Derby time!

It’s derby time ladies and gents! Fenerbahçe is traveling to Galatasaray away where both teams will be hoping for a win that gets them closer to the Champions League qualifiers. Currently the table looks pretty close:

Source: WhoScored

While both teams have lost most hopes of becoming champions, the chances of finishing second is a goal with 6 and 7 points that differ them from Başakşehir. Keep in mind that there are 7 matches left which translates to possible 21 points. This match carries a big importance for both teams, but, it has bigger importance for Fenerbahçe as they still have to play Beşiktaş (A), Antalyaspor (H) and Trabzonspor (H). Galatasaray on the other hand will play against Konyaspor (H) in the season-closer which I can see as the biggest challenge after the Fener match.

Will Tudor risk it again?

In the last match, we saw Tudor doing the unthinkable and putting Yasin just below the striker position where Sneijder or Podolski would be much more efficient as they are used to playing there. Why would Tudor try such a risky swap I have no idea, I’ve written about it though in my previous match report. Another mistake Tudor has been making, is forcing a three-man-defence so late in the season. This is my ideal Galatasaray 11 for tomorrow’s match:


A huge sigh of relief for the fans as Carole gets back on the pitch to cover the left side of the defence. While the right back position has been a disappointment in the past weeks, I believe it is time to bring back Sabri who is always passionate while playing against Fenerbahçe. Ahmet and Semih should start in the center as they both stay on their feet much more than Chedjou or Balta. This is crucial against Fener players who are always looking to dribble past their opponents, Ahmet and Semih let this happen only 0,4 times per game. They are also quick to bolt the ball away in defence with 5,3 (Semih) and 5,6 (Ahmet) clearances per match (Others barely make more than 4). They also block the shots twice as many times as others. Don’t forget that Semih is the best aerial weapon in the defence with 3,4 aerials won per match (highest on the team), while the closest defender, Ahmet, has 1.7. This shows the importance of Semih.
As much as people don’t like Tolga, I believe he should start over Selçuk and drop down a bit lower than the midfield line while Josue goes a smidge higher. Tolga has been pretty good in the defensive department with highest number of successful tackles (3,5) in the team. He’s passing with 88%,while being the second player in the team by amount of passes (65 per match). If he keeps it simple by intercepting the ball and giving a short pass upfront, he can be a real utility tool in that position.

Dutchman’s choices

I think there are minimal changes to be made in the starting lineup of Fener, here’s who I think should start:


Aatif in the left side is still a pretty decent choice over Volkan, as Volkan’s performance, just like his whole career, has been rather inconsistent and his selfishness is really biting his game this time around. Aatif has managed to affect the score more than Volkan while playing less matches, I especially like that he is not trying to force a dribble past his opponent, Volkan does that a lot and it costs Fenerbahçe the lost ball. I’m really keen on Advocaat keeping RVP as he contributed with an assists and a goal on separate occasions in the past 2 games.

Galatasaray needs some defensive work

While I talked about it after the match against Başakşehir, it really needs to be said again that Galatasaray’s biggest problems come from wings and dead balls. If you watched the matches in the past few months, you could see that most goals that Galatasaray conceded came from wing play, dead ball or a penalty that came after a dead ball. So initially there are 2 problems here: if it’s a winger crossing the ball then best bet would be 2 players, preferably a midfielder and wingback, closing him down as soon as possible so that he can’t cross and if he dribbles, the second player is there to close him down. This was done to Galatasaray by Başakşehir in the previous match:

Source: beIN Sports Turkey
Source: beIN Sports Turkey

This tactic is especially important as Fenerbahçe relies on Lens that can either cross the ball or dribble through his opponent.

Another problem, well actually a big one, is defensive positioning. Now I don’t know about how set-play’s are rehearsed in training but i’m pretty sure they are practiced incorrectly as Galatsaray managed to conceed 6 goals in the past 8 matches that came from a dead ball situation. Fenerbahçe scored 3 goals from dead ball situations in the same timeframe. Now although it’s not that many goals, it is still alarming because there is an underlying problem right there in the defensive department, it’s defensive positioning. This problem was showing quite well in the last week’s disastrous performance from Galatasaray. While I already glanced over the problems on the wing, most of those goals from Başakşehir could have been avoided if center backs could keep up with positioning. Here’s a very simple representation of what I mean:

Source: beIN Sports Turkey

The ball bounced upwards from Muslera and somehow Chedjou, who was marking Adebayor, decided it was a good idea to sprint to the line and close down 10 percent of the goal rather than staying with Adebayor and contesting his header which could have stopped the shot on goal. But anyway, this is what I mean with defensive positioning, it should be smart sort of chess-like where you think 2 steps ahead. If Sabri and Carole play, which they really should, Galatasaray has a bigger chance of closing down dangerous wingers on Fener’s side.

Galatasaray’s biggest weapons are Bruma and Podolski in my opinion. Wiel, unlike Şener, can’t catch up to Bruma’s speed while Podolski is a master of his craft, he can carve out Fenerbahçe’s gate with long shots and Fener’s players actually let opponents shoot from far.

Can Advocaat break the spell?

22nd of April, 2012. This is the date that Fener last won in TT arena with the score of 2-1. Now can Advocaat bring back the glory to Fenerbahçe with a win in TT arena?

Source: WhoScored

Even though Fener has been looking good on paper in the past 5 weeks i’m not convinced that they are coasting with confidence. If you had the chances to watch the match, one thing Fener deos wrong is playing out of defence. Now don’t get me wrong, they can do it if the players are concentrated, but sometimes Skrtel and especially Kjaer get complacent with playing out and as soon as they’re met with high-pressing tactics, they lose the ball which results in a dangerous attack or even worse a goal. Tudor has been trying to implement the high-press tactic for weeks now, but I can really see Fener’s defence working out for him. I believe Gala will start with high-press in order to throw off the opposition which might actually bring about a quick goal in the early birth of the match.

Another thing Fener is prone for is counter-attacks, Bruma and Yasin can take advantage of that.

If Fener uses Galatasaray’s weaknesses with defensive positioning through players like RvP, who is outstanding in playing the fox in the box, they can rely on Lens (9 assists), Alper (4 assists) and Aatif (3 assists) to supply him with the balls he needs.



With both teams having subpar seasons, this match will actually be interesting to watch. Both teams will be looking for a quick goal in hopes of keeping the lead at the half and beyond. The gamechangers in this match for me are Podolski (if he plays) and Lens. Podolski’s ability to shoot balls from far is well-documented, and Fenerbahçe has a weakness for that. On the other side of the pitch it’s Lens that can stir the wing up and supply crucial crosses and key passes.

Source: Fenerbahçe SK twitter