It is always an unnecessary risk for columnists to write their pieces before the game and predict results, but given the whole picture of the competition between Beşiktaş and Fenerbahçe it is quite clear that regardless of the score last night, I can afford to comment on the game.
Firstly, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş represent the two main football schools in Turkish football this year, counter-attacking and neo-total football. Fenerbahçe head coach Vitor Pereira has established a strict and proper defensive strategy and his disciplined style has carried his team to the top so far. Beşiktaş and coach Şenol Güneş, on the contrary, rely on domination and playing a well-built offensive game that was highly effective against primitive Turkish teams. Thus, two completely different coaches, both personally and strategically, will compete for the trophy this season by unusual ways in Turkish football.
If one of them become the champions this season, which is very likely, it may push Turkish football administrators and coaches into a paradigmatic shift. Even though they represent two opposite sides of football philosophy, they both answer the most fundamental problem of Turkish football: What does a coach actually do in a club. Their answer is simple, the coach is the superior mind of the team, who organizes the strategies, tactics, inner connections and basic core of the game. Just like chess players, every move Pereira and Güneş make stems from a deep understanding of their team and football in general. Unlike many Turkish coaches, they don't immediately press the eject button when they're in trouble, they understand that war is made up of many battles.
However, still, both aesthetically and philosophically there is a huge difference between the two teams. First, even though I praise their methods, Pereira and Fenerbahçe's game is highly defensive and obviously does not offer an enjoyable 90 minutes for true football beggars. Although it seems that if Pereira had one more year in Istanbul, this game would be much more attractive. But right now it is in the grey area where black and white is mostly dependent on individual efforts.
Beşiktaş, on the other hand, also relies on the creative power of its offensive players and still cannot establish a self-sufficient game, but structurally it pushes the whole team forward and creates a promising environment for an enjoyable game. Nevertheless, just as in every revolutionary movement, when the crucial moments arrive, counter-revolution awakens stronger than ever. Therefore, the most dangerous and imminent threat for Beşiktaş is panicking among the championship stress and returning to cheap ways to claim victory. Nonetheless, this would mean Şenol Güneş would betray his values and that is something I do not anticipate.
Rather than that, both teams and coaches should understand the value of their ideas for Turkish football. If we can build a new football tradition upon these reformist ideas, the championship this year would be nothing in comparison to success that will follow in the new era. Thus, a fair, sincere game where fear is no longer triumphant is all I am asking from these two teams.