Turkish league leader Fener visits derby-phobic Beşiktaş
DHA PhotoTurkish Spor Toto Super League leader Fenerbahçe is set to visit Beşiktaş Sept. 27 in the top game of week six in a bid to increase the point gap over its Istanbul rival to six, while the home side will try to break its derby phobia.
Beşiktaş, which will host Fener at Olympiat Stadium as its historic İnönü Stadium by the Bosphorus is still under re-construction, is also eyeing the top spot in the standings, depending on its big guns, namely German striker Mario Gomez, talented Portuguese Ricardo Quaresma and rising star Gökhan Töre.
The return of Oğuzhan Özyakup from injury also promises much to the fans of the Istanbul side, which suffered a draw against Ankara’s Gençlerbirliği last week in his absence.
Fener meanwhile has rising expectations for Robin van Persie and Nani, another former Manchester United player.
“We are in very good shape as a team. I cannot wait for the Beşiktaş game on the weekend,” van Persie told Fenerbahçe’s official broadcaster. “This will be my first derby in the country,” he added. The Dutch star also ruled out recent media reports that claimed he was uneasy with Italian boss Vitor Pereira.
The Black and Whites lost six of eight derbies in the past two years, while drawing the other two, under coach Slaven Bilic, who flew to the Premier League’s West Ham United this summer to become a giant killer there.
Beşiktaş has only two wins in the past 20 derby games, which usually involves matchups between Istanbul sides Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray in Turkish top-tier football, in the past four years.
With the arrival of Şenol Güneş, one of Turkey’s most prestigious managers, the Black and Whites are now bidding to break the spell.
Güneş told his squad this week, according to media reports, that the team should keep calm and work to become the side to break the deadlock.
Still reportedly, Güneş thought the Achilles Heel of Fenerbahçe is its two backs, Simon Kjaer and Dani Alvez.
Galatasaray, suffering from a bad start to the league campaign, is highly motivated after a narrow win against Black Sea giant Trabzonspor last week before the Sept. 26 Gaziantepspor game, which offers the Lions the chance for their first home win this season. However, missing booked playmaker Selçuk İnan and injured Hamit Altıntop and Burak Yılmaz remains a concern for coach Hamza Hamzaoğlu, who will expect more from stars Wesley Sneijder and Lucas Podolski.
Trabzon, which also trails Fener by three points, will visit Ankara’s Osmanlıspor, a newcomer to the league, the same day.
Antalyaspor, which suffered a 5-1 loss against Çaykur Rizespor last week, decreased its ticket fees to 5 Turkish Liras, less than $2, for the Medicana Sivasspor game on Sept. 27, offering fans an opportunity to watch striker Samuel Eto’o for peanuts.
Torku Konyaspor will take on Mersin İdmanyurdu earlier in the day.
On the last day of week six, Kayserispor will host Istanbul’s Medical Başakşehir, while Bursaspor will take on Eskişehirspor.