Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Fenerbahce vs. AZ Alkmaar Game Notes

Fenerbahce vs. AZ Almaar UEFA Cup game notes, courtesy of UEFA.com...

Louis van Gaal can complete a full set of wins against Istanbul's big three clubs as his AZ Alkmaar side take on Fenerbahçe SK in the UEFA Cup Round of 32.

• Fenerbahçe qualified for the Round of 32 as the third-placed side in UEFA Cup Group H. AZ finished top of Group C.

• The two sides have never met in European competition.

• Fenerbahçe have played against Dutch opposition ten times in the course of four two-legged European Champion Clubs' Cup ties and two UEFA Champions League group stage games. They have won two of those games and lost eight. They lost all four of their knockout ties against Eredivisie sides.

• AZ's only previous experience of Turkish opposition comes from earlier in this season's UEFA Cup campaign as they beat Kayserispor over two legs to reach the group stage. They won 3-2 in the Netherlands and drew 1-1 in Turkiye.

• Prior to that victory, AZ coach Louis Van Gaal had led sides to two previous aggregate victories against Turkish clubs. His AFC Ajax team won 6-1 against Beşiktaş JK in a 1993/94 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup tie while his FC Barcelona side twice beat Galatasaray SK in the 2002/03 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• AZ's Georgian striker Shota Arveladze may have some useful knowledge of Turkish football having made his first move abroad in 1993/94 to spend three-and-a-half seasons with Fenerbahçe's Super League rivals Trabzonspor.

• The second leg will be played on 22 February. The aggregate winners will face SV Zulte Waregem or Newcastle United FC in the Round of 16, playing away on 8 March before staging the return a week later.

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