Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Holiday Break...

I want to take this moment to thank each of my readers and fellow Fenerbahce fans. I will be traveling to Italy for the Christmas holiday and will not be adding any new articles to the website for 10 days or so. I will be attending the ACF Fiorentina vs. Messina Serie A match in Italy, but despite my attendance, my heart will be in Kadikoy ofcourse....:). Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to each of you and I'll resume posting as soon as I get back! Sampiyon Fenerbahce! Sana iyi Noel'ler dilerim ve en iyi dileklerimle yeni yilini kutlarim!

Fenerbahce Rolls Over Inegolspor, 6-0

Many of the international Fenerbahce players have left for the winter holiday, but Fener wouldn't need them today as they crushed Inegolspor 6-0 in Fortis Turkish Cup action. Fenerbahce's starting eleven were: Serdar, Serkan, Lugano, Can, Uğur Boral, Mehmet Yozgatlı , Kemal, Tümer, Olcan, Semih, and Deivid.

Fener received goals from Olcan (3rd minute), Deivid (22nd minute), Senturk (28th and 55th minutes), Yozgatli (81st minute), and Tumer Metin (88th minute).

Today's game was played before an empty Sukru Saracoglu, as Fener is serving a 3-match supporters' ban as a result of behavior from the Galatasaray derby.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Fener Draws AZ-Alkmaar As Next UEFA Cup Opponent

Today's UEFA Cup draw in Switzerland revealed that AZ-Alkmaar from the Netherlands will be the next Fenerbahce opponent. AZ will come to Sukru Saracoglu for the first leg on February 14th, then Fener will travel to the Netherlands for the second leg on February 22nd. Should Fener advance, they would face either Newcastle United or Zulte Waregem in the final sixteen.

AZ-Alkmaar and Fener have a common opponent, as AZ faced Kayserispor at the beginning of the UEFA Cup. AZ narrowly got past Kayseri on a 4-3 aggregate.

More to come on our next UEFA Cup opponents soon...

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fenerbahce vs. Eintracht Frankfurt Highlights

Click to watch highlights of Fener vs. Eintracht, including Semih's amazing goal!

Fenerbahce Awaits UEFA Cup Draw, Next Opponent

After their draw vs. Eintracht Frankfurt on Wednesday, pushing them through to the round of 32, Fenerbahce will have to wait until Friday to learn their next opponent. The draw for the UEFA Cup will be held at UEFA headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland on Friday, December 15 at 12.00 GMT.

Group stage winners play teams which finished in third place. Group stage runners-up play teams which dropped out of the Champions League. No teams from the same national association can meet, nor can teams who were in the same UEFA Cup group. The final UEFA Cup group play games are being played today (Thursday).

GROUP WINNERS: Blackburn Rovers, Espanyol, Newcastle United, Panathinaikos, Parma, three teams TBC

to play...

THIRD PLACE IN GROUP: Feyenoord Rotterdam, Zulte-Waregem, Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Fenerbahce, four teams TBC

Senturk Resurrects Fenerbahce, European Hopes

Fifty-five minutes into Wednesday's game between Fenerbahce and Eintracht Frankfurt, a series of dark clouds seemed to move in and hover over Sukru Saracoglu Stadium and Kadikoy. The Yellow Canaries had just gone down 2-0 on Naohiro Takahara's second goal, and advancing into the UEFA Cup round of 32 seemed a distant dream. Fans needed not look to Allah to part the clouds, but instead the magnificent #10, Tuncay Sanli would do the first clearing with a header off of a corner in the 63rd minute to cut the lead in half. Still, nothing less than a draw would push Fener through. As time ticked away, each second more precious, the most unlikely of heroes stepped forward.

