Galatasaray - Braga Preview: Turkish champions searching for first points in Champions League
Fatih Terim will be urging his men to secure victory against their Portuguese counterparts, as both sides look to bounce back from opening day defeats
By SW Lim
Eboue, Cris, Kaya, Balta
Melo, Inan, Altintop
Bulut, B.Yilmaz, Elmander
Baiano, Douglao, Nuno, Elderson
Amorim, Custodio, Viana
Alan, Eder, Barbosa
Galatasaray have a number of injury worries going into their Champions League Group H rumble against Sporting Braga.
Hamit Altintop is fighting for fitness after limping off during the 2-0 defeat to Orduspor on Friday, while key centre-back Tomas Ujfalusi remains sidelined until the new year, after undergoing surgery for a ligament injury in his left knee.
The Istanbul side continue without the services of Spaniard Albert Riera, although they will be turning to the blossoming strike partnership of Burak Yilmaz and Umut Bulut to secure victory.
Jose Peseiro's side head into the tie shaken after their home defeat to Cluj, but will remain hopeful their attacking triumvirate delivers the goods this time round, in a tie that could prove crucial to their prospects of progression from the group stage.
Braga retain the third highest scoring record in the Primeira Liga, and lie a comfortable third domestically after beating Vitoria Guimaraes last week.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Galatasaray have won all three of their matches at Turk Telekom Arena this season, and lost only one of their previous nine European home fixtures.
- Burak Yilmaz (pictured right) became the first Turkish player to represent four different clubs in the Champions League, against Manchester United.
- The Turkey international is seeking his first victory against Portuguese opposition however, recording four defeats and one draw in previous instances.
- Should Braga win on Tuesday, they will have completed a hat-trick of victories on Turkish soil.
- Os Arcebispos have a six-match unbeaten sequence on their European travels to defend, the latest involving a 1-1 stalemate against Udinese in Italy.
- Assistant coach Fernando Couto scored the winner in Portugal's 1-0 Euro 1996 victory over Turkey, and participated in both countries' Euro 2000 quarter-final encounter.
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Top 3 Predictions
Galatasaray 2-0 Sporting Braga
- 21.37 %
Galatasaray 2-1 Sporting Braga
- 13.17 %
Galatasaray 3-1 Sporting Braga
- 13.17 %
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Dec 5, 2012||Sporting Braga 1 - Galatasaray 2|
|UEFA Champions League (UCL)||Oct 2, 2012||Galatasaray 0 - Sporting Braga 2|
|Mar 8, 2014||Galatasaray 6 - Akhisar Bld. 1||TUR1|
|Mar 2, 2014||Çaykur Rizespor 1 - Galatasaray 1||TUR1|
|Feb 26, 2014||Galatasaray 1 - Chelsea FC 1||UCL|
|Feb 22, 2014||Galatasaray 1 - Besiktas 0||TUR1|
|Feb 17, 2014||Antalyaspor A.S. 2 - Galatasaray 2||TUR1|
|25||Néstor Muslera Micol||Goalkeeper|
|26||Paulo Vinícius de Souza Nascimento||Defender|
|-||Djamal Abdoulaye Mahamat Bindi||Midfielder|
|9||Rocha Paulo Cesar||Striker|
The striker, on loan from Toulouse, has struck up an instant understanding with former Trabzonspor team-mate Buruk Yilmaz, their relationship remaining key to the manner in which the 29-year-old has surged to five goals in as many league matches. Bulut will now be keen to take his prolific form to the continental stage, as he looks to fire Galatasaray's European campaign to success.
Eder's goals against Vitoria Guimaraes and Rio Ave sees the Portugal international lead Braga's scoring charts with three in two games. The 24-year-old knows he can make up for his profligate wastefulness against Cluj on matchday 1 with a strong display in Turkey, in the process invariably lending his team a hand as they look to leave an impression in Group H.
Galatasaray can undoubtedly count on strong home support in the cauldron that is the Turk Telekom Arena, but Braga are best not underestimated. Expect both teams to cancel each other out as they look to collect their first Champions League points on Tuesday, in what will nevertheless prove to be an entertaining draw.