The Spor Toto Super League is braced for another exciting matchup on Sunday as a struggling Trabzonspor hosts league leaders Galatasaray. The Black Sea club, which marks its 50th anniversary this year, is going through its worst start to a season in more than 42 years.
With their last win coming in week four against Gençlerbirliği, Trabzonspor has fared badly with weaker sides like Aytemiz Alanyaspor and Teleset Mobilya Akhisarspor despite drawing with Başakşehir and Beşiktaş. In week six the team hosted Alanyaspor and after going up 3-0, they somehow managed to lose 4-3.
The biggest blow, however, was dealt by Akhisarspor who thrashed Trabzonspor 6-1, resulting in the firing of coach Ersun Yanal. Yanal was replaced with former Beşiktaş coach Rıza Çalımbay, but to no avail as the Black Sea side lost its first match under the new manager, playing against a mid-table Evkur Malatyaspor.
Now, as Trabzonspor take on Galatasaray and they can't afford to lose a point or risk dropping down to the relegation zone. The team is desperate to get out of their rough patch and relaunch its season, which begun with title ambitions.
Placed on the other end of the spectrum, Galatasaray is enjoying its best start to a season in almost a decade. Undefeated in nine games, the Lions have won seven matches.
Compared to Trabzonspor, which is placed 13th with nine points, Galatasaray has so far racked up 23 points and is six points clear of its nearest rivals, Göztepe, Teleset Mobilya Akhisarspor, and Kayserispor. The Istanbul giant is also eight points ahead of its archrivals Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş, which have 15 points each. Meanwhile, Fenerbahçe and Beşiktaş supporters will also be keeping an eye on the key match where an upset for Galatasaray can translate to an opportunity for its city rivals.
The match is set to be an opportunity for Trabzonspor's new coach to justify his appointment.
"We desperately need a win to get out of this bad patch and the match against Galatasaray can be our biggest opportunity. When I accepted the job, I was aware of the crisis. I am here to solve that crisis," coach Çalımbay said. "Our only disadvantage is that we have very limited time. We will play three matches in one week. And I have to work with a squad that I did not build," he said. "But Trabzonspor is a big club and we are doing everything in our capacity to solve its problems. We expect our fans' support in this tough time."
This will be Çalımbay's second encounter with Galatasaray this season. He was at the helm in Antalyaspor when the Mediterranean side drew 1-1 with Galatasaray in week four.
To make matter worse for Trabzonspor, the side will be missing a couple of its key players through injury and ban. Its biggest hope in front of goal, Burak Yılmaz, will miss the match due to injury while the team's other forward Hugo Rodallega will also be unavailable with a red card ban.
In the other matches on Sunday, Atiker Konyaspor takes on Osmanlıspor, Kardemir Karabükspor faces Demir Grup Sivasspor and Bursaspor will battle it out with Antalyaspor. Meanwhile on Monday, Fenerbahçe will host fourth-placed Kayserispor in Istanbul.