Galatasaray could be in a position to clinch the Turkish Super Lig crown when they travel to Gaziantepspor on Sunday night.
Best match odds
Galatasaray – 8/13 (Coral
Going into the weekend seven points clear with four games to play, the Champions League quarter-finalists could retain the title by winning in Gaziantep if Fenerbahce lose at home to Kayserispor in a match kicking off at the same time.
That’s because the gap extended last weekend when Galatasaray won 3-1 at home to Elazigspor, with Didier Drogba scoring a brace and Burak Yilmaz the other goal, while Europa League semi-finalists Fenerbahce were beaten by Genclerbirligi.
Turkish football is very much on the up thanks to the favourable tax laws afforded to footballers and the Super Lig now contains many more foreign stars than it used to.
The presence of Drogba alone is quite a coup, but the fact he was joined at the Turk Telekom Arena in January by Wesley Sneijder is an indication of the pulling power.
Along with the likes of emerging striker Yilmaz, former Arsenal and Liverpool wide men Emmanuel Eboue and Albert Riera, Brazilian midfielder Felipe Melo and Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, the big-name duo are enjoying a terrific second half of the campaign.
Having qualified second from the same Champions League group as Manchester United, Galatasaray ultimately progressed further than the newly-crowned Premier League kings by reaching the last eight in which they too lost out to Real Madrid.
But domestically it’s five wins on the bounce for the side managed by Fatih Terim, who of course is in his third spell having led the club to UEFA Cup success in 2000, when they beat Arsenal in the final on penalties, and four previous league titles.
However, their recent record against mid-table Gaziantepspor is not overly convincing. Galatasaray have won only one of the last four meetings and their opponents two, so this may not be a cakewalk for Turkey’s most famous club.
They were held 1-1 at home back in November by a team with little left to play for this season other than ensuring they keep the points total ticking over, being six clear of the relegation zone with the buffer of four other clubs in between.
Unlike several of their counterparts, Gaziantepspor have no familiar names within their squad and could fall to a narrow defeat as Galatasaray close in on another title.
Recommendation: Only one team to score (7/5, Coral)