Turkey Super Lig team locations 2008/09
The Turkish Super Lig begins on the 23rd August. Before the entertainment starts Inside Futbol casts an eye over how the teams prepared for the new season.
The team from the capital will continue to be a mid-table team. They have lost their strongest midfielder, Giani Stelian Kirita, a Romanian international, but in bringing in 11 players seems to go some way towards making up for his loss. Buying two tall strikers like Mehmet Yilmaz and Leo Iglesias will help the team to score more goals as both will combine well with their best player, the Brazilian Jaba.
Ex-Ankaragücü defender Hakan Kutlu will celebrate his 28th year at Ankaragücü, and has been the manager of the team since he retired from football in 2007. In his first season with Ankaragücü he led the club to 8th place. With a stronger team this term they will fight for a European place, but the question is can they achieve it? Their U-17 player Abdülkadir Kayali is the youngest player in the squad (born in 1991), and he is ready to shine if he gets the chance to play in the first team. English club Manchester City have already made an enquiry about an availability.
When they first gained promotion to the Super Lig, their idealistic but not realistic president stated they would be champions within five years. Last season however they were almost relegated. On the bench they have hired Aykut Kocaman again, he started last season with Ankaraspor but was fired after just eight weeks of the campaign. He is the one of the most young and talented managers in the Super Lig and I have no doubt that he will make Ankaraspor a much better side than they were last season.
Although they have lost important players this has been offset somewhat by the capturing of five important first team players from their rivals. From Besiktas Baki Mercimek and from Mehmet Çakir could help the team up the table. Managing to hold onto strikers De Nigris and Neca makes Ankaraspor a frightening team going forward, and with Swedish international defender Fredrik Risp and Slovakian international goalkeeper Stefan Senecky they are going to be hard to score against. They also have a young Liberian talent Theo Weeks, who could be the surpise of the league.
The Turkish Super League seems to be the most trigger-happy league when it comes to firing managers. Last year the Çaykur Rizespor board fired their manager in the very first week of the season after losing 4-0 to Galatasaray. Newly promoted Antalyaspor fired their promotion winning manager a week before the season begun and signed their former boss, Czech Joseph Jarabinsky.
In pre-season they brought in 12 players including ex-Galatasaray player Orhan Ak, Volkan Arslan and national team goalkeeper Ömer Çatkiç from Gaziantepspor. If they are to avoid relegation, (but i personally don’t give them a chance), they will surely owe their survival to the performance of those three arrivals, plus the help of the two Polish defenders Bieniuk and Dziewicki.
One of the favourites to win the title. Even though they have a good team, mistakes in the running of the club could bring them trouble. Pre-season began with a declaration from their most well known ultras -which English fans are familiar with after both Liverpool and Tottenham played in Turkey- "Çarsi". They declared that they have withdrawn their support for the current regime.
On the transfer front the team began by losing talented Ibrahim Kas, who signed for Getafe, Baki Mercimek was released by the club, and after losing two central defenders and Gökhan Zan became out of contract, they had just two defenders left. Brought in to address this were Tuna Üzümcü for free and Udinese defenders Tomas Zapotocny and Tomas Sivok for € 6.950 million.
While Besiktas were at their pre-season camp in Austria, two captains of the team got into a fight. After this fight they were transfer listed and told they would be excluded from the team, but they have already been forgiven and are now part of the team again. This behaviour of the board made every fan upset because it wasn’t the first time that the management of the club had made a decision and then simply reversed it.
To build up a strong defensive structure they also bought left back Anthony Seric from Panathinaikos. But his transfer is still on hold, because they have a Gordon Schieldenfeld problem. They signed him in January for € 1.5 million and after he played just a few games decided to be sell him. However, the Black Eagles are still waiting for him to find a new club but there are still no offers to buy him.
The biggest executive fiasco happened over Fahri Tatan’s transfer. The defensive midfielder sold was to Konyaspor and learned that he has been transferred from an SMS message!
Despite problems they still have perhaps the strongest attacking players in the league. Matias Delgado (chosen as new captain after the fight) will be an important player this season, while Holosko, Bobo and Mert Nobre will be relied upon to score the goals. In the midst of all this chaos they are still bringing players to the club. One of them is Aydin Karabulut, a player who should be watched. If Batuhan uses his chances better we will memorize his name in all the Besiktas games. He was also wanted by Manchester City.
