ISTANBUL - Turkcell Super League action is back after the international break, as teams hope for nothing more than to improve during their time off. Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor will play crucial games against two mid-table teams and try to rebuild their confidence with wins and keep their title hopes alive
For some Turkcell Super League teams, the international break came rightly to the rescue, and for some, it arrived with bad timing, just when they were finding their form. This weekend will show what differences the club managers may have made while the international teams were busy forcing their way to the World Cup.
The top two teams, Sivasspor and Beşiktaş, will hope that their fine forms were not interrupted by the break, while Fenerbahçe, Trabzonspor and Galatasaray were the ones spending the 10-day break recovering from their dismal runs.
For Fenerbahçe, the two games between Spain and Turkey made the situation more complicated. When the Yellow Canaries’ highly criticized striker Daniel Güiza dribbled back Turkish defender Hakan Balta to assist Albert Riera for his team’s winning goal on Wednesday, he was obviously relieved and happy, both for himself and his team.
National players need lift
But as his skillful moves helped him rebuild his morale, Güiza left four Fenerbahçe teammates collapsed on the ground in grief. Goalkeeper Volkan Demirel, defender Gökhan Gönül, midfielder Emre Belözoğlu and striker Semih Şentürk were let down by that goal, and Fenerbahçe’s performance against Eskişehirspor on Sunday may be defined by how those players recover from such a disappointment.
They have to do it quickly if Fenerbahçe wants to get back in the title race because Fenerbahçe cannot afford to lose any more points, as it is six points behind league leader Sivasspor.
Eskişehirspor will be a tough test for Fenerbahçe. The Red Lightning managed to beat Galatasaray 1-0 despite playing the last half-hour with 10 men, showing its character. The fact that the mid-table side hung on to a 2-2 draw in its first game against Fenerbahçe this season makes Eskişehir a team to watch.
But Fenerbahçe will surely be relying on its home crowd. Even though it has failed to gather 50,000 fans like it did in the Champions League, the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium is always a reliable castle for Fenerbahçe and has staged only one league defeat for the Yellow Canaries this year.
Also on Sunday, Trabzonspor will look to remember its winning ways when it takes on Istanbul Municipality.
After leading the league for most of the first half of the year, Trabzonspor struggled to continue its successful run and succeeded only three times in the last nine games. The championship train has not left the station for Trabzonspor, but it definitely needs to do better than its performance in March, where it won only one of its four games.
The Istanbul Municipality clash may be a rebirth for Trabzonspor with a win and the Black Sea Storm has good memories about its opposition from the start.
Trabzon demolished the Istanbul side 4-0 in the Nov. 1 game and took the league lead with that victory.
It can do it again, but nothing can be taken for granted against Istanbul Municipality. At the end of the day, that was the team that beat Fenerbahçe 2-0 with 10 men, only a week after being thrashed by Eskişehirspor 6-1.
While it is all about survival of title chances for Trabzonspor and Fenerbahçe on Sunday, Sivasspor and Beşiktaş will try to maintain their successful streaks a day earlier.
Beşiktaş, which is on a nine-game winning streak and has yet to lose a game in 2009, takes on Kayserispor on Saturday night, while league leader Sivasspor visits Denizlispor. Sivas ended its poor away-game form before the international break, as its 2-0 victory at Ankaragücü was its first since the 2-1 win at Gençlerbirliği on Dec. 21. Galatasaray will wrap up the Turkcell Super League match day with Gaziantepspor on Monday.