HomeNFLFenerbahçe sets eyes on Euro success - Turkish News

Fenerbahçe sets eyes on Euro success – Turkish News

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ISTANBUL

Fenerbahçe travels to Greece on April 11 to take on Olympiacos in the first leg of a Europa League quarterfinal clash with hopes of silencing a recent debate in Turkish football.

The Istanbul club walked off the field after three minutes of the rescheduled Turkish Super Cup final against archrival Galatasaray on April 7 in protest of alleged unfair treatment by referees and the Turkish Football Federation (TFF).

Fenerbahce fielded an Under-19 team for the game. Galatasaray went ahead after three minutes with a goal from Mauro Icardi. Fenerbahçe players then walked off, as reported ahead of the game that they planned to kick off and then forfeit the match.

With a TFF decision on possible fines on the club and suspension of board members expected soon, Fenerbahçe turns its attention to the European stage to take on a tough opponent.

Olympiacos completed one of the greatest turnarounds in Europa Conference League history as it made up for a 4-1 loss against Maccabi Tel-Aviv with a 6-1 victory (after extra time) in its round of 16 decider.

It was an unforgettable way for coach Jose Luis Mendilibar to celebrate his 63rd birthday, and Thrylos’ spirits should be soaring as the club welcomes Fenerbahçe.

“We will have to play smart,” said the Spanish coach. “It’s a match between two good teams and we want to get a good result so that we can qualify after the second leg.”

Both clubs will have passionate support to call on at their home stadiums, so making the most of home advantage may well be a crucial element.

Fenerbahçe captain Edin Dzeko knows enough about European football to understand what this tie will entail.

“The most important thing will be to do our best and get a good result at their place,” said the Bosnian, who turned 38 in March.

“I think [Olympiacos’] chances are 50-50 in their match-up with us. Every team at this level is good, so I see the chances as equal.”

Also on April 11, Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen hosts West Ham in the first leg of their Europa League quarterfinal and is yet to lose this season, winning 36 and drawing five of its 41 games.

The Bundesliga champion-elect is 16 points clear of second-placed Bayern Munich in Germany and could lift its first-ever league title as early as April 14 with a win over Werder Bremen.

With Alonso’s men also through to May’s German Cup final, where they face a second-division Kaiserslautern side battling relegation, the Europa League represents the biggest remaining challenge to their treble hopes.

Alonso called for full focus on their English visitors despite needing just one more victory to lift the league trophy.

“On Thursday we’ve got West Ham at home. It’s not the right moment to think about the weekend. We’ll have time, but we just need to be a bit more patient,” he said.

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