>Bursaspor surprised everyone when they ended the big three’s supremacy by claiming last season’s Turkish Super Lig title, so can they do it again and who are the contenders this term.
Last season; champions’‘Topscorer; Ozan Ipek & Pablo Batalla (8)’’
Last season’s surprise Super Lig champions Bursaspor will have their work cut out to defend their title this term. It was one amazing achievement last season, but things may not fall their way this campaign.
The good news is Ertugrul Saglam, the 40-year-old manager who masterminded the Green Crocodiles’ success, remains at the helm. As well, so do the key players such as Argentina midfielder Pablo Batalla, Volkan Sen and Omer Erdogan plus they’ve boosted their squad for their European commitments with some talent, but keeping the flame alive will be tough.
Ins’‘Gokcek Vederson (Fenerbahce), Federico Insua (Club America – Loan), Milan Stepanov (FC Porto), Leonel Nunez (Independiente), Damian Steinert (Racing Club)'’Outs’’ Tomas Zapotocny (Besiktas – Loan Return), Tuna Uzumcu (Antalyaspor), Veli Acar (Konyaspor), Leonardo Iglesias (released)'’Sports Pundit prediction; 3rd
Last season; 2nd’‘Topscorer; Alex de Souza & Dani Guiza (11)’’
Sporting director Aykut Kocaman takes over from the sacked Christoph Daum at the Sukru Saracoglu but things haven’t started well for the 45-year-old as Fenerbahce were disappointly bundled out of the UEFA Champions League by Swiss club Young Boys.
Kocaman intends to develop a new style for the Yellow Canaries, but this has controversially forced star Brazilian midfielder Alex de Souza to the fringes. Fener still lack a 20-25 goalscorer and to compound the problems Dani Guiza could leave for Russia, plus they’ve had unsuccessful pursuits of Mamadou Niang and Asamoah Gyan. Indeed, there’s plenty for Kocaman to do after several seasons without a Super Lig crown.
Ins’‘Issiar Dia (Nancy), Miroslav Stoch (Chelsea), Caner Erik (CSKA Moscow), Ilhan Eker (Genclerbirligi)'’Outs’‘Ali Bilgin (Kayserispor), Gokcek Vederson (Bursaspor), Deniz Baris (Antalyaspor)'’Sports Pundit prediction; 4th
Last season; 3rd’‘Topscorer; Milan Baros (11)’’
There’s been plenty of changes in the off-season at the Ali Sami Yen, but as boss Frank Rijkaard enters into his second season in charge, expectations will again be lofty. Two seasons without a Super Lig title has created that.
Galatasaray’s key arrivals are speedy winger Juan Pablo Pino and hard-working midfielder Lorik Cana. Elsewhere, much depends on the fitness of Milan Baros and Harry Kewell who missed large periods of last term. Rijkaard will also hope to tighten up his defence, following a few leaky seasons.
Ins’‘Juan Pablo Pino (Monaco), Lorik Cana (Sunderland), Caglar Birinci (Denizlispor), Ali Turan (Kayserispor), Serdar Ozkan (Besiktas), Mehmet Batdal (Bursaspor)'’Outs Mehmet Topal (Valencia), Leo Franco (Real Zaragoza), Abdul Kader Keita (Al Sadd), Marcelo Carrusca (Banfield), Emre Gungor (Gaziantepspor), Ugur Ucar (Ankaragucu), Giovani Dos Santos (Tottenham – Loan Return), Jo (Manchester City – Loan Return), Caner Erkin (CSKA Moscow – Loan Return), Emre Asik (retired)'’Sports Pundit prediction; 2nd
Last season; 4th’‘Topscorer; Bobo (12)’’
Former Real Madrid manager Bernd Schuster has taken over at the BJK Inonu Stadium following Mustafa Denizli’s resignation after he failed to build on 2009’s title success. The German international, known as the Blonde Angel, will stir things up in Istanbul.
Schuster has already brought in some attractive quality in Guti and Ricardo Quaresma who he’s managed before at Real Madrid. He’s already got plenty to build on with talents such as Matias Delgado and Bobo and after their positive transfer activity, the Black Eagles may be considered title favourites. Schuster’s got to get them scoring more often.
Ins’‘Guti (Real Madrid), Ricardo Quaresma (Inter Milan), Roberto Hilbert (VfB Stuttgart), Cenk Gonen (Denizlispor), Ersan Gulum (Adanaspor - Loan)'’Outs’‘Batuhan Karadeniz (Eskisehirspor), Rodrigo Tello (Eskisehirspor), Serdar Ozkan (Galatasaray), Kenan Ozer (Antalyaspor), Erkan Zengin (Eskisehirspor), Gordon Schildenfeld (Sturm Graz)'’Sports Pundit prediction; champions
Last season; 5th’‘Topscorer; Umut Bulut (11)’’
Senol Gunes’ Maroon-Blues probably don’t have the quality to challenge for honours this term, but Bursaspor’s success last season might encourage them. As well, they won the Super Cup 3-0 over Bursaspor last week with Colombian striker Teofilo Gutierrez netting a hat-trick.
To contend for honours they’ll need to find more avenues to goal so Gutierrez’s form is a positive, while the arrival of Brazilian striker Jaja, a former Ukraine Premier League MVP, is a boost. The worry is the departure list with some key men heading out of Trabzon.
Ins’‘Jaja (Metalist Kharkiv), Arkadiusz Głowacki (Wisla Krakow), Baris Atas (Diyarbakirspor)'’Outs’‘Tony Sylva (released), Rigobert Song (released), Isaac Promise (released), Razundara Tjikuzu (released)'’Sports Pundit prediction; 5th