Struggling Beşiktaş eyes consolation in Europe
The defending Turkish Süper Lig champion has lost all its four games so far in Group C, sitting at the bottom of the group with a 10-goal difference. The club has also won just twice in its last eight league games.
Nov. 20’s 2-0 loss at Alanyaspor was Beşiktaş’s third league loss in a row and coach Sergen Yalçın was furious over his players’ lack of motivation.
“While there was struggle, desire to win, scoring chances in the previous games, I think we hit the bottom tonight,” Yalçın said after the match.
“I think we need to get back together and get up as soon as possible. Players need to respond to that, too.”
The former Beşiktaş star and Turkish international was not shy to criticize his players.
“A group of players who are so unmotivated, not even trying,” he said.
“We are investigating the reasons for this, but I cannot say why today. Such a helpless game, such a helpless technical staff. We make substitutions, we try to change the flow, but unfortunately we do not get an answer on the field.”
While Beşiktaş seeks its first points in the Champions League, Ajax is running rampant in Group C.
The Dutch have won all their four games, scoring 12 goals and conceding only two.
A draw in Istanbul will guarantee Ajax the top spot in the group.
In Group C’s other match, Borussia Dortmund will be without both Mats Hummels and Erling Haaland when it heads to Portugal to take on Sporting Lisbon in a clash which could decide which of them joins Ajax in the knockout stages.
Yet Dortmund will be deprived of two of its best players in Hummels and Haaland as it looks to steer its Champions League campaign back on course after back-to-back defeats.
Veteran defender Hummels is suspended after he was controversially sent off in Dortmund’s 3-1 defeat to Ajax three weeks ago.
The club had said it would appeal the red card, but coach Marco Rose admitted last week that he did not expect the 2014 World Cup winner to be available.
“We all know that Mats is suspended in Lisbon,” he said, and hinted that Dan-Axel Zagadou could take his place in central defense.
Haaland, meanwhile, has been out for the last four weeks with a hip injury.
Dortmund is hoping the Norwegian striker, who has nine goals in just six league appearances this season, will return to action in time for the top-of-the-table clash with Bundesliga leader Bayern Munich on Dec. 4.