Kick Off: Saturday 25th August
Live on Bet365 streaming 7.45pm
Following a disappointing opening day away draw to newly promoted Elazigspor last weekend, and a midweek loss in the Europa League to Spartak Moscow, Fenerbahce will want to give their fans something to cheer about when Gaziantepspor visit Istanbul this evening.
Visitors Gaziantepspor were beaten twice by Fenerbahce last season and will need to raise their game also if they are to leave Istanbul leave Istanbul with anything but a loss, and an opening day 1-0 home loss to Sivasspor was hardly the ideal preparation.
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With Fenerbahce back in European competition now after returning for a ban, some people may say that they will be more focused on next weeks visit from Spartak Moscow in which they trail 2-1 from the first leg.
That may be partly true, but Galatasaray bagged 3 points in their opening game against Kasimpasa, and anything other than a win for Fenerbahce here could see them up to 5 points behind their bitter rivals – something fans will not accept.
Recent form must be a worry for Aykut Kocaman’s side, but Gaziantepspor shouldn’t really pose a threat to Fenerbahce if players are completely focused on the job in hand.
On the positive side former Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt scored his first goal for the club in the Champions League during midweek, and it seems he is settling well in Turkey.
Bet365 make Fenerbahce odds of 8/15 to take the victory today, with Gaziantepspor 19/4 and the draw available at 16/5.
The 8/15 looks like pretty generous odds if you believe Fenerbahce can change their fortunes against a club that has failed to win in their last 8 visits to the Sukru Saracoglu.
Gaziantepspor are an average mid division team, and if Fenerbahce have designs on claiming back the title from Galatasaray, this is a game they must simply win.