Istanbul powerhouses Galatasaray and Beşiktaş will meet in a derby match in the Turkish Super League on Sunday.
Once powerhouses of Turkish football, the Istanbul-based outfits are hoping to remind fans of their glory days as their chances to claim, at least, the first two spots in the league wane rapidly.
Ahead of game week 14, Medipol Başakşehir leads the league with 30 points while Kasımpaşa is second with 25, followed by Galatasaray with 24 and Beşiktaş with 21 points.
On Saturday, Medipol Başakşehir will play Demir Grup Sivasspor at home. Later on Monday, Fenerbahçe will host second-placed Kasımpaşa.
The Yellow Canaries, part of the former Big Three of Turkish football, along with Beşiktaş and Galatasaray, are desperate for a win to stay close to the top five. They currently sit 15th with just 13 points.
The Black Eagles of Beşiktaş are nine points behind Başakşehir with a streak of losses. The derby against Galatasaray will be important if it wants to cement its place in the top five.
If Başakşehir defeats Sivasspor - a highly likely outcome - their point gap with Beşiktaş will grow to 12. Though there are still 20 weeks left to the end of the season, Beşiktaş will have to overcome impossible odds for the rest of season if Başakşehir wins this week and it loses to Galatasaray.
Pundits are betting on a loss for Beşiktaş, given the internal conflict between players, coach Şenol Güneş and the club management. The club's financial woes have also hurt the team's morale.
Despite dominating the league over three seasons, victories in the Champions League and Europa League, and stellar transfers, things are not looking bright for Beşiktaş. After a couple of uninspiring showings, a sense of frustration now overshadows the Black Eagles' ambitions to make it to the top of the Turkish Super League.
Galatasaray, fresh off from a 2-0 loss to Lokomotiv Moscow that brought a disappointing early end to its Champions League campaign Wednesday, the club now hopes to save face at home.
Though it managed to climb as high as the third spot in the Super League, the Lions will miss key players Emre Akbaba, Younes Belhanda and Sinan Gümüş because of injuries.
Badou Ndiaye, Garry Rodrigues and Ryan Donk will also miss the derby due to suspensions over poor disciplinary records. More importantly, coach Fatih Terim will not be on the bench at Beşiktaş's Vodafone Park due to a 10-match ban by the Turkish Football Federation for "unsportsmanlike conduct" he received after the Fenerbahçe derby earlier this season.