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  • February 29, 2012
  • • 18:30
  • • Bursa Atatürk Stadyumu, Bursa
  • Referee: T. Kinhöfer
  • • Attendance: 13000

Turkey - Slovakia Preview: New era begins for both sides at Bursa Ataturk Stadium

Turkey - Slovakia Preview: New era begins for both sides at Bursa Ataturk Stadium previews the action as Abdullah Avci's reign as the hosts' boss commences against a visiting outfit which has Michal Hipp as coach, after Vladimir Weiss' resignation



Gokhan, Toprak, Kesimal, Koybasi
Ekici, Topal, N. Sahin
Arda, Yilmaz, Erkin


Pekarik, Hubocan, Skrtel, Salata
Weiss, Hamsik, Stoch

Although it remains to be seen what set up Abdullah Avci is planning for his first game in charge of the Turkey national team, it is likely that we will see several changes from Guus Hiddink's preferred starting line-up.

Volkan Demirel has not been selected, allowing Standard Liege's Sinan Bolat to start between the sticks. Omer Toprak made his international debut in the 0-0 away draw with Croatia, and should partner Fenerbahce centre-back Serdar Kesimal at the heart of defence.

Nuri Sahin returns to the squad, and should start in midfield alongside Mehmet Topal and Mehmet Ekici. Arda Turan, Burak Yilmaz and Caner Erkin are expected to lead the attack.

Slovakia will be forced into several changes from their draw with Macedonia in October. Miroslav Karhan has retired from the international game due to the disappointment of failing to qualify for Euro 2012.

Erik Jendrisek misses out, leaving Filip Holosko to start at the pinnacle of attack. Juraj Piroska is another who has failed to make the squad, with former Chelsea winger Miroslav Stoch expected to replace him.

Martin Skrtel returns to the fold, and will take the place of Lubomir Michalik, who is not included.

  • Nuri Sahin (pictured) and Caner Erkin were both part of the Turkey squad that won the 2005 European Under-17 Championship - a side that was coached by Avci.
  • Turkey have lost none of their four meetings with Slovakia since they gained independence, recording one draw and three wins.
  • A total of seven players included in Avci's squad were born in Germany, with one other having spent his entire life in France.
  • Slovakia's Peter Pekarik, Marek Cech, Miroslav Stoch, Filip Holosko and Stanislav Sestak all ply their trades in the Turkish Super Lig.

  • The 2010 World Cup was the country's first ever international tournament. Vladimir Weiss' side were eliminated in the round of 16.
  • If selected, Marek Bakos and Michal Breznanik will be making their first appearances for their nation.

Players to watch

B. Yılmaz

Position: Attacker

Games: 1

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
With Avci electing to drop several prominent players in his first squad, Burak Yilmaz must count himself lucky to still be involved with the national team. Despite netting three goals, the majority of his international performances have been limp and lifeless. Some may argue that he has been starved of service, but he has truly failed to replicate his club form at international level.

F. Hološko

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
Holosko has been unable to stamp his name on the Besiktas team-sheet this season, and has found himself in and out of the starting XI of the Istanbul club. There will be no better way to prove his credentials to the Turkish public, press and his coaches than by putting in a match-winning performance against many of his team-mates and rivals.

Editor's Prediction

This match could be the beginning of a new era for Turkey. With several members of the old guard left out, opportunity knocks for Avci's youthful squad. However, the former Istanbul BB was a surprise choice for the role, and due to his relative inexperience, and may have problems motivating his players. Inspite of this, I'd expect Turkey to pull through, and record a narrow victory.

Last Five Matches

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Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Turkey TUR
Turkey Turkey
Slovakia SVK
Slovakia Slovakia

Top 3 Predictions

Turkey TUR
2 - 0
Slovakia SVK
Turkey TUR
2 - 1
Slovakia SVK
Turkey TUR
3 - 1
Slovakia SVK