash, when it hosts Gençlerbirliği tonight.

The Istanbul club, which strengthened its squad with the addition of star players Wesley Sneijder and Didier Drogba, is on an eight-match unbeaten run and currently sits five points clear at the top of the division, followed by its city rivals Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe, respectively. It is also in the last 16 round of the Champions League and will travel to Schalke on March 12 for the return game after a 1-1 draw in the first leg.

Gençlerbirliği, on the other hand, has won only once in its last five games, and sits in ninth spot with 31 points, only four points above the relegation zone.

However, the talk of Galatasaray was more about coach Fatih Terim’s recent remarks on his possible return to Italy, where he previously coached Fiorentina and Milan.

In an interview with La Repubblica, the 59-year-old spoke of his love for Italy and admitted he could coach there again before his career is over.

“Italy is a second home,” Terim said in the interview that he gave in Italian. “One day, I may want to go back.”

He also praised his side’s form so far this season. “The team is very happy this season … We have a big challenge at the moment,” he said.

Praises from Wenger

Terim also received praise mid-week from Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger. “Schalke look favorites to qualify for the next round as they will play the second leg in Germany,” Wenger told Eurosport. “However, I know Fatih Terim still has a trick up his sleeve. A team with Fatih Terim as their manager can always spring a surprise.”

Wenger also said Schalke was an unpredictable team. “They have the capacity to have a bad game one week in the Bundesliga then give a great performance the next week in the Champions League,” he said.

“Before they faced us [Arsenal] they had defeated Dortmund. Schalke played great football against us and won the game.”

Meanwhile, Mersin İdman Yurdu announced yesterday that the club had parted ways with coach Giray Bulak. Bulak became the ninth coach to lose his job in the Spor Toto Super League. The long list includes former Trabzonspor coach Şenol Güneş and Ertuğrul Sağlam, who left Bursaspor despite making the club only the fifth Turkish club to clinch the league title.

Tonight’s game at the Türk Telekom Arena will kick off at 8 p.m. and will be officiated by Özgür Yankaya.