Trabzonspor out to prove trophy credentials
Turkish Süper Lig leader Trabzonspor travels to Fenerbahçe for a Week 28 game on March 6, with both sides aiming for a victory for the bragging rights.
The Black Sea side is very comfortable atop the standings with 66 points with 11 games to go, separated by 17 points from its closest rival, Konyaspor, and 20 points from fourth-placed Fenerbahçe.
As the title race is practically over, Fenerbahçe wants to prove that the team is progressing under coach İsmail Kartal, while Trabzonspor wants to add a rare win to its record of away games at the Istanbul club.
In the past 60 games played in Istanbul since the formation of Trabzonspor in 1967, the Black Sea side has won only 10 times against Fenerbahçe.
The Istanbul club, on the other hand, is on a three-game winning streak in the Süper Lig and wants to maintain its good run to help its fans forget the pain of being knocked out of the Europa League by Slavia Prague in the process.
Fenerbahçe has launched a campaign calling its supporters to be in the stands in the match against Trabzonspor to make peace with disappointed fans.
“Many fans will be with us [in the Trabzonspor game] thanks to the campaign,” Kartal told his players during a mid-week training session.
“We will go out there and play like Fenerbahçe. This is an important game that we need to win. We will do whatever it takes to get the three points,” he added.
Trabzonspor is on a magnificent run in the league, having lost only once so far, and is enjoying a five-game winning streak.
The mood in the club got better on March 1 when it beat Antalyaspor 2-0 at home in the Ziraat Turkish Cup to set a semifinal clash with Kayserispor.
Speaking after the cup win, Trabzonspor coach Abdullah Avcı said his side wants to go all the way in both the cup and the league.
“We want to win everything this season,” he said. “We are tired, but it is worth it.”
Avcı tried not to give much importance to the Fenerbahçe match.
“It is a league game, and it is not the first time Trabzonspor and Fenerbahçe play,” he said. “We will be enjoying ourselves, and we will be ready for the weekend’s game both physically and mentally.”
Also in the Süper Lig, second-placed Konyaspor hosts struggling Galatasaray on March 5.
Galatasaray has improved after it won just once in 14 games it played between last November and February and is on a two-game winning streak. With the pressure mounting on the club administration and coach Dominic Torrent, the club will need to continue winning to have a chance to make peace with its supporters.
Elsewhere in Week 28 games, Göztepe hosts Kasımpaşa on March 5, while Altay visits Karagümrük and Antalyaspor entertains Sivasspor on March 6.
In March 7’s games, Beşiktaş takes on Başakşehir at home, Gaziantep hosts Hatayspor and Alanyaspor travels to Kayserispor.