Besiktas could win the title but it doesn’t look so easy for them. I do though believe they could do something in the UEFA Cup.
They were one of the busiest teams’ in the transfer market this summer, selling 14 players and bringing in 12 new faces. After underachieving last season the board brought in Samet Aybaba as manager. He has won the Turkish Cup with two different teams and his pedigree can’t be questioned.
Losing central defenders Egemen Korkmaz and Ismail Güldüren will push them into the trouble though, because, they couldn’t sign good replacements. However, the signing of ex-Kayserispor goalkeeper Ivankov is one the best pieces of business of the summer. Bursa also brought in experienced Yusuf Simsek. Importantly, Belarusian Maxim Romaschenko can be the difference between being competitive in the Super Lig and not.
A team which once competed in the UEFA Cup and knocked out French champions Lyon but lost to eventual winners Porto in the 2002-2003 season, will try to stay away from the bottom of the table for this season. They finished last season in 7th place, a real surprise given their limited facilities.
According to the transfermarkt.de they are the lowest market value team in the Super Lig. They lost their important first team players like Yusuf Simsek,Gökhan Güleç and the goalkeeper Souleymanou Hamidou. They will try to stay in the league with their youth and unknown players which looks so hard.
The real Anatolian legend has returned to his home. They were the first team which had pushed to be champions in the early years of the Turkish First League. Between 1968-1974 they finished 2nd three times, and twice in 3rd and 4th position. They are the one of the Anatolian teams who won the Turkish Cup in its early seasons too. Also in the 1970-71 season they made history, knocking out Spanish side Sevilla 3-2 on aggregate. But after all this history they were relegated in 1982 to the second league. Even if they had managed to get promoted to first division for a few seasons they couldn’t have stayed up.
In 2007 with help of the minister of finance they signed ex-national team legend Sergen Yalçin and began to build up a very strong squad. Despite the fact that they made a good start to the season they almost lost their chance to win promotion. They finally managed to book their ticket to the Super Lig in the play-off games. They won their first play-off game after a penalty thriller and in the final they won 2-0.
Like every promoted team in Turkey their board have started to change things. They signed a new coach and 16 players. Amongst those 16 players, Tayfun Türkmen, 21 year-old from the Galatasaray youth academy, Oguz Sabankay and ex-Lille and Besiktas player Souleymane Youla are the flamboyant signings with important Super Lig experience.
Every football fan would like too see Eskisehir in the Super Lig for the next few seasons because of their great stadium and atmosphere, but staying up will be tough enough for them.
Although they failed their European Dream (lost out in qualifying recently) last season’s Anatolian wrestler is still a danger in the Super Lig. They became successful with a limited bench but this year they bought eight players to strenghten the team. Two of them are important first team players including Cameroonian Herve Tum and left winger Faruk Bayar. Selling Bulgarian Ivan Cvetkov though could be the wrong decision. Also if they could hold onto Ugur Yildirim they will be stronger than last year. Even if they don’t manage to scale the heights reached last season they look a sure bet for the top 5.
The big brother of all Anatolian teams had a sensational summer buying more than 20 players. After fininshing in an unsatisfactory place in the league former national team manager Ersun Yanal changed the whole team. While buying so many players, he didn’t forget the future and signed 12 players younger than 23. But signing Gökhan Ünal from Kayserispor could be the best signing of the season. He was wanted by Istanbul’s big teams and there was also interest from Russian clubs. We will see what he is going to do.
They signed Rigobert Song, Egemen Korkmaz and Giray Kaçar for central defence, which was easily their worst position last season. Song could be the key player for them this season. They also signed Belgian Cristian Brüls for the future, but loaned him out to MVV Maastricht immediately.
Flying Guinea winger Ibrahima Yattara was made the new club captain, and this extra responsibility could take his performances onto the next level. Yattara can be a really careless player but Ersun Yanal thinks that the captaincy will improve his behaviour. Although they are the one the biggest teams, in my opinion they are going to be the surprise team of the Super Lig.
