Trabzon, Bursa seek path into Europa League

Trabzon, Bursa seek path into Europa League

Trabzon, Bursa seek path into Europa League

Bursaspor captain Ömer Erdoğan celebrates after his team’s 3-1 victory over Twente. Trabzonspor will need to find at least one goal against Videoton (L) to survive in Europa League. AA photos

Two Turkish teams enter the Europa League playoff stage tonight, hoping to book their tickets to the group stages in the competition for the first time. 

Bursaspor will visit the Netherlands’s Twente, while Trabzonspor will take on Videoton in Hungary tonight. 

Bursaspor has a good advantage to protect against Twente after beating the Dutch 3-1 in the first-leg game last week, while Trabzonspor seeks a victory against Videoton after a goalless draw at the Hüseyin Avni Aker Stadium. 

The Crocs are confident that they will protect their two-goal lead at the Grolsch Veste Stadium in tonight’s game. 

“I believe we will keep our advantage until the end and hopefully advance to the group stage,” Bursaspor coach Ertuğrul Sağlam said to reporters on Aug. 28. 

Sağlam acknowledged that the game was of historic importance for the club. “We have been saying this all along: This is a historic tie for our club. It will mean a lot for us, for Turkey, if we can play at the Europa League after our Champions League appearance,” he said. 

Bursaspor became the fourth Turkish club - and the first out of Istanbul – to play in the Champions League after their debut Turkish title in 2010. The team put in a largely disappointing performance with just one draw and five defeats in six games, but they hope to build on their historic appearance at the top-level European club competition.

Now, the experience will be valuable if Bursaspor can make it to the group stages of the second-tier European competition. 

“We are going to the game after a good performance and a good result,” defender Hakan Aslantaş said. “There was a good atmosphere at the stadium in the first leg and there will be even better atmospheres if we can make it to the Europa League groups.” 

After a series of tough draws that prevented the team from getting to the Europa League group stage in previous years, including against Liverpool and Athletic Bilbao, Trabzonspor had comparably better luck to be pitted against Videoton this time. However, the Black Sea Storm, who played in the Champions League last year, could not convert home advantage into goals in the first leg. 

“We could have played better and found a goal in the first leg, with a higher tempo,” coach Şenol Güneş said. “Now we have to do it in Hungary. We will get the job done if we score the goal that we could not find in the first game.”