Troubled Galatasaray takes on struggling Fenerbahçe in Istanbul derby
Galatasaray boss Fatih Terim still struggles to find a perfect 11 at the end of 10 match weeks, mainly due to injuries and poorly performing key players.
“I am grieving inside,” a frustrated Terim said after his side bowed 2-0 to underdog Malatyaspor on Oct. 28, expanding its point losses to five in two weeks.
“This is not just injuries, physical condition of the players, lack of professionalism or soul, not any of them. I need 11 [players] who play together and play for each other,” he said.
He will miss suspended defender Mariano and injured defensive midfielder Fernando, in addition to attacker Emre Akbaba and defender Yuto Nagatomo, who underwent surgeries.
Henry Onyekuru, Sofiane Feghouli, Serdar Aziz and Eren Derdiyok also have injuries but might go on the pitch against their Fenerbahçe, state-run Anadolu Agency has said.
Galatasaray has only two wins in the last six games and managed to score only three goals. But its home games track of 22 wins and two draws in the last 24 games is still inspiring fans.
However, Fenerbahçe has always been a tough rival for the Lions, which had its most recent league win against their archrival on Oct. 18, 2014.
Galatasaray’s latest league goal against Fenerbahçe was on Oct. 25, 2015 in an away game, which ended with a draw.
Still, Fener has much more to think about and is going through its worst phase in decades.
The Yellow Canaries now have only 9 points in 10 games, sitting only one point above the relegation line.
The club is still looking at alternatives after sacking its Dutch coach Phillip Cocu just four months after he took over the team.
Cocu, who was appointed after leading PSV Eindhoven to three Dutch league titles, was axed following a defeat against Ankaragücü.
Major changes in the line-up failed to produce a lucrative game for Fenerbahçe on its home pitch, with the visitors beating the Istanbul side 3-1 on Oct. 28.
“Team manager Phillip Cocu was relieved of his job this evening,” Fenerbahçe announced after the game.
Cocu “paid the price” for the failure, Fenerbahçe deputy chair Semih Özsoy told the press.
Fenerbahçe’s bid to make a fresh start last summer after Ali Koç from the Turkish conglomerate Koç Holding won the seat of chair, beating Aziz Yıldırım, who ran the club for more than two decades, and raised fans’ hopes, promising both financial recovery and success.
The derby game comes one day before the face off between the other two title contenders, league leader Başakşehir and fourth-spot Beşiktaş.
Dark horse Kasımpaşa, which shares the same 19 points with Galatasaray, two points behind Başakşehir, will host Antalyaspor on Oct. 3.