Trabzonspor play host to league leaders Fernerbahce at the Senol Gunes Stadium in a highly-anticipated top-of-the-table clash on Sunday.
With just one point separating the sides after eight rounds of matches, this game has all the makings of a riveting contest, and the hosts will be seeking to get one over the visitors after suffering defeat in both home and away fixtures last season.
After securing an impressive fourth-placed finish last term, Trabzonspor have kicked off their quest for a Europa League spot on a good note as they find themselves in the upper echelons of the league standings.
This weekend’s hosts returned to winning ways last time out when they edged out a dogged Kayserispor side 2-1 when the sides locked horns at the Kadir Has Stadium.
After Emrah Bassan netted on the stroke of half time to cancel out Anastasios Bakasetas’s opener and force a draw heading into the break, Bakasetas struck his second of the game from the penalty spot on the hour mark to hand the hosts their third loss of the season.
Prior to that, Trabzonspor played out a thrilling 2-2 draw away to Konyaspor on September 23 before coming from behind to salvage a 1-1 draw against Alanyaspor four days later.
The Black Sea Storm head into Sunday’s contest on a six-game unbeaten run, picking up three wins and three draws since a 3-0 loss at the hands of Italian outfit Roma in the Conference League qualifiers back in August.
This impressive run of results has seen Abdullah Avci’s men surge to second place in the Super Lig table, one point behind Sunday’s visitors, who have picked up 19 points from their opening eight outings.
Trabzonspor are now one of just two sides yet to taste defeat in the division to date and this fine record has been owing to their solid performance at both ends of the pitch as they boast the league’s best attacking record with 16 goals scored, while shipping the second-fewest goals with eight.
Meanwhile, Fenerbahce continued in their quest to unseat reigning champions Besiktas last time out when they claimed a 2-1 win over Kasimpasa.
Coming off the back of a humbling 3-0 loss against Olympiacos in the Europa League, where Giorgos Masouras put on an inspiring performance when he netted a second-half brace, the Yellow Canaries were in need of a morale-booster.
The game was sparked into life shortly after the quarter-hour mark when Mergim Berisha opened the scoring before Luiz Gustavo doubled the lead on the stroke of half time, and after Michal Travnik pulled one back eight minutes after the break, Vitor Pereira’s side saw off a comeback scare by holding on to their slender lead.
Fenerbahce have now won each of their most recent three outings in the league, claiming successive victories over Giresunspor, Hatayspor and Kasimpasa since August’s 2-0 defeat at Basaksehir.
This brilliant start to the domestic campaign has in no small part been down to their backline who have allowed the joint-fewest goals in the division with six.
While Pereira knows victory on Sunday will be a huge boost to his side’s title chances, they face the tough task of taking on an opposing side who are unbeaten at home in four of the most recent five meetings between the sides, claiming three wins and one draw.
Trabzonspor Turkish Super Lig form:
Fenerbahce Turkish Super Lig form:
Fenerbahce form (all competitions):
We say: Trabzonspor 1-1 Fenerbahce
Sunday’s game has all the makings of a nerve-racking contest as both sides, who find themselves at the top of the pile, will be seeking to kick on with their fine run of results.
Trabzonspor have turned their home ground into a fortress domestically since they last lost back in March against Alanyaspor. However, we predict the spoils will be shared in this one as they head into the game evenly matched on paper.