Just a few years ago Gaziantepspor was the team most sides were frightened of visiting, but they were almost relegated last season. After changing their president of 12 years they lost their place in the top half of the table.
This summer they lost some important first team players but defenders Bekir Irtegün and Armand Deumi will try to help the team’s position to be secure. Their strongest area is undoubtedly midfield. They have some young and experienced players, and if manager Nurullah Saglam can find a good balance for that area they will push themselves to their limits and find their way back to the top half again.
Having just two strikers will make the task of scoring harder. If they don’t sign another striker their job will be hard.
If there is anybody who follows the Super Lig very closely, they could be surprised with the name of this team and ask “who are they!?” If you look at the whole page you didn’t see the name of the Gençlerbirligi OFTAS. Let me summarise: Hacettepe is a district name in Ankara. In early years of the Turkish first league they were competing but they couldn’t stand against the footballing giants and closed in 1988. Gençlerbirligi OFTAS was the feeder club of Gençlerbirligi, both owned by the same president. The president Ilhan Cavcav bought OFTAS seven years ago and left them as a Super Lig team without changing their name. As you understand OFTAS has changed their name to Hacettepe SK. Everybody in Turkey, especially in Ankara from that district got excited after this exchange.
They have tried to hold onto the players that did so well for them last season but lost their best defender Giray Kaçar. They are an unpretentious hardworking team and I think this will bring them the success they need to stay in the league.
Istanbul Büyüksehir Belediyespor
They enjoyed a great campaign last season starting with a 2-0 victory against Fenerbahçe. With the help loan players from bigger teams they finished the season in 12th position. Succesful young and talented former u-17 manager Abdullah Avci will try to move his team up into the top-half this season. 24 year-old Ibrahim Akin and striker Adriano will be the important players for Istanbul BB. They signed Okan Buruk from Galatasaray and I think he will help the team with his experience gained from the national team and Inter Milan. Replacing the retired Mert Korkmaz with Metin Depe is a good transfer. They didn’t choose to make big changes to their team because they believe in stability and supporting their manager like Hacettepe SK.
This team went into the transfer market with grand ambitions this summer, trying to sign Dutch legends Patrick Kluivert and Edgar Davids. In the end they settled with ex-Fenerbahçe and national team player Serhat Akin. From time to time he performed very well at Anderlecht but problems with the manager brought him back to Turkey again. Their other good signings are Bülent Bölükbasi from Gaziantepspor, Serdar Kulbilge from Fenerbahçe, Tolga Seyhan from Trabzonspor and Serbian Nenad Jestrovic form Red Star. Ex-national team goalkeeper Engin Ipekoglu is going to manage the team. He showed the Turkish sports media that he could do good things when he was the manager of Bursaspor. He could bring back the former Turkish Cup winners back to a competitive level over the coming years….if he doesn’t get fired.
They continue to sign world class players as a main part of their transfer policy. But how is it logical to pay €14 million for Daniel Güiza while Ronaldinho costs €21 million? As a part of the European Champions Guiza should continue his excellent form from last season (28 La Liga goals) to prove his is truly worth the huge fee. When Galatasaray hired Karl Heinz Feldkamp Fenerbahce fans were critical of his age, but now their club has hired the 70 year-old Aragones. Firing Zico, who is the most successful manager in Fenerbahçe’s history in Europe, seems to be a strange move, but that is a tradition of Fenerbahçe. If you can’t win the title, what ever you do, you will be shown the door.
It wasn’t so hard to implement Aragones’s football mentality for the Spanish national team because most of them were playing as Aragones wants at their clubs. Fast, to feet and surging into the area. But Fenerbahçe’s last five years is related to Alex De Souza. To make him a first team player every manager changed the style of to play with one striker. But Aragones is trying to manage the team how he managed Spain, which looks so hard for Fenerbahçe I think. The strongest part of Spain was the midfield position and Marcos Senna was the key player here. Mehmet Aurelio could have been the Marcos Senna for Aragones, but Fenerbahçe didn’t renew his contract and lost him for free, and are now still trying to fill his position.
