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Turkish Super Lig | Gameweek 18
Dec 24, 2023 at 4pm UK
Ulker Stadyumu Fenerbahce Sukru Saracoglu Spor Kompleksi

0 - 0

Osayi-Samuel (12'), Kahveci (57'), King (72')

Torreira (64'), Boey (73'), Ziyech (85'), Akturkoglu (90+1')

Preview: Fenerbahce vs. Galatasaray - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Turkish Super Lig clash between Fenerbahce and Galatasaray, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Fenerbahce and Galatasaray meet in an eagerly-anticipated Intercontinental derby in the Turkish Super Lig on Sunday.

In the 398th meeting between the sides, this is the first of two clashes between the sides to end 2023, before they reconvene to compete in the Turkish Super Kupa on December 29.

Match preview

Victor Nelsson in action for Galatasaray in April 2022.© Reuters

Before the 400th instalment of the biggest game in Turkey comes around on the penultimate weekend of the season, there may well still be nothing to separate the sides, as is the case currently.

The two Istanbul giants sit level on 43 points, as the Super Lig title is already down to a two-horse race, with third-place Kayserispor a whopping 14 points adrift.

Both recorded narrow one-goal victories on the return of Turkish domestic football in midweek to maintain phenomenal starts, as the two sides have dropped just five points each in their 16 league matches so far.

The league had been temporarily suspended following the assault on referee Halil Umut Meler by Ankaragucu president Faruk Koca, who has since resigned, been arrested and banned from football activities for life by the Turkish Football Federation.

Fenerbahce continued their remarkable season with another dramatic encounter against Kayserispor on Wednesday.

Fenerbahce's Ferdi Kadioglu celebrates scoring their first goal with Irfan Can Kahveci on December 14, 2023© Reuters

Despite leading 2-0 and 3-1, Fener needed a Michy Batshuayi penalty - which sealed his hat-trick - 10 minutes from time to seal a 4-3 win in Kayseri.

After winning all of their opening 19 matches across all competitions, Fener looked unstoppable, until a horrendous run of form in November brought Gala back into contention.

Ismail Kartal's side won just one of their five matches during the month, losing at home to Trabzonspor and drawing at Adana Demirspor, as well as suffering a 6-1 defeat at Nordsjaelland in the Europa Conference League.

Since that heavy thrashing in Denmark though, Fener are back in form and have scored 15 goals across four straight wins, including an impressive 3-1 win away to local rivals Besiktas.

Fener's 4-0 win over Spartak Trnava not only kept the side match fit as Turkish football was on hold, it also ensured direct passage into the last 16 of the UECL, and not playing a preliminary round playoff could be pivotal come February.

Gala themselves are on a run of four straight wins in the league, which continued thanks to a narrow 1-0 victory over Fatih Karagumruk on Wednesday, with Kerem Akturkoglu the goalscorer.

Galatasaray's Kerem Akturkoglu celebrates scoring against Manchester United on November 29, 2023© Reuters

That result helped to alleviate the disappointment of crashing out of the Champions League to Copenhagen last week, as they will now face Sparta Prague in a Europa League playoff for a place in the last 16.

While Fener have been merciless in attack, Gala's success has been built more so on defensive stability, despite their undoubted quality in attack.

Their current four-game winning run has seen them concede just once, and that was a penalty in a 3-1 win over Adana Demirspor.

Having recently ended the 'Kadikoy Curse', Galatasaray will feel much more confident of getting a win here after it took them until 2020 to win at the Sukru Saracoglu Stadium in the 21st century.

Since breaking the duck, they have gone on to win in three of their previous four visits, including back in January, when a 3-0 win set Okan Buruk's side on course for the title.

Fenerbahce Turkish Super Lig form:

Fenerbahce form (all competitions):

Galatasaray Turkish Super Lig form:

Galatasaray form (all competitions):

Team News

Fenerbahce's Michy Batshuayi celebrates scoring their second goal with Ryan Kent  on September 21, 2023© Reuters

Fenerbahce will be without both Fred and Mert Hakan Yandas for this one, after the pair were sent off in injury time during their dramatic win over Kayserispor in midweek.

Another possible huge absentee could be 16-goal Edin Dzeko, who missed the fixture with a minor issue, making him a doubt here.

Batshuayi's hat-trick suggests Fener have a capable replacement though, but they were the Belgian's first league goals of the season, as he has been kept mainly for European encounters so far.

Samet Akaydin will return from suspension for the hosts, but there are numerous other injury concerns for Kartas to deal with.

Luan Peres, Ryan Kent, Miha Zajc and Rodrigo Becao are all doubts ahead of the derby, while Lincoln is a confirmed absentee due to his serious knee injury.

Galatasaray have significantly fewer selection problems heading into the big one, and they will be boosted by the return of goalkeeper Fernando Muslera after suspension.

The Uruguayan stopper was banned after picking up his fourth caution of the season, but the experienced international is set to replace Gunay Guvenc, who deputised in midweek.

Wilfried Zaha was able to overcome a minor knock to take a place on the bench on Wednesday, but given the form of Akturkoglu and Hakim Ziyech, the Ivorian may have to settle for a place as a substitute once more.

There is a three-way battle for a starting spot at left-back, with Baris Alper Yilmaz likely to get the nod over youngster Kazimcan Karatas, and Angelino, who has featured very little in the league this season.

Davinson Sanchez and Sergio Oliveira represent the only injury issues facing Buruk heading into this clash, with the duo set to miss out with short-term issues.

Fenerbahce possible starting lineup:
Livakovic; Osayi-Samuel, Akaydin, Djiku, Kadioglu; Yuksek, Miguel Crespo, Szymanski; Kahveci, Batshuayi, Tadic

Galatasaray possible starting lineup:
Muslera; Boey, Nelsson, Bardakci, B A Yilmaz; Ndombele, Torreira; Ziyech, Mertens, Akturkoglu; Icardi

SM words green background

We say: Fenerbahce 3-3 Galatasaray

With absolutely nothing to separate the sides points-wise in the league table, calling the winner in this enticing encounter is a thankless task.

Wednesday's high-scoring win took Fener's goal tally to 78 in just 28 matches this season, and Gala have been noted for their open, expansive style of play too, so this could be a fixture for the ages, even if it ends level.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Fenerbahce's Ryan Kent during the warm up before the match on September 21, 2023
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