On a team of fantastic international players and some of the best footballers in Turkiye, Semih Senturk's name is rarely mentioned. When those outside of Turkiye talk about Fenerbahce, names like Mateja Kezman, Stephen Appiah, Tuncay Sanli, and Diego Lugano are often mentioned. Semih Senturk, the Izmir-born Turk, is usually left out of the conversation. However, Senturk cemented his place in Fener history with a game-tying goal in the 83rd minute Wednesday night, moving Fener into the UEFA Cup round of 32. Senturk's rocket bicycle kick from close range single-handedly cleared the dark clouds from Kadikoy.

It was a game that looked good for Fener fans from the beginning. The Canaries looked solid and Zico had a good game plan which was being executed well. Less than five minutes in, Onder Turaci nearly put the hosts up with a right-footed bullet which was just saved by Eintracht GK Markus Proll. However, a few minutes later Eintracht put in a nice cross from the wing finding Takahara for the game's first goal. The goal immediately put the crowd on edge. Fener, however, played even better. Good opportunities from Stephen Appiah, Tuncay Sanli, and Marco Aurelio were solid, but didn't find the back of the net. Early in the second half, Albert Streit sent a cross from the left that Takahara headed in for his second goal, putting Eintracht up 2-0. Fenerbahce, however, would not be denied.

Stephen Appiah had another good opportunity early after Takahara's goal, but in the 63rd minute Alex sent a cross that Tuncay headed in to cut the lead in half. Still, Fener would need another goal to continue Euro play on this night.

In stepped the unlikeliest of heroes for Fenerbahce. Semih Senturk entered the game with little fanfare in the 76th minute. Time was running out on the Canaries. Senturk, however, had an idea a goal may come from his foot this night. "My wife told me I would play in this game and score, though I didn't think I would" he said after the game. Only seven minutes into his play, Senturk would send a ball through on an overhead bicycle kick that would erupt the crowd at Sukru Saracoglu. The goal tied the game at 2-2 and deflated Eintracht. They had less than ten minutes to scramble to score or face elimination. Zico's backline immediately went into a "prevent" mode and the game's hero even secured a red card, sending him off late in the game.

Finally, it was over - Fener secured the draw to move on into the UEFA Cup round of 32. How unlikely was Senturk's goal? He had made appearances in nine Super Lig games this season, as well as two UEFA Cup games. He had failed to score in any games. "The goal came when my shot hit [fellow forward] Deivid and then I finished it off with an overhead kick. I am really happy because we never gave up. We kept fighting and got what we deserved."

The sparingly-used forward can now rest assured that his name will be mentioned throughout the world now when Fenerbahce is discussed. All it took was one goal.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Referees, Lineup for Fener vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

The referees and assistants for today's UEFA Cup matchup are:

Jan Wegereef (HOL)

Assistant referee
Jantinus Meints (HOL)
Adriaan Inia (HOL)

Fourth official
Kevin Blom (HOL)

Fenerbahce's anticipated starting eleven will be: Volkan Demirel , Stephen Appiah, Mateja Kezman, Tuncay Sanli, Marco "Mehmet" Aurelio, Önder Turaci, Alex de Souza, Deniz Baris, Uğur Boral, Diego Lugano, Edu Dracena

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fenerbahce Faces Three Games Without Fans, Hefty Fine

Ahmet Turgut is reporting on www.turkishsoccer.com that Fenerbahce will face three games with no fans in attendance, as well as a 200o YTL fan as a result of the Galatasaray game on December 3. The fine and penalty were handed down Tuesday by the Turkish Futbol Federation Disciplinary Committee. No word as of yet as to when this punishment will take place. The monetary punishment is equal to approximately $1,400 US dollars.

More to come as this story develops. Thanks to my good friend Ahmet Turgut, who was one of the first to report this breaking news. You can visit Ahmet's website at www.turkishsoccer.com.

Eintracht Hopes Hinge on Takahara

The following article appeared on www.uefa.org recently regarding our UEFA Cup opponents and I wanted to share. It was written by Frankfurt journalist Steffen Potter. You can read the article, in its entirety, on www.uefa.org.

