Sports Mole previews Tuesday’s Turkish Super Lig clash between Adana Demirspor and Galatasaray, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Mavi Simsekler have won two in a row and are seventh in the standings following a 3-1 road victory at Alanyaspor, while the 22-time league champions scored three minutes from the end to draw Istanbul Basaksehir 1-1 over the weekend.
The TFF First League champions from a season ago are out to prove that they belong with the big boys of Turkey, and so far, after 17 matches played in the Super Lig, they have certainly held their own, collecting 26 points.
Vincenzo Montella, has brought a solid structure and foundation to this team located in the south of Turkey, who have been incredibly stingy defensively on their home field, collecting five consecutive clean sheets in all competitions heading into this encounter.
The former Italian international can boast a solid group of veteran players with plenty of experience featuring in some of the biggest clubs in Europe and those players have brought composure and balance to this team in their return to the top flight.
When starting a match on the right foot, they have been able to ease into their games and play with a ton of confidence, winning their last five encounters in which they drew first blood.
They have never finished higher than sixth in the Super Lig, but with a win on Tuesday, they could move into a tie for third as only three points currently separate them from the Gray Owls.
It is very unusual to see the Yellow-Reds known as Galatasaray as low as they are in the table, sitting in 11th with only 24 points after 17 matches played.
Fatih Terim is a legendary figure at the club from Istanbul, coaching them to a UEFA Cup triumph in the 1999-2000 campaign and in his fourth stint as manager, his team are going through a challenging time domestically, without a victory in five straight matches.
Their play in Turkey is a sharp contrast from how they have performed in the Europa League, where they were able to top their group, going unbeaten in all six of their matches played, conceding only three goals.
In the past, Galatasaray have been able to be successful both domestically and internationally mainly because of how unified and intelligent they are as a team, and those qualities have not been as evident so far in this campaign in Turkey.
They have struggled to find enough quality in the final third on the road, now goalless in three consecutive games in all competitions and without a win domestically away from home since October 3.
Adana Demirspor Turkish Super Lig form:
Adana Demirspor form (all competitions):
Galatasaray Turkish Super Lig form:
Galatasaray form (all competitions):
Italian striker Mario Balotelli scored the winner late in the first half, helping Adana to their first road victory since November 21, with the other goals coming courtesy of Matias Vargas and Birkir Bjarnason, while Yunus Akgun, currently on loan from Galatasaray, assisted on their first and third goals.
There were several changes made to their starting 11 on Saturday as Kaan Kanak and Tayyib Sanuc replaced Joher Rassoul and Simon Deli at the back, Gokhan Inler took the place of Kurt as a holding midfielder, while Vargas and Bjarnason were inserted into the lineup as attacking midfielders instead of David Akintola and Metehan Mimaroglu.
Galatasaray have had to deal with their share of injuries of late as Omar Elabdellaoui is not 100% fit, Christian Luyindama suffered an ankle fracture in mid-December, Fernando Muslera has a medial collateral ligament knee issue and Sacha Boey will likely sit this one out as the right-back has had problems with his hamstring since late September.
Substitute Mostafa Mohamed rescued a point for his side, scoring in the 87th minute on Saturday after coming on for Mbaye Diagne in the second half as Romanian midfielder Alexandru Cicaldau set up the goal.
There were three changes made to their starting 11 when they took to the field against their rivals from Istanbul as Ismail Cipe replaced Muslera in goal, Marcao was inserted at the back over Christian Luyindama and Olimpiu Morutan started in the midfield instead of Taylan Antalyali.
Adana Demirspor possible starting lineup:
Muric; Kanak, Sanuc, Akaydin, Svensson; Stambouli, Inler; Vargas, Bjarnason, Akintola; Balotelli
Galatasaray possible starting lineup:
Cipe; Yedlin, Luyindama, Nelsson, van Aanholt; Antalyali; Morutan, Cicaldau, Feghouli, Kutlu; Diagne
We say: Adana Demirspor 1-1 Galatasaray
Momentum is on the side of Adana, but Galatasaray have the experience of knowing what it takes to get themselves out of their current predicament, so we expect to see a competitive match between two sides who have fought hard of late.
Galatasaray seem to be a little short on confidence, which Demispor could use to their advantage to generate a point, however, they have not had much success against the Turkish giants, with their last victory against them coming way back in 1990.