The mighty Galatasaray. The conquerors of Europe. UEFA Cup winners 1999-2000. Turkish League Champions 22 times.
At their Türk Telekom Stadium they hold not only the record of winning the Europa League and the Super Cup, they also hold the record of the loudest crowd roar at 140 decibels.
Surprisingly, in Galatasaray’s 279 European matches, Galatasaray have only played one Scottish team. This was of course Rangers in the 2000-2001 season of the Champions League, when Galatasaray were very much at their peak.
Then we lost (3:2) at their old home ground, the Ali Sami Yen Stadyumu, in Istanbul, and we drew (0:0) at Ibrox, and amongst the Galatasaray team was our new dear friend Gheorghe Hagi, who was constantly booed by our fans during the match to try distract him. Thankfully, neither Gheorghe nor his son chose to hold that against us…
In the last 20 years a lot has happened. Galatasaray are clearly not the all-conquering force they used to be.
In the 2018-2019 Champions League they were defeated by Porto (3:2) and in the 2019-2020 season they lost (5:0) to PSG and were defeated (6:0) by Real Madrid.
On reviewing the team, Galatasaray are a team with numerous problems.
With Galatasaray routinely playing in the Champions league, I thought the team was full of Internationalists. Instead the team is full of free-loans, and their only true international stars are their goal-keeper Fernando Muslera, who plays for the Uruguay National team, Sofiane Feghouli who plays as the winger for Morocco, and 34 year old wily Colombian forward Falcao, who Alfredo Morelos knows very well.
Falcao moved to Galatasaray last year for 10 million euros.
On reviewing their recent games, I have to admit I was surprised. They do play an accurate passing game, when they are not under pressure; but to be honest I actually fell asleep after watching just two games, with my final thought being I had perhaps mistakenly put on a game from the Scottish Championship.
Their manager is Fatih Terim, who is now managing Galatasaray for the third time in his long career.
Terim was voted one of the top 8 managers in the world in 2001, and Eurosport manager of the year for 2008, and in another fun fact, Fatih Terim was the manager of Galatasaray when we last played them, and he was described as a ‘tactical genius’.
There is nothing actually wrong with Galatasaray’s current style of play. It is just there is no real communication in their team. It often appears very disjointed, and when things are not going their way, their strikers will often dive in the penalty box to try to trick the referee into giving them a penalty. So, it is not only Celtic that use this technique.
In my opinion, the problem is it almost appears that the manager is too used to having highly talented players at his disposal, and he does not realise that the players he DOES have are unable to reliably play the way that he wants them to.
Overall, they do have players who are tactically aware, but the team now appear to be more used to cheating their way to wins.
In my opinion, if Rangers use their growing experience, they should be too strong for Galatasaray.
However, this is a one-off match, with a lot to play for; and in the play-off stage there are really no weak teams left to play.