Eintracht Frankfurt hope Japan striker Naohiro Takahara can make his mark on the UEFA Cup after finally finding his feet in German football.

Japanese pedigree

When he moved to Hamburger SV from Jubilo Iwata in 2002, Takahara came with a substantial pedigree - he had scored 26 goals in 27 games in his last season on home soil. However, a tally of 13 goals from 97 matches at Hamburg persuaded the forward to consider his future in the summer.

Eintracht doubts

Having earned a UEFA Cup place as German Cup runners-up, Eintracht expressed an interest in taking the 27-year-old away from Hamburg, even if their chairman Heribert Bruchhagen had his doubts. "We thought Takahara was not really dangerous in front of goal," he said. The pacy attacker agreed to the switch, and although he has taken time to settle in Frankfurt, he finally feels up to speed with Bundesliga life. "The league is very strong and very fast, but this is no problem for me," he explained.

Missed chances

Despite Takahara having scored twice for Japan in a 2-2 summer friendly draw against Germany, Eintracht fans took persuading when it came to their new striker. Three goals in his first ten league games marked a poor return, and the late opportunity that Takahara let slip in the 0-0 UEFA Cup Group H draw against Newcastle United FC on 30 November proved particularly galling for supporters. Coach Friedhelm Funkel jumped to his defence, however: "Often he is unfairly criticised. We don't have a problem in attack."

Hat-trick relief

Takahara finally silenced his critics in his next match, scoring a hat-trick in a 3-2 Bundesliga win at TSV Alemannia Aachen and fitting in brilliantly alongside Alexander Meier in a counterattacking formation. Aachen coach Michael Frontzeck said: "There is no team in the Bundesliga who counterattack like Eintracht." Funkel was relieved, saying: "Now everyone can see why we signed him. This makes me especially happy because he proved all his critics wrong."

Istanbul trip

Takahara, who now has six goals from 12 league outings, could make little impact as Eintracht were mauled 6-2 at home by Werder Bremen at the weekend, but fans will hope he gets better service in Wednesday's game against Fenerbahçe SK in Turkey. Eintracht must win to progress to the UEFA Cup Round of 32 and this time, the forward can ill afford any missed chances.

Fenerbahce vs. Eintracht Frankfurt Game Notes

• With 1-0 defeats by Newcastle United FC and RC Celta de Vigo either side of a 3-0 victory against US Città di Palermo, Fenerbahçe need a draw to progress to the last 32, but a loss would see them eliminated, potentially finishing bottom of the section.

• Eintracht's opening 2-1 home loss to Palermo was followed by draws against Celta and Newcastle. A win in Turkiye would see them progress to the last 32 but a draw or a defeat would not be enough.

• The side finishing top of the section is guaranteed a tie against one of the third-placed finishers from another group in the draw for the Round of 32 on 15 December, while each pool runner-up will meet one of the third-placed finishers from the UEFA Champions League.

• The two sides have never met in European competition. However, they have met in three friendly games. In 1971 Eintracht drew 1-1 with Fenerbahçe in an exhibition game in Turkiye, and the two sides met again at an indoor tournament in Berlin in January 1982, with the German side winning 2-1. More recently, Eintracht beat Fenerbahçe 3-0 in a 1997 friendly in Frankfurt.

• Frankfurt has a large Turkish community, with a recent census showing that 31,690 of the city's 657,000 inhabitants were from Turkiye.

• Eintracht coach Funkel has plenty of experience of Turkish opposition, having led his MSV Duisburg side through a two-legged UEFA Intertoto Cup tie against Kocaelispor and faced Turkish sides in three games as a player for 1. FC Kaiserslautern and FC Bayer 05 Uerdingen.

• Funkel's Duisburg won 3-0 in the away leg of their 1999 UEFA Intertoto Cup tie before holding Kocaelispor to a 0-0 draw at home.

• With Uerdingen, Funkel played in a two-legged 1985/86 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup tie against Galatasaray SK. His side won 2-0 at home and drew 1-1 in Turkey.

