30 Temmuz 2009
Action returns to the Turkcell Super League this evening after a one-week break due to Turkey's commitments in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers against Estonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Turks beat Estonia 4-2 in Kayseri last Saturday, but the 1-1 away draw with the Bosnians on Wednesday meant Turkey's hopes of making the playoffs are now as flimsy as gossamer.

The match of the day, without the slightest doubt, is the derby between the Galatasaray Lions and the Beşiktaş Eagles at the former's Ali Sami Yen Stadium, dubbed “hell” by fans. This is the first İstanbul derby of the season, therefore giving added importance to this encounter.

A Galatasaray-Beşiktaş derby is never a dull affair but is not as dangerous as “the mother of all derbies” between Galatasaray and Fenerbahçe. But this evening's game might be tense because the Beşiktaş Black Eagles have won only one and drawn three of their four league matches so far, while the Galatasaray Lions have won all four. So even though the Eagles are playing away, they will be under immense pressure to win and put an end to their dismal run.

The Eagles therefore face a keen test of championship credentials in this evening's outstanding Super League fixture. Beşiktaş, the defending champion, is not even a decent imitation of the team it was last season and is struggling against all odds to produce authority or goals.

Galatasaray, on the other hand, is a free-scoring side. But the fact of the matter is that Galatasaray players form the nucleus of the national team and so were in action last Saturday and on Wednesday. Match-weary captain Arda Turan, defenders Servet Çetin and Hakan Kadir Balta might be leaden-footed today having played for the entire duration of the games against the Estonians and the Bosnians. And “renegade” defender Gökhan Zan, formerly of Beşiktaş, was injured in the match against Estonia and is definitely out today.

Czech striker Milan Baros, Brazil playmaker Elano Blumer and Ivory Coast winger Abdul Kader Keïta, all of whom were on international duty, are back, but they, like their Turkish teammates at Galatasaray, will certainly be suffering from jetlag and match-weariness.

“We are treating this match like any other match we have played this season,” Galatasaray's Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard said this week. “We will go out there and give our all.”

Beşiktaş coach Mustafa Denizli will be missing injured first-choice keeper Rüştü Reçber, defender İbrahim Toraman and striker Bobo. Playmaker Yusuf Şimşek, strikers Batuhan Karadeniz and Mert Nobre, who are nursing slight injuries, trained separately from the team, while Nihat Kahveci, İsmail Köybaşi, İbrahim Kaş and Ridvan Şimşek as well as Filip Holosko, Rodrigo Tello and Tomas Sivok, who were called up for international assignments, did not take part in Thursday's training.

Beşiktaş fans, rightfully so, are eagerly awaiting the debut of playmaker Rodrigo Barbosa Tabata Paulista, who was acquired recently from Gaziantepspor in a 14.5 million euro deal to help drag the Eagles out of their current quagmire.

“We dropped several points in the previous matches and so we shouldn't drop points on Saturday [today],” Beşiktaş coach Mustafa Denizli said. “We need to start winning matches again.”

History favors the Galatasaray Lions, who have beaten the Eagles in their last five consecutive league matches at Ali Sami Yen. But the fact is that history does not necessarily decide the outcome of a Galatasaray-Beşiktaş derby.​
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