According to speculation Marcos Senna could be a Fenerbahçe player soon. We will see. Signing ex-Galatasaray youth player Emre Belözoglu became the one of the most sensational transfers of the summer, simply because when he was playing for clubs outside Turkey he always said that he would only play for Galatasaray if he returned. Emre though chose the money of Fenerbahce and Galatasaray fans were furious.
Even if it looks like they have a strong first eleven their bench is not good enough. There is no experienced goalkeeper behind Volkan Demirel, and also no experienced defenders behind Edu and Lugano. If one them gets injured or suspened Fenerbahçe will be in real trouble.
The European Championships come-back goal-king Semih Sentürk will be the most important player in the team, and will have to perform if the Canaries are to win the title.
Former U-21 manager Rasit Çetiner has built up a new team, buying 15 and selling 10 players after an unsuccessful season. The players they signed are experienced Super Lig players, including Erhan Albayrak, Ismail Güldüren, Cihan Haspolatli, Fatih Egedik, Sener Askaroglu, and Fahri Tatan. They have a quality squad but if the new signings don’t gel quickly and the squad doesn’t find harmony they could be in a big trouble this season again.
Maybe they are the team most ready for the new season. Amongst the transfers they made were two highly rated players who were playing for Wigan Athletic before the end of the last season. Signing Julius Aghahowa and Salomon Olembe from the English Premier League is a really big thing for an Anatolian team. These transfers will help the fans to forget Ivankov’s and Gökhan Ünal’s departure. They brought in a replacement number one in the form of Souleymane Hamidou and also loaned Milan Purovic from Sporting Lisbon. Another coming in was U-21 talent Eren Güngör from Altay. He is a player who should work well with youth midfield player Abdullah Eren. After Gökhan Ünal’s departure all responsibilities are on Mehmet Topuz’s shoulders, but he must not try to do everything on the pitch.
Kayserispor will be more successful than last season and I’m sure they are going to make a name for themselves in the group stages of the UEFA Cup.
Another team that suffered last season through firing their manager so easily. That was the reason they finished in 15th even though they had a strong team. If they can keep faith with manager Mesut Bakkal, who likes to play pressing football, they could push for one of the European places.
Losing powerful attackers Mehmet Çakir and Nigerian international Isaac Promise could not be a easy thing for any team, but the president is one of the best spotters of talent there is. He is the one who brought Geremi Njitap to the football scene. After Isaac’s departure, they signed 21 year-old Australian Bruce Djite as a replacement. For Çakir’s place they snapped up Hertha Berlin’s Bilal Çubukçu. Their defence looks their strongest position. Chilean goalkeeper Nicolas Peric is going to wear a kit reminiscent of Spider-man in matches according to the sport agencies. Watching this team is going to be very interesting.
We left the last year’s deserved winner to the end. As in previous seasons, a young and hungry team is still ready for success. The squad has been strengthened with Italian goalkeeper Morgan De Sanctis, Champions League winner Harry “Potter” Kewell and Bundesliga winning captain of Stuttgart Fernando Meira. If you compare the careers of these three players with the transfers of their rivals, Galatasaray will once again be top of the tree.
Galatasaray probably made the best transfers in Turkey, because there is no player, who has played two Champions League Finals in Turkey except Roberto Carlos. In my opinion though I think the best transfer Galatasaray made was holding onto Arda Turan. He showed that he is a world class talent at Euro 2008, and he will be the team’s most dangerous player this season.
Fernando Meira will cover the loss of Rigobert Song and play alongside Servet Çetin. Meria’s ability to dictate the game from defence will add more power to the team. Harry Kewell’s one goal and one assist in the Turkish Super Cup has put Lincoln’s nose out of joint. He is still searching for the form of his Schalke days, and will have to work harder to claim a place in the first eleven.
Having Shabani Nonda and Ümit Karan as a strikers is such a good thing, but is not enough because if they are both injured or suspened at the same time. This could be a weakness for Galatasaray because there is no other strong striker in the squad. Also the team needs another right back because there is only one Sabri Sarioglu.
Hiring Michael Skibbe is a very smart move to try get consistency from Lincoln and the other young players. Everybody knows that he works very well with youth players,but at a big team like Galatasaray you should be successful besides bringing through youth players. If Skibbe continues to manage the team without making any big changes from last season his path to success will be easier.