• Prior to that, Funkel scored for Kaiserslautern in a 3-0 win against Trabzonspor in the 1982/83 UEFA Cup. However, he did not play in the second leg as Kaiserslautern won 3-0 again.

• Thus, the coach goes into the game against Fenerbahçe having never tasted defeat against Turkish opposition.

• Fenerbahçe have faced German opposition eight times in the course of three two-legged European ties and two UEFA Champions League group stage games.

• They are yet to win a single game against a Bundesliga team, having drawn one and lost seven of those previous meetings.

• They earned their sole draw as they held FC Schalke 04 3-3 in the 2005/06 UEFA Champions League but have lost their remaining three home games against Bundesliga sides.

• Eintracht have met Turkish opposition four times in the course of two two-legged European ties. They won 6-1 on aggregate against Sakaryspor in the 1988/89 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup second round and then lost 1-0 on aggregate against Galatasaray in a 1992/93 UEFA Cup tie.

• In total, they have won twice, drawn once and lost once against Turkish sides.

• They have won one game in Turkiye and lost one.

• Palermo play Celta in Matchday 5's other Group H game.

Fenerbahce Preparing for Eintracht Frankfurt

Wednesday's UEFA Cup opponents Eintracht Frankfurt have arrived in Istanbul for their matchup against Fenerbahce. The game is set to kickoff at 2:45 PM EST in America. Fenerbahce is coming off last Friday's 1-0 win over Turkcell Super Lig opponents Ankaragucu. The Canaries played most of the second half with only 10 men, as Mateja Kezman was sent off with his second yellow card in the 58th minute. After the game, Fener manager Zico said “It was a tough match but my players gave as much as they received, or even more. Even though we were one man down for most of the second half, we still had scoring chances and were in total control. I thank them all.”

More to come on Wednesday's matchup soon...

Friday, December 08, 2006

Ten Canaries Hang On for 1-0 Win

It was a more difficult win than expected, but Fenerbahce scored in the first half and hung on for a 1-0 win over Ankaragucu in Izmir. Stephen Appiah's lone goal in the 38th minute was all the Canaries would need for a win on Friday.

The win was even more impressive because Fener played much of the game with only ten men. Striker Mateja Kezman received a red card in the 58th minute, sending him off. The Fenerbahce defense held off relentless Ankaragucu, and Zico replaced Alex with a fresh Deivid de Souza at the 70-minute mark to hopefully provide some fresh scoring punch for Fener. Deivid failed to connect, but one goal would be enough on this day.

Fenerbahce temporarily moves ten points ahead of second-place Galatasaray for the time being. The Lions face Bursaspor in Super Lig action on Sunday. Behind Fener is a log-jam of rivals, with Vestel Manisaspor moving into a tie with Galatasaray for second place. V. Manisa plays Denizlispor on Sunday. Besiktas and Kayserispor sit directly behind them with 26 points each.

More to come on today's victory soon...

Starting Eleven for Ankaragucu

Fenerbahce vs. Ankaragucu is underway in Izmir. Fener's starting eleven is as follows:

Volkan Demirel, Stephen Appiah, Mateja Kezman, Tuncay Sanli, Marco "Mehmet" Aurelio, Can Arat, Önder Turaci, Alex de Souza, Deniz Baris, Uğur, Diego Lugano

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fenerbahce Arrives in Izmir

Fenerbahce arrived in Izmir on Thursday, one day ahead of their Turkcell Super Lig matchup with Ankaragucu on Friday. Fenerbahce is coming off an emotional 2-1 victory over rivals Galatasaray on Sunday. The kick-off is scheduled for 1 PM EST in America.

NOTE: My apologies again for the lack of blogging the last few days. As many of you know, I'm a graduate student in America and this is final exam time, which is typically the semester's busiest time. Regular posting will resume now. Sampiyon Fenerbahce!